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American Dream Makers

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s American Dream Makers program provides support to Astronaut Scholars for advancement of their innovative ideas, ventures, and initiatives.


Karen White

Research and Development Commercialization Facilitator
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Areas of Expertise
Commercialization, Patents, Idea Pitch Competitions, University Technology Transfer, Research Development and Innovation Management, Intellectual Property Management, Licensing (Patents and Copyright), Early Stage Startups and Entrepreneurship



Karen White is with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where she is responsible for faculty support in the areas of Research Development and Commercialization. In this role, her focus is on growing the campus’ research capacity, and providing advice or support services to faculty wishing to pursue commercial opportunities arising from their research. She leads the Innovation-To-Enterprise Initiative to enable the campus community to reach its full potential in research commercialization and economic development, and to provide opportunities for students to learn about discovery and innovation, as they aspire to become the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

Before joining IUPUI in March 2011, Karen served as the Assistant Director for the Office of Technology Commercialization at Purdue Research Foundation. She has extensive experience in technology transfer, with a career spanning over 23 years, beginning with the Center for Advanced Technology Development at Iowa State University, moving to the Technology Licensing Office of Texas A&M University, then moving to Purdue University in July 2000. In these positions, she was responsible for management of a broad portfolio of technologies including patentable inventions in physical science and engineering technologies (e.g., information technology, computer security, alternative energy, medical imaging, educational technology, etc.). She served as the leading negotiator on license, options, and other technology transfer agreements (CDA’s) across multiple industries (medical devices, chemical analysis, diagnostics, software and computer security, etc.).

She received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Berea College, followed by graduate studies in Chemistry at Miami University, where she received the Astronaut Scholarship (then Mercury Seven Scholarship) from 1986-1988. Karen later earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision, through the College of Technology at Purdue University, studying the impact of mentoring on retention of women in the STEM fields.


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