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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

Fellow Spotlight: Dr. Karen Hardy

Fellow Spotlight: Dr. Karen Hardy

Who or what inspired you to enter into public service?

I actually fell into public service full-time after working in banking, even though I spent my freshman and sophomore college years as a Junior Fellow and worked at the Federal Communications Library during school breaks. My sister was a charter employee of the Environmental Protection Agency, and I thought that was an admirable accomplishment. So that always stayed with me.

What is your favorite class you have ever taught or taken and why?

I spent a year in high school studying Shakespeare and spent time at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, to watch Shakespearean plays.

In fact, an art exhibit that includes my work as a student is currently on display at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Washington, DC, through April 2024.

What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing public policy or public administration as a career?

Having a heart of servant leadership is key to success. Public service is a selfless profession, but knowing how you manage programs that can impact people's lives is extremely gratifying. So come prepared to serve and leave your mark for making it better than when you came.

What area of public policy interests you the most and why?

Policy development. I enjoy the engagement that comes with negotiating and interacting with stakeholders, understanding their needs and concerns, and creating a policy that isn't burdensome but improves quality of life and provides a win/win situation for everyone.

What is your favorite cuisine?

I enjoy fresh seafood from native waters, like Alaskan salmon or Maine Lobster!

What is your favorite hobby or activity that you enjoy doing in your free time?

I have a creative outlet. I enjoy playing music and playing my saxophone. Writing music and lyrics has been something I have always enjoyed since a kid. One of my most creative projects to date is producing a documentary about Veterans with PTSD. It won four regional Emmy Awards, and the film can be watched on Amazon Prime. It's entitled "A New Leash on Life: The K9s for Warriors Story."

Who in your life has been an influential mentor or inspiration for you?

My mother. I come from a big family of 10 (seven siblings). My mother didn't graduate high school and was a short-order cook for Marriot for 40 years in the hospitality industry. Yet she encouraged us to pursue higher education so we all have college degrees. I am the first in my family to earn a doctorate.

What was your dream job as a child?

My dream job was to be a writer and journalist. In a sense, I have accomplished that. I studied Mass Media, Journalism, and Communication in College to learn the craft.

Communication and creativity are two of my strengths and have helped me be an effective leader in public service. But my secret dream is still to be a talk show or game show host!

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