Karen Held joined ORNL in 2020. She began her career with the United States Navy, where she served as a Surface Warfare Officer for almost 12 years. Following her service, Karen spent eight years work as a Board Administrator for Ashford University, and Administrative Specialist at the University of Tennessee, Institute for Public Service and Knoxville campus. Karen has master’s degrees in Information Sciences (MSIS) and Public Administration (MPA).

Karen is the Administrative Assistant for Tom Beck, Section Head for the Science Engagement Section. Science Engagement partners National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS) users with experts in scientific domains and computation to obtain optimal scientific results from the center’s computational resources and systems. The section consists of four groups: Advanced Computing for Chemistry and Materials, Advanced Computing for Life Sciences and Engineering, Advanced Computing for Nuclear, Particles, and Astrophysics, and Algorithms and Performance Analysis. As an Administrative Assistant, Karen plays a vital role in keeping the scientists focused on their research by handling administrative functions and providing needed support in the office. This support generally includes all travel reservations, organizing meetings, event planning, purchasing, and arranging/maintaining on-site or cyber access to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Information Sciences
Master of Science (M.S.)
Ashford University
Public Administration
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Oregon State University
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


2019 — College of Communications and Information, Top Information Sciences Student Award

2008 — City of Newport Award