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Karen L Nelson

Karen Nelson is a Hiring Manager and active DEIA Council member at the USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center. Since 2021, she has been on detail with the Office of Science Quality and Integrity (OSQI), Youth and Education in Science (YES) team working in Internships and College Partnerships.  She is excited to help support a new pilot program: College Internships for Students on the Spectrum (CISS).

Karen started with the USGS in 1999 as a Pathways student on the I.T. Support team in Wisconsin’s Water Resources Division, later the Wisconsin Water Science Center. She worked her way up to Supervisor of the I.T. team in 2012 where she focused on employee and leadership development and concentrated on security related initiatives. She is an inclusion and disability rights advocate who recruits annually for the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP).

Prior to working at the USGS, Karen worked in Marketing/Industry Relations and Member Services at state agencies (Wisconsin Department of Tourism; Educational Communications Board/Wisconsin Public Television) with additional stints at non-profits and in the corporate world.

Karen also provides leadership coaching to federal employees as a DOI Internal Coach and is currently on the faculty of the Department of Interior (DOI) Internal Coach Training Program (ICTP). She is also a CORE PLUS Ambassador, working as a Conflict Resolution Practitioner in-training.

Education and Certifications

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC), International Coaching Federation 2020

  • Master of Public Administration, American Public University, 2013 

  • Associate of Applied Science, I.T. Network Specialist, Madison Area Technical College, 2001

  • BA in Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1990 

  • Certified Organizational Unit Administrator (COUA) for Active Directory