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SDSC Names Karen R. Flammer Director of Education

Co-Founder of Sally Ride Science Succeeds Diane Baxter

Image: Karen R. Flammer, Director of Education at SDSC

Karen R. Flammer Photo by Ben Tolo/SDSC

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego, has appointed Karen R. Flammer as Director of Education at SDSC, succeeding Diane Baxter, who officially retires on November 30. Flammer officially began her new role on October 1.

“We are delighted that Karen has joined SDSC to continue to guide what is already an excellent and very diverse education program led by Diane Baxter during the past 10 years,” said SDSC Director Michael Norman, “We welcome Karen and look forward to her contributions, and wish Diane a happy and well deserved retirement.”

Flammer, a research physicist at UC San Diego who obtained her Ph.D. in Space Physics from the university in 1988, joins SDSC following a wide array of accomplishments throughout the education field during the past 20 years, including experience as the senior director of large-scale K-16 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) outreach and professional development programs.

In 2001 she co-founded, along with Sally Ride and Tam O’Shaughnessy, Sally Ride Science, a STEM education technology company dedicated to inspiring young people by promoting STEM literacy. Flammer will serve as director of education for the recently announced Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego program through a joint appointment with UC San Diego Extension, while O’Shaughnessy will serve as executive director for SRS@UCSD.

Flammer previously was the director for ISS-EarthKAM, (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students), a NASA-funded educational program, initiated by Sally Ride, that teaches middle school students how to photograph the Earth from space using a digital camera onboard the International Space Station. Through her efforts and the support of Sally Ride Science, EarthKAM engaged more than 600,000 K-12 students from 80 countries to participate under an annual budget of $1 million.

“I am extremely passionate about broadening participation in STEM and making high quality STEM programs accessible to diverse audiences,” said Flammer. “To this end, my vision is to utilize educational technology, online courses, and media channels to expand and strengthen SDSC’s education, outreach, and training efforts.”

Flammer will report to Ilkay Altintas, SDSC’s Chief Data Science Officer, and head of the Center’s CI-RED group. “We are very excited about Karen joining us and what she brings to the SDSC EOT program,” said Altintas. “Her extensive experience in working with communities in diverse environments is sure to make our programs even better going forward.”


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