MSE alum’s story is subject of upcoming FOX sitcom pilot, ‘Patty’s Auto’

Patrice Banks '02, CEO and founder of a Philadelphia-area auto repair shop that caters to women, has made it her mission to educate and empower them through their cars.

The materials science and engineering alum has attracted national media attention and her story is now the basis of a FOX sitcom pilot produced by Elizabeth Banks (of Pitch Perfect and The Hunger Games fame) called "Patty's Auto."

On May 9, Lehigh alumni have an exclusive opportunity to hear Patrice Banks discuss her journey at the Girls Auto Clinic in Upper Darby. Banks will lead a hands-on instructional auto clinic prior to her talk. The main program will be followed by a networking session. The cost to attend all sessions is $60, or $30 for the talk and networking session.

The event is co-sponsored by the Lehigh Club of Philadelphia, the Women's Professional Alliance, and BALANCE.

Prior to establishing Girls Auto Clinic, Banks worked for more than 12 years as an engineer, manager, and leader at DuPont, a science and technology company. She is the author of The Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide and has been featured on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross and profiled in Time Magazine.

An Evening with Patrice Banks '02 at the Girls Auto Clinic
Thursday, May 9, Girls Auto Clinic (1 N State Road, Upper Darby, PA), 6:15 p.m. (optional auto clinic at 5:15 p.m.); talk and reception, $30; auto clinic, talk, and reception, $60
Patrice Banks
Register now to attend an exclusive evening with engineer, entrepreneur, author, and TV consulting producer Patrice Banks '02 on May 9 at the Girls Auto Clinic in Upper Darby, PA. (Photo: Jared Gruenwald/

The path to automotive independence for Banks began nearly two decades ago, as she worked three jobs before turning 16 to earn enough money to purchase a car for her family. She broke barriers in the classroom, earning a scholarship to Lehigh and becoming the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college.

Banks' interest in cars—and frustration in being "nickeled and dimed" every time she went to the mechanic—motivated her to enroll at Delaware Technical Community College, where she earned her automotive technology diploma.

In 2014, Banks left DuPont, initially working—unpaid—at an auto shop in Philadelphia. The shop offered the opportunity to gain some valuable experience under the hood and a chance to see what it really took to run a finely tuned garage.

At the same time, Banks started up a series of clinics, teaching women the basics of car maintenance. She saw it simply as an opportunity to help empower women, whom she felt had been taken advantage of at auto dealers and shops across the country for far too long.

Before opening her shop in 2016, Banks told the Rossin College that she hoped to "create a safe space for women to have their cars serviced, ask questions about cars, and provide opportunities to women for career growth in the automotive industry."

Patrice Banks

As CEO and founder of Girls Auto Clinic—an auto repair shop that doubles as a resource for women to learn more about cars—materials science and engineering alum Patrice Banks '02 has made it her mission to educate and empower women.