Assistant Professor, Environmental Science
Karen has always loved animals and the environment. Growing up in south central Los Angeles, she would play in the dirt with her neighbors, imagining she could talk to worms and squirrels. Her love for nature blossomed when she had the opportunity to travel to the Teton Mountain Range in high school and learn about science in the outdoors. While in college, she majored in ecology and had the opportunity to study abroad in Panama, further strengthening her interest in wildlife and the environment. She pursued a PhD in wildlife ecology, following that dream, but quickly learned that her interests in wildlife and the environment were just as strong as her interests in human interactions with the environment and environmental justice. While doing research in southern Africa, she began to realize that many of the environmental problems communities were facing there mirrored environmental problems communities of color faced back home in Los Angeles, and globally. She wanted to study the environment for the benefit of people, wildlife, and the world as a whole. Karen is currently an Assistant Professor committed to making science just and equitable and to connecting humans and the environments all over the world.