About Darshana Patel, Ph.D.

I am a believer in effort. As a first generation American, I quickly learned that success comes primarily from persistence, coupled with dedication and collaboration. It consistently has been a combination of these three qualities that helped me achieve my goals, even during very challenging times.

I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1974; the only daughter of Urmila and Ramesh Patel. At an early age, my elder siblings, Bimal and Anand, taught me how to be resilient and face challenges head on. My mother regularly reminded me that, because I was an American, and as long as I put in consistent effort, I could be anything I wanted to be. Although she passed away when I was 14 years old, her words continue to inspire me to this day. My father was an active Rotarian until he passed in 2009. His service to the community showed me how strong an impact one individual’s service can have in a community.

I received a scholarship and grant to attend Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA), where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry with a minor in Religious Studies in 1996. During my undergraduate education, I studied abroad for a year at the University of Sussex in England. Following graduation, I interned at Monsanto (St. Louis, MO) and then earned an intramural training award at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. I was awarded my Ph.D. in Biophysics by the University of California, Irvine in 2002. I joined the Department of Protein Engineering at Genentech, Inc., (South San Francisco, CA) as a postdoctoral scientist and then received a Project Management Certificate from UC, Berkeley. I continued at Genentech, Inc., as a Project Manager in the Department of Translational Oncology managing therapeutics moving from research into development. By the time I left the biotech industry, I had eight years of professional experience.

I love learning and challenging myself in diverse settings. My experiences have given me a unique breadth and depth of knowledge that I use to turn my effort into excellence.

My interests in civic responsibility started in Girl Scouts, continued through Key Club, and matured into leadership roles in organizations in college, graduate school and my professional life. Since moving to Rancho Peñasquitos with my family in 2010, I have served on:

  • Poway Unified School District Board of Education (serving as President, Vice-President, and Clerk)
  • California School Board Association (serving as San Diego Region 17 Delegate, Legislative Chair)
  • The Rancho Peñasquitos Planning Board (Vice-Chair, member of the Land Use Committee)
  • SDPD Police Captain’s Advisory Board – Northeastern Division
  • Park Village Elementary School Foundation – Advisor, Executive VP, Science and Technology Director
  • Rancho Peñasquitos Town Council (served as President, and Chairs of Education, Web&Print, Fiesta and Safety Committees)
  • Park Village Elementary School PTA – Parliamentarian, VP Legislation, Reflections Chair
  • Poway Unified School District Advisory Committee, School Site Council

I am married to a very supportive husband and we have three daughters in 10th, 8th and 5th grade. I am invested in PUSD for years to come. Let’s work together to ensure that our children are given the resources they need to pursue their dreams.

While serving as VP of Legislation on our PTA and on the District Advisory Committee, I realized that I could better serve my community by ensuring that PUSD fulfills its mission for Excellence in Education. I decided to run for Poway Unified School District Board of Education. I have been serving on the PUSD Board of Education since 2016.

Dedicated to Putting Education First.