Convocation 2014 Student Highlight: Catherine Ray
As course instruction comes to an end and convocation nears, we want to take this week to highlight students from the 2014 graduating class in the College of Science. Congratulations to the entire class of 2014! View full convocation details.
“Artificial intelligence is a domain of human research where very limited sets of rules yield inexhaustible depths, challenges, frustration, and beauty,” says Catherine Ray, who graduated at the end of the fall semester at the age of sixteen. Her unique history with the College of Science (COS) reveals that age is no obstacle to furthering scientific progress.
“There are many resources and introductions to explore outside of the university. You can find passion with some scrap metal, a battery, rubber bands, and a library card.”
Hungry for intellectual stimulus and challenge at a young age, she enrolled at Mary Baldwin College when she was thirteen. Discovering her love for science and mathematics, she quickly maxed out all the math classes there and transferred to Mason. In COS, she took advantage of numerous opportunities for self-study and independent research.
“Classes have contributed a minor amount to my overall STEM knowledge; they served to introduce me to interesting topics and spark my curiosity,” Ray says. “There are many resources and introductions to explore outside of the university. You can find passion with some scrap metal, a battery, rubber bands, and a library card.” She adamantly proclaims that the greatest resources in COS are “the labs and professors,” adding that the professors “are interdisciplinary, open, and willing to hold long intellectual discussions with passionately curious students.”
Ray, who embodies the driving curiosity every student, no matter their age, needs to become a great scientist, is currently designing a robotic wheelchair with the fluidity of walking and a keychain-sized gluten detector to help prevent accidental poisoning.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Catherine Ray