Not all science majors go on to pursue a career in science, but many of them take their academic foundations and find ways to apply them in their lives in creative ways.
We catch up with Catherine Warren, President of FanTrust Entertainment Strategies and learn how she went from Physics major to media innovator and entertainment entrepreneur and why she believes every home should have a blackboard.
What is your academic background?
My Bachelor’s degree is from Reed College. I majored in Physics and my thesis focused on climate change and historical CO2 data captured on early solar plates based on research done at the Pacific Northwest National Labs. My Master’s degree is in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and my thesis focused on the early days of digital media, with my research done at MIT.
What did you do right after you graduated? Did you have a break between undergrad and graduate studies?
I went straight to Europe for a fantastic summer of camping and touring, then onward that fall to Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. At Columbia I won “The Correspondent’s Fund Award” to travel to CERN on the French/Swiss border and write about the race between Europe and the US in high-energy physics. It was great—I got to interview Nobel laureates and hike underground in the particle accelerator!
What are you currently doing?
My job is great because we are shaping the future of entertainment. At FanTrust, a business I started about 13 years ago, we help media companies of all kinds, such as television, film, animation, comics, and video games come together to create new forms of compelling entertainment. We also work with technology companies who deliver this entertainment to audiences on the new devices, including tablets, mobile phones and, of course, over the web. Finally, we make entertainment hits by galvanizing fans around the world to interact with their favorite shows and games, through social networking, contests, and lots of other fun interactivities.
What advice would you give to current college students who are science majors?
Science needs you. We are at an historical turning point on so many fronts: environmental, medical, geopolitical—all of which could benefit from your original scientific contributions.
Science opens so many doors in life, providing you with a combination of credibility, confidence, and courage to tackle whatever you chose to do, in any field.
Put a blackboard in your kitchen! We have one at our house and everyone in our family (my husband and I have two boys ages 11 and 14) loves to use it to explore ideas about physics and math. We put up new equations and concepts every week. We joke that the family that eats and does physics together, stays together; it is our unifying force!