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Karen Harper serves as President of Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST), a non-profit organization focused on broadening the participation of women and historically under-represented minorities in STEM.  She leads the organization as a member of the Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC), a collaborative partnership between academia, industry, not-for-profit organizations, and government that aims to broaden STEM literacy and develop a diverse and agile future workforce.  Ms. Harper manages the Strategic Outreach Initiative and ensures STEM outreach activities are supported and performing high-quality work; drives alignment to DSEC fundamentals that frame the overall DSEC strategy; and monitors the strategic initiatives of 24 partners to expand the pool of traditionally underrepresented and military connected students.

Ms. Harper also directs the engagement of BEST’s diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) portfolio with the Department of Defense Education and Workforce Development for Advanced Manufacturing.  She has 34 years of federal government experience in human capital management, workforce planning, and project planning and execution.