Karen Andrade

Civic Science Fellow at the Science Philanthropy Alliance

​​University of California, Davis, B.S. in Biotechnology
​​University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy & Management

An interdisciplinary environmental health scientist by training, Karen Andrade has expertise in community-based participatory research and a robust track record of engaging diverse communities in science. The breadth and depth of her scientific knowledge are coupled with a firm conviction in the essential role of basic sciences, the benefit of cross-disciplinary approaches, and an enduring interest in exploring the role of science in society.
​​Karen recently completed postdoctoral fellowships at Stanford and the University of California, Davis, where she led biomedical and environmental health research to benefit marginalized and vulnerable communities. Her interest in exploring new paths to inspire support of and engagement with science led her to found and direct the UC Berkeley Science Shop. This student-led organization facilitated research collaborations between students and San Francisco Bay Area communities. Karen earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy & Management from the University of California, Berkeley.


What are you most proud of in your work or life?

​​I am proud of my resilience, my perseverance and optimism. Of my ability and openness to own my mistakes and keep learning and growing – which comes in handy in my role as a mom. I am so proud of my kids, the family im nurturing and our work to stop cycles of racism, sexism and colonial violence starting from within. I am definitely proud of the imperfect balance I keep between family and my career. Of my educational achievements but more than the degree itself, I am proud that I made that work my own. I am proud that I have found what I see as a career that is impactful, meaningful and a joy.

What are your passions and hobbies?

​​My passion is understanding systems, particularly the systems that compose the scientific enterprise, figuring out how to democratize it, and imagining new more just realities. My passion is identifying ways to more equitably share the power of the scientific enterprise. I also love teaching my kids science, playing with them, reading and discussing books with them and listening to classical music. I don’t have time for hobbies but I do love (and miss) reading fiction, kickboxing and hiking.

Do you have a personal motto or other words to live by?

​​Science is powerful. It’s a system. It’s both content and process. Not having access to scientific knowledge, research and voice adds to power inequities.

Favorite snack food?

Any spicy tamarind Mexican candy and salt and vinegar chips!

Anything else we should know?

​​Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about philanthropy, getting a Ph.D. or in general for an informational interview.