'Theatre has helped me to bring a creative side to my science studies'
My Story: Katie O'Byrne | Science (Neuroscience), UCD
Katie O'Byrne has a passion for science and a definite talent for drama and, when it came to considering her future, she thought she would have to choose between the two.
The 21-year-old from Cabinteely, Co Dublin is entering her final year in neuroscience in University College Dublin (UCD), but her dramatic career has not taken a back step.
The former pupil of St Joseph of Cluny, Killiney, developed a passion for theatre and drama during Transition Year and it grew as she continued into fifth and sixth year, when she received a place in the National Youth Theatre.
Katie entered UCD through its common entry science route, taking the option to specialise in neuroscience, although she valued the opportunity in first year to experience the breadth and variety of subjects on offer.
She admits that she was a little worried about maths and chemistry but soon found out about the college's maths support centre and attended chemistry tutorials, which laid all her concerns to rest.
While in sixth year, Katie had applied for the Performing Arts Scholarship at the UCD Ad Astra Academy for elite students and was offered a place, subject to an offer and acceptance of a course.
So, when she received her CAO offer, Katie knew that she should pursue her interest in drama at a high level.
From the start, she got fully involved in college life, including joining DramSoc at Orientation Week. Like every other first year, Katie was also assigned a peer mentor - a volunteer second or third-year student from same academic area - which she found a great support.
Through her scholarship, Katie has both an academic and a creative mentor. They work together with her to help balance her academic studies and drama pursuits, such as when she has to attend theatre training or vocal workshops and has clashing lectures or assignments.
Ultimately Katie would like to teach both subjects. She feels that she couldn't have pursued one without the other and that in her case that her interests in science and theatre have benefited the other.
"Science has helped when problem-solving was needed in theatre, while theatre has helped me bring a creative side to my studies in science."