A Conversation with Hemali Patel | See previous interviews

Hemali Patel
Clinical Fellow

Hemali Patel

How is San Francisco different than where you last lived?

I lived and studied in Florida and moved to Oregon before coming to San Francisco, three very different locations. I miss the water in Florida, water there is warm enough to swim in and I love to swim; the beaches are pristine with great white sand and blue water. Oregon was beautiful, green and lush, where I could go hiking in the woods and that was amazing, too. San Francisco is the most urban place I have lived; it is the perfect blend of urban and has the outdoors, too.

Who is important in your life?

Both my siblings, who are younger than me but we are the best of friends. If I have any big events or decisions, they are first to know. My sister is our center, the connection between the three of us, and she makes sure we stay up to date. We have shared interests and very different philosophies so it is a good balance, and they feel free to call me out when I’m pumping hot air and put me in my place.

Has anyone ever convinced you to attempt something that you really did not want to try?

Yes! I visited my family last June and we went to the beach where someone was selling chocolate-covered termites, and I thought, “That’s just disgusting.” But I did it anyway and it was the worst thing I’ve ever done, eating a bug. It was crunchy but all I could taste was the chocolate. It was gross but I did it.

What movie or book did you recently see that you enjoyed?

I want to see Ender’s Game. I really like sci-fi and read the book when I was a kid and still enjoy the genre. It is so well written and fascinating, about a kid being asked to make terrible adult and agonizing decisions. We may have a fellows’ night out to go see it. As far as TV, I love comedies like The Office, Parks & Recreation, The League, and The Mindy Project.

When did you last receive a gift that truly touched you?

Before I moved here, someone special, who was moving to another country, took a beautiful photograph of a very special hiking spot that I especially loved on the water. It took a lot of thought and effort because, to take it, he had to hike for an hour to the coast. He framed two copies, one for him and one for me. It was incredibly thoughtful.

On what do you spend too much time or money?

Shoes, unfortunately. I love to read but I spend way more money on heels that I rarely wear because I am always working. I also love to eat and to try new things; I’ve tried alligator, which is pretty common in Florida, and ostrich.

Thank you for a delightful conversation, Hemali!

- by Oralia Schatzman

View Hemali's professional bio | See previous faculty interviews