Pony Club Alumnus Spotlight: Kat Drake

Written by NYB Member Elizabeth Larson

Horsemanship and sportsmanship are central to the Pony Club experience. To build these skills, you’ll also develop time management, communication and professionalism. You’ll find these skills handy throughout your adult life!

Today I want to introduce you to Kat Drake, a 2018 Academy of Achievement inductee. She is a graduate H from the Portola Valley Pony Club who now serves as the head of computational biology at Verily Life Sciences.

“I’ve had a few conversations recently in my professional biotech career about how to develop someone into a leader — the consensus has been “it’s really hard,” but I’ve also received feedback such as “you’ve done well.” When I think about where I learned how, the answer is pretty clear: it’s all rooted in my Pony Club upbringing. Through its steady progression of certificates supported by competitions, educational activities, and leadership opportunities, Pony Club taught me to: be strategic about time management, communicate effectively balancing positive and constructive messages, influence other people and work as a team, advocate for myself and my team to people who have more authority and influence than me, take hard feedback and respond professionally, and build relationships. I grew up in Huron Valley PC in the Great Lakes Region, and eventually graduated with my H from Portola Valley PC during grad school in San Francisco. My PhD from UCSF in Pharmaceutical Science and Pharmacogenomics launched my biotech career, where I have worked at several companies on clinical translational research in complex immune diseases, and am now the head of computational biology at Verily Life Sciences.”

Are you a Pony Club member interested in pursuing STEM? Share with us in the comments below!

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