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  • The Learning Center

Karen Backes

Academic Programs Coordinator

How Can I Help

I'm here to help you determine which of WashU's academic support programs will best meet your needs and get you connected to those resources. I also work with instructors and our campus partners to continually improve and expand our programs.


Karen joined the Learning Center team in August of 2019, after receiving her Master of Social Work degree from the Brown School at Washington University. While pursuing her Master’s degree, Karen engaged in research, education, and health promotion through her work with the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, the Habif Health and Wellness Center, and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.

Karen is passionate about promoting equity and inclusion in both academics and extracurricular programming on Washington University’s campus. In her role as Academic Programs Coordinator, Karen serves as students’ primary point of contact for getting connected with academic support services. She oversees the Academic Skills Peer Coaching and Matched Academic Mentoring programs and also teaches one section of the Seminar in Academic Mentoring (SAM) course for new mentors every fall. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and taking care of her ever-growing collection of houseplants.


BS in Psychology, University of Florida

MSW, Washington University in St. Louis

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