First Lt. Jennifer Thistle

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2013 – Her incessant complaints to Dr. Frasier and General Hammond pay off. For the last year she’s been insisting that the existing SG teams, when given a choice of several samples to bring back, always seem to choose the least medically valuable one. She has been lobbying for real researchers with practical experience – not just theoretical astrophysics – to be assigned to a team, and she gets her wish when she is assigned to the newly reformed SG8.

2012 – Completes training as a fighter pilot. Is selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA. Begins astronaut training, involved in selecting and planning experiments to be performed on the shuttle, on the space station, and in a hypothetical mission to Mars. Helps to advise on health and psychological risks a crew going to Mars might face. However, she is only there a few months before somewhere underneath Cheyenne mountain, General Hammond tells the SGC’s head surgeon that he can have anyone in the world to assist him in removing a goa’uld parasite from Kawalsky. The surgeon names four names. Jennifer Thistle is among them. She is pulled out of a meeting at the Kennedy Space Center and briefed on the plane. She believes it’s an elaborate hoax or some kind of NASA hazing until the moment she is actually in surgery trying to cut the tendrils of an alien creature out of Kawalsky’s nervous system.

Although the surgery is eventually proved to be a failure, Doctor Thistle remains assigned to the SGC thereafter. Within a few weeks, the chief medical officer is replaced by Doctor Janet Frasier, and Thistle works directly under her. Although she does some of the day to day care of the SGC teams, helping to quarantine and test them after each mission, the bulk of her duties relate to the medical samples that are returned by SGC teams.

2010 – Fed up with her life and work being constantly invaded by cameras that have no interest in portraying her with any kind of truthfulness, Dr. Thistle decides to make a drastic change in her life and joins the Air Force. They offer her an attractive package as her work is of interest to the military. In the Air Force, she makes some connections to NASA and decides that what she really wants to do is research on health in space. She sets her sights on becoming an astronaut.

2008 – Returns to states, and sees the coverage of her work in Botswana for the first time. Absolutely horrified to discover that instead of portraying her as a hero, the news piece has sparked a twisted national debate on placebo trials, denying assistance to children, and a host of other ethically questionable medical practices. Several medical ethics panels investigate and find that she acted rightly, but this seems to be a less interesting story to the media than the idea of a power-crazed doctor doling out life and death to a victimized people, and the correction is sparsely mentioned by the media.

She defends her thesis and graduates. Begins working at OHSU, performing major surgery, including brain surgeries. She continues doing research studies, now delving in to the connection between genetics and certain brain disorders. Now she has her own grad students to direct in carrying out her research. However, she finds that her life is frequently disrupted by incursions from the media, as she continues to be a character the nation loves to debate.

2007 – An American state official begins a rapid tour of many African nations to show how much he cares about their plight. Many TV cameras are in tow. While making a stop in Botswana to wave at the crowds in an incredibly impoverished village, he has a minor heart attack. Dr. Thistle happens to be in the crowd, leaps onto the stage, and provides life saving care. Ten TV stations from around the world (primarily American) capture it. Afterward, a journalist approaches her and asks to be allowed to follow her for a week to get a sense of what her life is like and what she is doing there. She is told she will be portrayed as a hero. Moreover, she hopes that the exposure will bring more aid and medical care to the impoverished area.

2006 – Gets masters, but continues on to get a PHD. As part of her PHD research, she joins Doctors Without Borders and is sent to Botswana to assist in controlling the AIDs epidemic. While there, she sets up a medical trial to test treatments involving bone marrow transplants. Has a few cases of cured patients, many other lesser successes. Unfortunately, this is a risky procedure and some patients also die of complications.

2002 – Graduates Yale. Attends Harvard for her medical degree. Special focus on surgery incl. brain surgery, medical research, experimental procedures.

1998 – Graduates valedictorian. Goes to Yale on a scholarship and studies pre-med, with a special focus on genetics and biology. Decides in the first year of college to “remake herself” and starts learning how to dress fashionably, take care of her hair, etc.

1997 – Starts taking some classes at PCC for college/high school AP credit.

1996 – Jennifer wins several trophies for her school in chess and science competitions, alleviating some of the bullying. However, she chooses to leave the chess club and the marching band in order to spend more time volunteering at a local veterinary clinic. On the weekends, she makes some money working as an attendant in a nursing home.

1994 – Jennifer enters high school. She becomes a member of National Honors Society, the chess club, the science club, and marching band. She doesn’t know much about what’s cool or how to dress to fit in, and is bullied a great deal during her first years of high school.

1983 – 1989 Jennifer’s childhood hobbies include 4-H, bug collecting and identifying, breeding rabbits and entering them in state competitions, gardening, reading books with titles like “gross science for kids!” and doing experiments using her mother’s nice dishes, and holding bake sales or setting up lemonade stands in order to save money for college. Admittedly a lot of this money actually gets spent on toy rockets.

4-H teaches her about Mendelian genetics, and helps her breed better rabbits and make better strawberries in her garden at home. This turns a young Jenny on to science in a big way — it proves that things she can’t see with her eyes are real, and makes her even more interested in science.

1981 – Born to Mark Thistle and Penny Thistle. He is an air force staff sergeant assigned to the Portland Air National Guard Base. She is a homemaker. Their family home is an apartment in Vancouver, Washington.

Neither of her parents have a college education, and they don’t think of themselves as intellectuals. They are, however, surprised and delighted when little Jennifer quickly proves herself to be precocious and gifted, and impress upon her from a young age that she is going to “go places.” By this, they mean college.

First Lt. Jennifer Thistle

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