Karen Kashmanian Oates

Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences 

Oates, a nationally recognized scientist, science educator, and higher education leader, is the Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences at WPI. A biochemist, Oates began her career as a visiting scientist at the National Institutes of Health's Oncology and Hematology Division. At George Mason University, she helped create its 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. Prior to joining WPI this fall,she served as a deputy director at the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education.

Oates's early research focused on various chemical and biological aspects of breast cancer and biologic therapies for cancer. Her more recent interests and publications have centered on women's health generally,faculty development, service learning, business-higher education partnerships, and K-12 science and mathematics education. Among her awards, she has received the Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education, presented by American Society for Cell Biology, and the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest civilian honor presented by the city of Harrisburg, PA.  

At WPI, Oates oversees seven academic departments and promotes the   growth of such interdisciplinary programs as Environmental Studies,Interactive Media & Game Development, International Studies,Professional Writing, Learning Sciences, and Robotics.

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