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UCLA Magazine Winter 2003
The Rising
Honorable Intentions
The Cardinal of Westwood
The Littlest Bruin
Sensing the Future
Dershowitz, For the Defense
Bruin Walk

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Winter 2003
The Littlest Bruin
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Well, maybe that's not the only reason for coming to UCLA.

"This is a long-term commitment, so what we decided was that she should go someplace that can offer her a full, well-rounded education," says her mother. "UCLA is a good choice for that because it will provide that richness. And she can take it slowly. There's no rush."

Of course, the family had to make some compromises for Catherine to be at UCLA. Where she would live was an issue. A dorm was out of the question; life in the residence halls is pretty much a 24-hour-a-day experience, not conducive for someone Catherine's age. The family was able to get an apartment a few miles from campus in University Village, the complex for married students. (Hackwood and Beni like the arrangement particularly because there are other children around, the kids of Catherine's fellow students.) For the Fall Quarter, Beni took sabbatical from UC Riverside to stay with Catherine. On Wednesdays the rest of the family comes up, and they all go back to Riverside for the weekend after classes are over on Friday. Then Catherine and her father head back to Westwood on Sunday evening.

"It's important for us to do what we can to keep the family together," Hackwood says. "When I come up on Wednesdays I bring the fuzzy slippers and make hot chocolate with marshmallows. She still needs comfort from her mother." When the movie Finding Nemo came out on video in November, Hackwood made sure to bring a copy with her when she came up to L.A. so that the whole family could watch it together. "Catherine's a student during the day," she says, "but she gets to be a kid in the evening."

In the winter, Hackwood will trade places with her husband; she has an appointment as a visiting scholar in The Anderson School, where she will work with faculty who are studying the emergence of new technologies.

As for being the youngest student in a school of more than 36,000 students, Catherine says she doesn't think much about it.

"If someone makes a fuss, I don't really pay attention," she says. "I don't, like, have a neon sign around my neck that says I'm 12."


2005 The Regents of the University of California