- Contributing Writer
Kathiann M. Kowalski has run experiments in a biology lab, hiked through a research forest and toured a dairy farm. She has also traipsed around a petroleum drilling site in clunky steel-toed boots, snowshoed in frigid weather and helped haul in trawling nets of shellfish and fish.
These and other adventures help Kathi to better understand the science and technology she writes about. “And getting into research facilities and out into the field is also just plain fun,” she admits.
As a science journalist, Kathi talks with a wide range of scientists and engineers about what they do and why it matters. She has written more than 650 articles, as well as 25 books for young people. “There’s always something new happening — and something new to learn,” she says.
Honors for Kathi’s science writing include a 2017 award from the Ohio Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for one of her features in Science News for Students. This piece, "Racism hurts," covered the long-term psychological fallout that can develop when children confront racial bigotry. The Dec. 6, 2016 story was especially timely, owing to the sharp uptick in hate incidents — 867 recorded by the Southern Poverty Law Center in just10 days — following the 2016 presidential election. Of those incidents, more than 180 had taken place at children’s and teens’ schools. Two years earlier, Kathi won another award from the same group for her SNS story on “rotten science.” Titled “Recycling the Dead,” this perennially popular piece probed new insights into how nature breaks down organisms once that have died so that they can become the building blocks for more living things.
Before her journalism career, Kathi practiced environmental law with a large law firm. She studied political science at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. Then she went to Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Mass., where she was a note editor for the Harvard Law Review.
When she’s not writing, Kathi enjoys hiking and trips to the beach. She also likes to sew clothes. Her creations include tailored suit jackets and trousers, as well as a wedding gown for her older daughter. She’s also made a nine-pocket reversible vest, to hold notebooks, a camera and other gear when she’s out in the field learning more about science.