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College of Arts and Sciences

Catherine Badding: 'My support network influenced my Cornell education the most'

May 7, 2020

Catherine Badding​
Chemistry & chemical biology
State College, PA

Why did you choose Cornell?

My father was a professor of chemistry at Penn State and collaborated frequently with professors at Cornell University. As a result, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with some of my father's collaborators. For instance, I once had brunch with Roald Hoffmann and I was impressed with the kindness he possessed. He also spoke highly of a liberal arts education which I was already predisposed towards. So in sum, I wanted the chemistry and broad education I knew Cornell could provide.

What was your favorite class and why?

Prof. Nandini Ananth's Quantum Mechanics class! The material was challenging in a satisfying way. It was empowering to be able to learn material I was initially dubious of. It also solidified friendships for me, which catalyzed my learning and my personal enjoyment. I'm thankful to the teaching assistants and Prof. Ananth for their patience and diligence in teaching us.

Cathy Badding
What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

Making a gingerbread house with my friends and decorating it with Jablinski diagrams (the x-axis has no meaning!) and the acetone!

How have your beliefs or perspectives changed since you first arrived at Cornell? What have you discovered about yourself?

I used to accept all my thoughts as true, pressing, and important even if they were unreasonably harsh towards myself. Now I have learned to filter thoughts based on where they come from and acknowledge them without letting them consume me as much, although I am still not perfect at it.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

My support network. My father died last year and it would have been impossible to keep afloat if people hadn't reached out to me and made sure I could manage. My friends took me out for dinner and told me what was going on with classes. I thought I would have to tough it out but the professors, coordinators, and advisors made space for me to breathe. I was touched that my professors spent the time making sure I was caught up in class.