Catherine Owsik, student and online science journalist
Fourth-year biology major Catherine Owsik loves reading and thinking about science, and thrives on the challenge in making complicated scientific ideas more accessible. That’s why she started an online magazine called Nerve to explore issues in science, technology and engineering.
With two issues already posted since August, and a third posted online today, Nerve continues to grow its readership. Ms Owsik, 21, was recently profiled in the Scientific American Incubator, the popular science magazine’s regular feature on the next generation of science writers and journalists.
She’s been interested in writing from a young age, but a two-year stint at the Queen’s Journal, first as a copy editor, then as an assistant news editor allowed her to get her feet wet in journalism. It was a lot of work but it taught her a very strong work ethic.
Ms Owsik did most of the writing for the first issue herself, but she is continually encouraging more people to contribute. She credits the closeness of the Queen’s community for Nerve’s success so far.
“People are really intrigued by it,” she says. “And there is a great sense of support. It makes people more comfortable to open up and try writing if they’ve never done it before.”
Ms Owsik juggles the demands of both the magazine and her academic coursework. Her sights are set on a future she hopes will allow her to continue exploring other forms of science journalism, including television. The blogs editor at Scientific American magazine has also invited her to present at ScienceOnline2013 a conference exploring the intersection of science and the web.
She feels incredibly passionate about her project and extremely lucky and thankful her friends have been so supportive. She also credits Queen’s for her successes so far, explaining that her studies have played a big part because she’s been able to see the range of science that’s available.
Ms Oswik admits she almost attended a different university, only switching to Queen’s at the last minute. But she acknowledges it’s one of the best decisions she’s made in her life!