SOE Engineer Magazine_Spring 2021


Undergraduate Profile

AMAGICIAN’S ASSISTANT Patrick Roche ’22 always had an interest in engineering as well as magic. What started as a visit to the TED conference in Vancouver with the Playful Learning Lab (PLL) changed the life of electrical engineering student Roche: David Kwong, a magician and crossword puzzle creator for The New York Times, asked him to be his magician assistant. After Roche helped Kwong at the conference’s trivia show, he offered him a position. “I thought it was a joke. I just thought he was being polite and complimenting me.” To Roche’s surprise, it was a real offer. The perfect combination of chance and “incredibly lucky networking” worked in Roche’s favor because he was able to assist David Kwong in New York City during his show, “The Enigmatist.” You’re a part of the Playful Learning Lab. What do you do? Overall, we are an engineering education lab focused on providing STEAM- based content for anyone who identifies as a learner, regardless of their age. My main role in that has been on a project called ‘Circus Science,’ which is creating dynamic e-textiles for circus performers. It basically means I get to make cool light-up costumes for trapeze artists. That’s been my focal area, although I also was involved in the Art in Space project as the electrical engineer. The Art in Space project stemmed from another PLL project called OK Go Sandbox, where we work with the band OK Go’s music videos and provide educational resources for teachers. What is your magic style? My style shifts as needed. I have done only a couple of stage performances for school charity shows, but my preferred style is walk-around card magic. Who would play you in the movie of your life? My first inclination was Neil Patrick Harris, but am I worthy of NPH? I think he would be funny. I could also say David Kwong. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Probably Italy. I would be content to live on a diet of pasta and gelato. I don’t think there’s such thing as too much Italian food. Who is your hero? I would say my great-grandpa, even though I wasn’t able to meet him. His made-in-America success story and work ethic have been passed down through my family. His dad died when he was really young, and he wasn’t able to go to college because he had to start working to support his family. He ended up working up to the top of the company he was at. What else are you involved in on campus? I am very active in the Rock Climbing Club. What is your go-to karaoke song? I really don’t like to sing, but if I had to pick a song it would be ‘Galway Girl’ by Ed Sheeran. Where do you see yourself in five years? My career interests range fromWalt Disney Imagineering to the FBI, so you can fit a lot in between those two ends of the spectrum.

St. Thomas Engineer 2021 Page 21

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