Christendom grad gears up for next collegiate chapter

Christendom Philosophy major Catherine McFadden looks over her Bioethics textbook while at St. Kilian's Cafe on campus. Rachel Mahoney/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Christendom College’s liberal arts education built Catherine McFadden’s educational foundation before she proceeds into the world of nursing.

McFadden will be tossing her cap at the college’s commencement ceremony on Saturday with her fellow students as a candidate for a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.

She said she decided in her sophomore year to pursue the philosophy degree at Christendom. Through the Life on Tap networking events at the college, she said she met with alumni who had entered the medical field later on.

“Because Christendom doesn’t have science, they all had a different way to how they got there,” she said. “The fact that they were very available and helpful to talk to me was great.”

McFadden decided to pursue nursing during her junior year, traveling to Lord Fairfax Community College to take prerequisite classes that aren’t offered at Christendom. She said those courses – juggled alongside her Christendom classes – transferred smoothly as electives.

One course, Bioethics, was one she ended up studying at both Christendom and LFCC. She said that the two courses varied in the perspectives they present to students.

After applying to a number of nursing programs in the state, McFadden was accepted into George Mason University’s accelerated second degree program. She determined that rather than transferring out of Christendom, her studies in philosophy would contribute credit toward her nursing education.

“My degree will help me get a second degree faster,” she said. “And plus, I just love the education here. Especially majoring in philosophy, I feel like that’s going to really help me be stable in the medical world.”

She said the George Mason program only accepts 50 students, and that she believes student leadership and campus job opportunities helped her to stick out.

“I think the kind of unique education and all the different opportunities I had that probably made my résumé maybe look different than other people’s,” she said.

McFadden will begin her full-time studies at George Mason this fall, pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. She’ll be moving to the Fairfax area for the 12-month curriculum, which starts in August. Once finished at George Mason, McFadden said she would want to take a nursing job and isn’t interested in higher education.

“All I’ve heard from nurses is that they’re always short-staffed, they’re always hiring, and George Mason has a good reputation,” she said. “I don’t really care where I work, but I do not foresee a problem finding a job as a nurse at a hospital.”

While she never expected to get a job in philosophy, McFadden said she feels that the rigorous education at Christendom has prepared her for the challenges ahead.

“I majored in philosophy because I want to be able to think well,” she said. “I just thought it might help me in everything because I want to be able to think and reason and present my opinions and beliefs.”

“I think that’s definitely going to give me a good base for going out into the world where people are not very friendly to my beliefs,” she continued.

Christendom College will be celebrating 72 candidates for Bachelor of Arts degrees and one candidate for an Associate of Arts degree through the weekend on campus. Students and their families celebrated a Baccalaureate Mass on Friday, followed by a dinner and dance.

Historian and author James Hitchcock will speak to Christendom graduates during the commencement ceremony on Saturday and receive the Queen Isabel Catholic Vision of History Award. Cardinal Edwin O’Brien will also receive an honorary doctorate during the ceremony.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com