[Kristy Hawkins with parents and boyfriend Branden]
Went to Cal Tech on Tuesday. Sat right next to Braden Ray in room 147 in the Noyes building. No, we’re not taking classes at the prestigious Math and Science University in Pasadena. Both of us were there to watch Kristy Hawkins deliver her Ph.D Thesis Defense on a subject all of us know well: “Metabolic Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of benzylisoquinoline alkaloids.” I think.
Anyway, Kristy’s hour long presentation made me appreciate Yogi Avidan much more now; I actually comprehend more of what Yogi says on “The Experts” than what I could figure out in listening to the Hawk spread her wings en route to her Doctorate (all is done except the paperwork).
Of course, Kristy was letting the audience (which also included her parents, Barbara and Terry, who came in from Longview, Texas for the special event), lab mates and friends, learn about the facts regarding her research on such well know subject matter such as Metabolic engineering, BIA in plants, Advantages of microbial production, Novel CYP2D6 and other scientific stuff I don’t have time to explain to you.
Oh, yeah…Branden made the long trek from Washington D.C. to support his significant other on this special day. After the presentation, I got to talk shop with Ray. He let me know the USA is his next July. And, yes, he will probably be a Lightheavyweight again. And that Mike Liberatore is looking insane and is his pick to win the Nationals next month in Atlanta.
Back to Hawkins. The five and a half years of blood, sweat and tears have finally paid off for the kid I first met when I announced her as the Overall winner of the Lone Star Classic in Plano, Texas back in 2003. No surprise to me that the Texas A&M grad went on to earn her pro card (at the Nationals, in her home state of Texas) last year. Got to call out her name there, too. And, was lucky enough to do the honors in Columbus, Ohio in her pro debut at the Ms. International last year.
Even worked out at the same gym that Hawkins did—Gold’s, in Pasadena, the past year and a half—but, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. Kristy has accepted a job with Amyris, a research company in Emeryville, California (just outside San Francisco) and is moving to her new location this weekend.
Loved having you as a neighbor for the past five years, wheels. Will miss visiting you in the lab. And challenging you to calf pose downs in the gym. Yes, you are the poster child for brawn and brains.
Best of luck in the next chapter of your amazing 28 years on this earth. Not that you’ll need it.