2019 Speaker Interviews, Speakers, TEDxColumbus

An Interview with Speaker Katrina Cornish

A TEDxColumbus interview with Speaker Katrina Cornish the 2019 Innovator of the Year at The Ohio State University.

TEDxColumbus: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

KC: I was borne in Beccles, Suffolk, England the third of 5 children. I have “middle child syndrome” because it went boy, a girl two years later, me, a year after that, another girl 1.5 years after me, then a boy 3.5 years after that.  So I was never the eldest or youngest of either gender and had to fight tooth and nail for my place in the world 😊. Always an overachiever – on sports teams, in the choir, and as concert master of the school orchestra.  I always thought of myself as a B personality – obviously wrong – I am very A.  I moved temporarily to the US for a post-doc and accidentally ended up staying. The rest is history.

Columbus: What do others consider to be the most surprising thing about you?

KC: That I can sing a High C?  That I have MS? That I had my kids in my 40’s?

Columbus: What are you most looking forward to as a TEDxColumbus speaker/performer?

KC: Giving a truly impactful talk.

Columbus: What previous TED or TEDxColumbus talk was most meaningful to you?

KC: I can’t choose!

Columbus: Why​ ​would you encourage others to attend TEDxColumbus?

KC: You always learn tons of stuff – very eye-opening and changes your perspective.

Columbus: What inspires you about the future of Columbus?

KC: I live in Wooster and Columbus always seems a dynamic city.

Columbus: What do you consider to be a hidden gem of Columbus?

KC: The zoo is nice but hardly a hidden gem

Columbus: If you could give advice to yourself as a high school student, what would it be?

KC: Be true to yourself – aim for what you like and are good at even if you don’t think there are many jobs in it.

Columbus: How did you select your career choice?

KC: I think plants are really cool.  I realized in elementary school that they do everything animals do except they can’t run away in the going gets tough.  They have to adapt in one spot or die.  This got me into plant science.

Columbus: Who do you consider to be a mentor? Or who inspires you?

KC: I have had several good ones – mostly passed on now.  The best example I had was from Dr. John Radin.  I was giving a presentation in a session he was chairing.  I hadn’t met him before but he came up to me after the session absolutely delighted that I had scooped him.  I was surprised, expecting him to be upset by this.  However, he said there are always more good ideas where that one came from.  I have always tried to follow this example.  He corroborated my findings about 3 years later using a completely different method to mine.  We were firm friends till he died unexpectedly about 10 years ago from leukemia. My Dad was the most inspirational person in my life – he wasn’t supposed to live to 40 but kept going to 80 by shear will power. I do take after him.

Columbus: What is your favorite book and why?

KC: Perhaps Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien – accomplishing the impossible against incredible odds with lots of help and without becoming a total jerk in the process. I like books with happy endings, and do not like the horror genre at all. Enemy Mine is another favorite. I have loads of other favorites. I still read a couple of books a week.

And just for fun:

TEDxColumbus: Dog or Cat

KC: Dog

Columbus: Netflix or Theater

KC: Theater

Columbus: Facebook or Twitter

KC: Neither

Columbus: Phone Call or Text

KC: Phone Call

Columbus: Form or Function

KC: Function

Columbus: Big Party or Small Gathering

KC: Small Gathering

Columbus: Train or Plane

KC: Train – though I do 100x more plane than train

Columbus: Summer or Winter

KC: Spring and Fall 😀.