Penelope Lilley

Neuroscience, University of Washington, 2021-2022 Corbett Recipient


I grew up outside of a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Each day I enjoyed the privacy of my family’s acres situated in an evergreen valley scattered with wildlife. I enjoyed long hikes with my dog, Rusty, and the beautiful views from the top of the valley. Wading through the flooded roadway during the springs, navigating the icy path to the bus stop in the winters, and swimming in the creek during the summers all colored who I am today. When I was young, my family and I visited Canada. I most remember was the beautifully dense forest areas, the air so fresh and the speed limits in Kilometers. I felt comfortable like at home but with a sense of adventure.

I was married at a young age and had 2 children (both boys). After healing from some serious medical issues and struggling through divorce, I went back to school to pursue my degree in neuroscience. I happened upon a French course after I transferred to the University of Washington. I fell in love with the language!

As a non-traditional, single mother student, life back in school has had many challenges. However, my love of learning and my desire to continue growing as a person has kept me focused on my academic path. Canada has such an impressive list of neuroscientists: Michael Strong and his work with ALS, Nobel Prize winner David Hubel, Andres Lozano’s work in neurological diseases and all those currently working in the field of artificial intelligence. Perhaps on day I can work in any of Canada’s neuroscience facilities like Krembil Brain Institute or Montréal Neurological Institute and Hospital I plan to pursue research in the field of neuroscience and make a difference in the world with my discoveries!

The Corbett British Columbia-Washington International Exchange Program Fund provides an opportunity for undergraduate students at the University of Washington to spend two semesters at the University of British Columbia or University of Victoria; and for students from the University of British Columbia and University of Victoria to spend three quarters at the University of Washington.