Alina Badea

Wellesley College, class of 2011

Adina Badea, Wellesley College, MA, class of 2011
Currently doing a PhD in Chemistry at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL

Student highlight as featured in the Undergraduate Newsletter, May 2010 issue. Want to learn more about Wellesley College? Read the university highlight available here.

Looking back on my college application process now, right before I start applying to graduate schools, is a very good chance to put my life in perspective. Remembering how scared I was of the whole 'study abroad' business and how difficult the applications seemed to me makes me realize how much college makes one grow.

I was born in Bucharest, Romania, where I spent my whole life before deciding to apply to colleges in the U.S. How did I come to my decision? Well, I knew I wanted to study Chemistry, but wanted to become neither a doctor, nor a pharmacist. I also knew I wanted to do research so I had to discover where the funding for that was, and, at that time, no Romanian universities seemed to focus their resources on giving students research opportunities. So I started applying to U.S. schools and even though at first I only chose Wellesley because it was in the top 5 liberal arts colleges, I soon came to see what unique opportunities it offered to students. First of all, the generous financial aid package that I was awarded made me realize that the college was willing to fully support admitted students so they could attend Wellesley. The cost of a year at Wellesley is of about $51,000, out of which I received $49,000 in grants and a small loan, with the option of being hired on campus to earn the rest. In order to continue receiving financial aid, I need to reapply every year and, as long as I demonstrate financial need and I keep my GPA above a C+, I am bound to receive an award for the following year.

Academics-wise, I am majoring in Chemistry (I have fallen in love with this subject since my first year of high school and the Chemistry courses I took at Wellesley only confirmed to me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life), currently with a 3.74 GPA. What I love about the liberal arts education system is that it allows you (and, to a certain extent, requires of you) to take classes in as many fields as possible, giving you the chance to explore any interests and further any hobbies. After taking an intro course in Psychology I was considering it as a possible minor or even a second major, but then I took classes in German and Italian Studies (one of the Italian courses was offered in Rome, during winter session), either of which could be my minor right now.

In terms of how much I've advanced in my field, Wellesley has given me the opportunities to explore doing research and working on campus, doing what I love the most: spending time in the lab. I have been working in the Lab Prep Room as a lab assistant ever since my first semester in college, and I started working in a research lab in the spring semester of freshman year, which lead to my participation in two summer research programs with the same professor, doing research in organic chemistry on novel treatments for pancreatic cancer and leukemia. In the spring semester of the sophomore year I was awarded the Beck Sophomore Fellowship for my research. I also had the chance to go to the American Chemical Society National Meeting to talk about my research project to fellow chemists in March 2009, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Outstanding work in class is also rewarded at Wellesley. I was awarded the Introductory Chemistry Award, the Organic Chemistry Award, as well as the Ethel Folger Williams Prize in German.

In terms of extracurricular and social life, the best thing that could ever happen to an international student is being part of the Slater International Center, the organization that takes care of all the internationals on campus, giving them support and helping them adjust to life abroad. It genuinely feels like a home away from home. There I met the most inspiring women, some of whom came from male dominated countries to receive an education that will allow them to help future generations of women.Poza-7.2

The annual Slater Cultural Show gives every student (not only internationals) the chance to participate in a dance, sketch, play, singing number, specific to a certain region of the world, contributing to what has become the greatest celebration of multiculturalism on campus. This is how I discovered my passion for East Asian cultures. I've participated in some of their dances (the Iron Fan Dance) and then joined their martial arts clubs (Wellesley WuShu, Wellesley Martial Arts, Wellesley Kendo Club).

As part of my activities on campus, I was also a volunteer for the Habitat for Humanity (helping to build homes for the needy), a Wellesley Admissions Ambassador and I was also elected to be a student member in the Student Life Advisory Committee.

This year I have been studying abroad at Oxford University as part of the Wellesley Study Abroad program. More than half of the juniors at Wellesley choose a university abroad to apply to as visiting students, and spend a semester or a year getting to know another culture, trying to adapt to a different educational system, and deepen their knowledge of a foreign language.

My plans for the future consist of going to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry and eventually doing research for a pharmaceutical company.

For more information on Wellesley College, please visit

To explore the free Undergraduate Admissions Training programs organized by the FEAC free of charge, please visit the Calendar section of our website.


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