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The College of Arts Sciences

Rachel Mochon: 'There are so many resources here that go beyond what many institutions can offer'

May 23, 2016

Rachel Mochon

Chemistry College Scholar

Houston, TX

What was your most profound turning point while at Cornell?

I applied to the College Scholar Program at the end of my second semester at Cornell, and I am so glad that I did. The program allowed me to pursue art conservation by taking classes in a variety of disciplines, including chemistry, art history, French and studio art. During my senior year, I have explored the conservation of artworks containing Prussian blue pigment, specifically cyanotypes, under the guidance of Professor Annetta Alexandridis and Professor Roald Hoffmann.

What accomplishments/activities are you most proud of while at Cornell?

In the summer after my junior year, I worked in the conservation lab at the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. I had the opportunity to prepare a variety of ethnographic objects for exhibition and to learn about Native cultures through the study of the cultural objects and through consultations with Native American community members.

What do you value about your liberal arts education?

I value the people I have met, the variety of experiences I have had and the knowledge I have gained. There are so many resources here that go beyond what many institutions can offer. I had the chance to go to CHESS (Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source) with the Art/Science Intersections class to collect x-ray fluorescence data of 17th century Dutch paintings, and this year, I have been working in the Cornell Conservation Lab with Michele Hamill on a variety of collection items, including epigraphic squeezes and A.D. White’s plaster cast medallions.