Dr. Karen Paczkowski is an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF). She works on smart technologies that integrate advances in computing and available data to overcome obstacles standing in the way of innovations in energy, transportation, infrastructure, health, and other sectors. She also supports NSF-wide initiatives such as Smart & Connected Communities and Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems. Prior to her time at the NSF, Karen was a 2015-2016 AAAS Congressional Science Fellow, sponsored by the Geological Society of America (GSA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). As a fellow in U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey’s office, Karen used her STEM background to tackle national challenges in energy, the environment, and STEM education.
Karen holds a PhD in Geology & Geophysics and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University. She has worked on topics that span science, engineering, and policy. In academia, she has conducted research on blood flow, mantle convection, and earthquake dynamics. In industry, Karen has worked as an engineer in the aerospace industry, where she served as project lead for the thermodynamic analysis group on a project aimed at improving the fuel efficiency for Embraer’s E-Jet aircraft family. In policy, she has acted a liaison between scientists and policymakers, keeping the Geological Society of America’s 26,000 members updated and involved in the policy process. Karen has trained scientists to communicate with both policymakers and the public through communications workshops, webinars, and on-site training sessions. She has published peer-reviewed journal articles and articles about legislation, science policy events, and the importance of federal investment in science.