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Meet Karen Richardson

Young Obama staffer will discuss career path tonight


Karen Richardson has an impressive résumé for a 32-year-old. Before joining Barack Obama’s White House team as associate director for international affairs, she was the policy director at the Democratic National Committee, state policy director for Iowa’s Obama for America Campaign, and, in 2005, deputy policy director of Obama’s U.S. Senate office.

As part of the African American Studies Lecture Series, Richardson will discuss her White House role and her career tonight at the Howard Thurman Center, BU’s multicultural center.

A graduate of Howard University Law School and the London School of Economics, Richardson is responsible for outreach to the international community under the auspices of the President’s Office of Public Engagement. She joined the Obama administration in 2009 as outreach coordinator for the Office of Health Reform.

Richardson had planned to leave Washington to work in Angola, but she caught “Obama fever,” she told Ebony Magazine in March 2008, and went to work on Iowa’s Obama for America Campaign. “Being on the Senate staff with him, you knew there was something special happening. All that combined to keep me there. It just felt right.”

“In this economy, ‘What can I do with this degree?’ is a commonly heard question,” says Katy Evans, program administrator for the African American Studies Program. “As a student of history and African American studies and later as a law and international relations student, Karen developed the skills necessary for the position she has now.” Evans says she hopes students will benefit from Richardson’s story and experience.

After her talk, Richardson will answer questions from the audience.

The lecture, part of the African American Studies Lecture Series, is from 4 to 6 p.m. tonight, October 5, at the Howard Thurman Center, 775 Commonwealth Ave., lower level. The event is free and open to BU students.

Brendan Gauthier can be reached at btgauth@bu.edu.

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