Katharine A. Owens

Director, University Interdisciplinary Studies; Director, Rell Center for Public Service; Professor

University Interdisciplinary Studies, Politics, Economics, and International Studies

College of Arts and Sciences
860.768.4705; 860.768.5492 Hillyer Hall 126; Computer Center 201

PhD, University of Twente

MS, College of Charleston

BA, College of Charleston

Professor Owens is a National Geographic Explorer who is interested in civic engagement, in the way humans impact water resources, and how the arts are used to address political and environmental problems.

She works with students on a variety of service- and applied-learning projects to address real-world challenges.  In many courses, her students tackle complex economic, public, and environmental policy problems.

Notable projects include:

Via support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Prevention through Education and Outreach Program, her students collected marine debris on Connecticut shorelines and shared the results with the Connecticut General Assembly Environmental Committee.

Through the ENACT (Educational Network for Active Civic Transformation) program of Brandeis’ International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, her students advocate for policy in the Connecticut General Assembly.

Through funding from the Stevens’ Initiative, her introductory American Government students collaborated with students from partner institutions in the Middle East to share (through comics and podcasts) about our political system.  

She received a 2018-19 Fulbright Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award, spending the spring semester of 2019 teaching and researching marine plastic pollution at the University of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram, India. 

With researchers from the University of Kerala, she received a National Geographic Explorer grant to lead a workshop on marine litter for educators and NGOs in June of 2019.

Katharine Owens is also a printmaker whose work has been shown in galleries and museums around the country.