Senior Catherine Brown Serves Up her Best On and Off the Court
It is difficult to find an open spot on Senior Catherine “Catie” Brown’s calendar. The University of Minnesota Crookston animal science major is finishing her final semester classes, engaged in undergraduate research, leading the tennis team as its captain, and to top it off, applying to veterinary medicine programs.
Brown came to campus from Powell Butte, Oregon, to pursue a degree that would lead her to veterinary school and the opportunity to play tennis only enhanced her choice of Crookston.
The dream of becoming a veterinarian started early in life. “My mom is a veterinarian,” Brown says. “I would ride along on calls and often was asked if I was going to be a veterinarian like her. I answered ‘yes’ as you might expect, but over time, the idea stuck.”
Her childhood was filled with unique opportunities to care for a wide variety of animals under her mother’s care. Perhaps one of the most memorable for Brown was a kitten who had been picked up by a hawk and dropped. “We took her home and cared for her,” Brown recalls. “She had stitches up her leg and across her body so we aptly named her “Frankie,” short for Frankenstein, because of all those stitches.” Frankie became a healthy, playful cat and remains a family favorite.
If she has had an “ah-ha” moment in her college career, it came in applied chemical principles class when so much of what she learned applied directly to life. “I started to think about chemistry differently, and while my lab partner and I talked about it lightheartedly at the time, we realized that ‘chemistry really is life,’” she says with a smile.
Being a part of research under the guidance of Assistant Professor Tim Dudley adds another aspect to Brown’s already stellar undergraduate studies. “I have been working with Dr. Dudley since last fall on computational chemistry as well as in the laboratory where we are looking for specific compounds and analyzing techniques,” she says.
Adding to her professional experience, Brown’s internship experience took her to a holistic alternative veterinary clinic, an equine veterinary clinic, and even a stint at the clinic where her mother is a partner and they treat animals large and small.
Like her passion for animals, Brown’s love for tennis also started early. “I started playing tennis in early elementary school and by junior high I was playing competitively,” she says. “My father and brother enjoy tennis so we play a lot when I am at home too.” That extra play helped lead Brown to a victory over her friend and rival at Bemidji State University this spring.
Brown, who seems never to be idle, has worked in the campus bookstore for three years, tutors students in biological chemistry and organic chemistry. Personally, her favorite classes have been organic chemistry and animal nutrition. Altogether, the senior has a lot going on and one might expect she would be a bit stressed especially during finals.
“I actually stress-read,” Brown says. “I study hard and then I take reading breaks.” The avid reader enjoys everything from historical fiction to fantasy as a way of escaping stress.
Following graduation, Brown is off to France spending time first with students in animal science led by Professor Harouna Maiga and Terrill Bradford, and then, spending time with her roommate backpacking across Switzerland, Germany, Greece, and Sweden.
It will be a trip to remember for Brown and a chance perhaps to catch her breath before her education begins again.
The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 39 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. "Small Campus. Big Degree." To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.
In the photos are Catherine Brown with Assistant Professor Tim Dudley in the lab where Brown is working to synthesize N-alkyl diamine.