Courtney Baker, excelling in all fields

Credit: Celia Ludwinski | Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski | Photo Editor

For the average Carnegie Mellon student, life can be quite the balancing act. Between academics and extracurricular activities, staying focused can be difficult. Adding a varsity sport to the mix can often tip the scales for many students.

Courtney Baker, a senior chemical and biomedical engineering double major, has mastered the art of balancing many activities. As a co-captain of the varsity cross country team, key member of the varsity track team, and co-president of the Carnegie Mellon chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Baker is pulled in many directions. The key to keeping herself on track is to stay motivated and focused by keeping an ultimate end goal in sight.

For her senior cross country season, Baker’s ultimate goal was to make it to the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. Initially solely a track runner, Baker joined the cross country team in her sophomore year to help improve her time in the 400-meter dash. She soon fell in love with the competitive nature of the sport and the camaraderie of the team. Baker continued the sport, and pushed herself to reach her goal of competing at the national level. She achieved her goal this season, competing in the Championship this past Saturday, and achieving a personal record of 22:14.6 in the 6k.

Baker excels in her other activities by keeping the same sense of focus and motivation. As co-president of EWB, she is an integral part of setting the major goals for the chapter. After attending a regional workshop in Boston, Baker became passionate about the organization’s mission, and wanted to be part of its future.

“I thought it was a great organization, and a great way to use my engineering skills to help people in developing countries,” she said. Given a common problem — lack of water in a small village in Ecuador, for example — Baker and her team work to develop an efficient solution. Achieving the final goal of implementing a working, sustainable solution — in this case, a water catchment system — can be challenging, but is ultimately worthwhile.

Whether in her extracurricular activities, athletics, or academics, Baker states that “it is important to be focused and know that what you’re doing has a purpose.” This strategy will certainly help her succeed in the future.