The 2016 Keynote Speaker and Recipient of the Christopher Clavius, S.J. Award is Dr. Karen Kashmanian Oates, Professor of Biochemistry and the Dean of Arts & Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Date and Time: Keynote Address - 5:00 pm, Friday April 15, 2016
Location: Wolfington Teletorium, Mandeville Hall
Dr. Oates serves as the Peterson Family Dean of Arts & Sciences at WPI where she is responsible for 8 departments and 6 programs of study spanning the natural and life sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, mathematics and computer science. Several interdisciplinary programs are under her responsibility including bioinformatics, data science, cybersecurity, environmental studies and a shared robotics engineering program. Dr. Oates joined WPI from the National Science Foundation, where she served as a Deputy Director of the Division of Undergraduate Education charged with supporting innovative programs to strengthen undergraduate education and help revitalize American entrepreneurship and competitiveness. She began her academic career at George Mason University, where, as Associate Dean for the new College of Integrated and Interdisciplinary Studies, she helped create George Mason's New American College environment. She later served as inaugural Provost for the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, where she established the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement and helped secure NSF funds for Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities, which works to improve undergraduate STEM education by connecting learning to critical civic questions. Among the honors she has received are the Bruce Albert's Award, presented by American Society for Cell Biology for excellence in science education reform, and the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor presented by the City of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In 2012, she was inducted into the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science as a Science Education Fellow and was recently named a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer.