Karen A. Peterson is the Chief Executive Officer for the National Girls Collaborative. She has over 25 years of experience in education as a classroom teacher, university instructor, teacher educator, and researcher. Currently, Peterson is the Principal Investigator for the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Designed by Peterson, the NGCP seeks to maximize access to shared resources for public and private sector organizations interested in expanding girls’ participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The overarching goal of the NGCP is to use the leverage of a network to create the tipping point for gender equity in STEM. Currently, 31 Collaboratives, serving 39 states, facilitate collaboration between 18,800 organizations who serve 8.5 million girls and 4.9 million boys in the United States. Peterson is also Co-Principal Investigator for the Citizen SciGirls Transmedia and Research to Encourage Girls in STEM, SciGirls CONNECT – A Diffusion Scale Up Project, and STELAR, the ITEST Learning Resource Center. Funded by the NSF, these projects all address gender, racial and socioeconomic underrepresentation in STEM fields. Many access the NGCP’s national network and dissemination tools to distribute, scale-up, and/or replicate project outcomes.
Peterson also serves on the Board of Directors for True Child, an independent think tank which translates research and knowledge on the impact of gender stereotypes into a range of effective interventions, policies and other resources for the organizations and policy-makers.
Peterson has published in The Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering and CBE Life Sciences Education, a journal published by the American Society for Cell Biology. In 2013, Peterson was profiled in STEMConnector’s™ 100 Women Leaders in STEM publication. A graduate of the University of Washington, Bothell campus, her Master’s thesis focused on gendered attitudes towards computer use in education. Peterson has led workshops focused on STEM and equity in a variety of international settings, including Egypt, Russia, South Africa, South America, and Scotland.