Karen began her professional career working for eight years as a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant both in Maryland and at a border hospital in Arizona. She earned a Masters in Social Work in 1992 from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. She then had a opportunity to work in a variety of locations with different populations with her now-retired Army spouse. She has worked in a community-based outreach program in Kansas serving families and children. In Germany she worked as member of a team for the New Parent Support Program with expectant parents and children up to six years old. Relocating back to Maryland in 2003, she recently retired after 13 years of service working for the Department of Defense, serving military and civilian members.