Karen Gaines, Provost, headshot, in black blazer

Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies Welcomes Norwich University Provost and Dean of the Faculty Dr. Karen Gaines as 2022 Commencement Speaker

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Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies (CGCS) is honored to announce that Norwich University Provost and Dean of the Faculty Dr. Karen Gaines will deliver the 2022 CGCS commencement address to approximately 360 students at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 24 in Shapiro Field House.

Gaines has served as Norwich University’s provost and faculty dean since 2022, overseeing academic affairs and its internal operations. 

Before her appointment, she served for six years as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) Daytona Beach (Florida) campus, where she oversaw 65% of the core campus courses and the college’s Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and doctoral programs.

She also was in charge of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army ROTC units. 

Before joining ERAU, Gaines worked for the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (USDOE) Savannah River Site, served as department chair of biological sciences and as founding director of the Geographic Information Science Center at Eastern Illinois University.

Gaines’ doctorate is in environmental toxicology from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, where she worked with the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP) to quantify exposure pathways and develop spatially explicit risk models for vulnerable populations living near nuclear waste sites using multiple endpoints. 

Gaines earned the doctoral achievement award for her work in radiation epidemiology, exposure, risk assessment and radionuclide fate and transport. She is internationally recognized for her expertise on the fate and transport of toxicants in extreme environments for both environmental and human risk assessment, specifically pertaining to health physics, radiobiology, radiochemistry, metals and organics.

Gaines is a certified wildlife biologist and has served in several Wildlife Society working groups. She has consulted for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Agriculture Department, NASA, and the U.S. Defense Department and continues to serve these agencies as a risk assessor and spatial data analytics expert.

Gaines has also partnered with NASA and the Defense Department on research focusing on human performance and  physiological endpoints at the cellular level. 

Gaines has received Energy Department funding throughout her career to monitor nuclear waste sites remotely and in situ. She works closely with the Aerospace Medical Society, American Public Health Association and the Navy Department in various capacities and is an appointed member of the Health Physics Society and the International Union of Radioecology.

She collaborates and holds an adjunct clinical assistant professorship in the Florida State University’s College of Medicine. 

“I’m privileged to deliver the upcoming 2022 commencement address for Norwich’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies as the university’s newly appointed provost,” Gaines said. “Our online degree and continuing education programs prepare motivated students for leadership roles in today’s most critical fields. I respect the resiliency required for these students to persist in the face of the difficult challenges they have faced during the pandemic. Students who can complete a graduate degree while working and raising a family have my utmost respect and I look forward to honoring them during this momentous occasion.”

The June 24 commencement ceremony concludes a weeklong annual residency conference of approximately 360 students representing 13 online graduate programs and six bachelor’s degree completion programs at Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Gathering from across the country and around the globe, these Norwich students come together for a week of capstone and culminating academic work and conferences.