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Karen Howard

Karen Howard

Acting Chief Scientist and Director, Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics

Areas of Expertise:

  • Acting Chief Scientist
  • Chemistry
  • Emerging science and technology issues
  • Technology assessment
  • Water quality

Dr. Karen L. Howard is GAO’s Acting Chief Scientist and a Director in GAO’s Science, Technology Assessment, and Analytics (STAA) team. She oversees a team of scientists and engineers who analyze science and technology issues.

Karen joined GAO in September 2007 as a member of the Health Care team, where she led reviews on federal drug pricing and FDA’s approval processes. In 2014, she transferred to what was then the Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering, and was promoted to Assistant Director in 2016. In 2019, Karen helped develop the new STAA team. She has received the Arthur S. Flemming Award, GAO’s Meritorious Service Award, and the Distinguished Service Award. Prior to joining GAO, she taught high school chemistry and biology for 12 years.

Karen earned a doctorate in environmental chemistry from the State University of New York. Karen earned master’s degrees in analytical chemistry and education from Youngstown State University and Duquesne University, respectively. Karen earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and secondary education from Penn State University.

Karen works in GAO’s Huntsville, Alabama Field Office.


Vaccine Safety
What Manufacturing Challenges Could Delay Vaccine Distribution?
Air Quality and the Technology Used to Monitor It
The Benefits of Recycling Consumer Electronics