Patricia Soochan received a Bachelor and Master of Science from George Washington University in 1977 and 1981. In 1982 she became a research and development biochemist at Bethesda Research Labs, later to be known as Life Technologies. Her work included conducting biotechnology workshops in France and Brazil. In 1987 she became a senior information specialist at Social and Scientific Systems, a consultant to the National Cancer Institute. There she worked with physicians in publishing reports of investigational cancer therapies. In 1991 she joined the National Science Foundation as a science assistant/biologist involved in grants management in the cell biology program. In 1994 she joined the undergraduate and graduate science education programs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where she is a program officer engaged in all aspects of competition and award management from system design to policy development, with an emphasis on college grantees.