Catherine Arnott Smith, Class of 2017

Catherine Arnott Smith, Class of 1977, is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has been since 2006. Catherine’s field is consumer health informatics, a branch in medical informatics that helps bridge patient needs and health resources. She studies and teaches about clinical information systems that are consumer-facing, as opposed to physician-facing, for example, patient portals like MyChart.
Catherine lives with her husband, Mark, a professional musician, and son, Simon, in the small city of Stoughton, 20 minutes from Madison and perfect for a combo of car and bike commute to her office.
Has there been a recent endeavor/passion that you are proud to have accomplished or pursued?
I attained the rank of full professor in 2018, which was not something I absolutely expected to be able to do given that I got my PhD at the age of 42. I wandered quite a bit when I was younger – started in legal publishing right after college, then grad school in history and library science, then work as a medical librarian and eventually the PhD.
Was there a moment, person or experience at WHS that you remember or that has helped you to find your passions or reach your goals?
I have great memories of a number of teachers, but primarily Randee Martin, who was my history teacher both at McCall Junior High and later at WHS. She inspired me to consider historical research as an investigation of real human beings, as opposed to academic constructs, which is an attitude I’ve carried forward ever since, even in a medical computing context!
What connection, if any, do you still have to WHS or Winchester schools?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had an opportunity to connect with WHS since my family of origin no longer lives there and it’s too far to commute. But I’m always available to WHS Alumni who make their way to University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Is there insight you can share with current students?
As a parent and a professor, my hope for all current high school students everywhere is that they can find the inner strength to pursue their own goals as opposed to the expectations set for them by loving others.
The Winchester Alumni Association will kick off its College Transitions Program with the WHS Graduating Class of 2019. Five graduates will enter as Freshmen next year at University of Wisconsin, Madison. Catherine Smith is one of about 1,000 WHS Alumni students, family and staff who have registered with the recently launched Winchester Alumni Association. To join the conversation or for more information about the College Transitions Program contact the Winchester Alumni Association at winchesteralumni.org. Register today!