Moving in with Penn freshman Hannah Cutler

Photos by Scott Spitzer

The interdisciplinary spirit of the School of Engineering and Applied Science was the Cupid that caused freshman Hannah Cutler to fall in love with Penn.

Passionate about science and math, and the intersection of business, technology, science, politics, and the environment, she was interested in a university that had a top-notch engineering program, and also offered dynamic liberal arts courses and the flexibility to study business.

“Penn definitely seemed like a place where that was at the forefront,” says Cutler, a systems science and engineering major. “It wasn’t something that they just marketed in the info sessions but wasn’t actually true. That was definitely a draw for me.”

From Bryn Mawr, Pa., Cutler, 18, moved into the Quad on Tuesday, Aug. 20, with the help of her parents and her younger brother.

Her mom is a graduate of Penn Dental, but Cutler says it was her father who was most thrilled when she was accepted.

“It’s funny, once I got in, he became so excited,” she says. “He was like, ‘Well, you have Wharton and all these resources. It’s a world-class university. You have the opportunity to do so many things.’”

Hours after moving in, Cutler described the process as “a little stressful” but said she was feeling more comfortable and beginning to get settled.

“I was excited to get to my dorm and make the space my own,” she says. “I think I need another egg crate on my mattress. It’s not that comfortable, but other than that, it’s going well.”

Cutler says she is fairly familiar with parts of Philadelphia, visiting the city often for dinner with her family and having interned at the Clean Air Council in Rittenhouse Square, but she says she is looking forward to exploring West Philly and was eager to ride the subway for the first time.

“I’ve never really spent that much time in West Philly and there are plenty of things that I haven’t taken advantage of in the city,” she says.

The Cutler family is very close, and Hannah says it is comforting to know that her parents and brother aren’t too far away, yet she is still on her own “and I have freedom.”

“I’m nervous but I also feel like I’m ready,” she says, “like it’s time.”

Originally published on August 22, 2013