2013 Alumna of the Year
Karen Renea Epps Honored During Founder's Weekend
The Alumnus of the Year is awarded to an alumnus who has made significant achievements in his/her profession, community, church, the alumni association and to the University. Karen Renea Epps was awarded the honor during the Annual Founder's Day Convocation, May 3, 2013.
Karen Renea Epps is a native of Phenix City, Alabama and the oldest child of Arthur and Cattie Epps. A 1982 graduate of Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University (AAMU), she holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration. In 2005, she earned her MBA from Bowie State University.
A career civil servant, Karen Renea began her federal career with the U.S. Department of Defense in Chambersburg, PA as a Cooperation Education Student. Upon completion of her studies at AAMU, she was later selected for the Supply Management Intern Program with the Defense Logistic Agency, which relocated her to Columbus, OH and later to Memphis, TN. Shortly, thereafter, Karen became an Investigator with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Augusta, GA, ultimately relocating her to the Washington, DC, Metropolitan area.
She is currently employed with the U.S. Department of Education and works in the HBCU Division, overseeing a portfolio of over 50 million dollars of Title III funds awarded to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Historically Black Graduate Institutions, Predominately Black Graduate Institutions, and Predominately Black Institutions. She completed a special assignment with the Federal Trio Program and previously worked with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHI-HBCUs) and Federal Student Aid. During her tenure with the White House Initiative, Karen was instrumental in ensuring AAMU's fifth president, Dr. Richard D. Morrison, was recognized as a Protector of the Legacy during the 2009 White House Initiative on HBCUs' conference. She was also influential in AAMU hosting the WHI-HBCUs 2010 Technical Assistance Conference to introduce Federal Agencies to the "Hill".
Karen is an active Life Member of the alumni association and an avid supporter of AAMU. A charter member of the Washington, DC Metropolitan alumni Chapter, she currently serves as the Vice president and Chairperson of the Scholarship, Student Recruitment and College Fairs, and Constitution and Bylaws Committees. She established and implemented the chapter's scholarship program in 2009, and since its inception, the chapter has awarded $2,000 annually to deserving AAMU students from the Washington DC metropolitan area and Delaware. Karen demonstrated her commitment to students by serving on the Scholarship and Recognition Breakfast Committee and the Alabama Big 3 HBCUs (AAMU, Alabama State and Tuskegee) Committees, to raise scholarship funds during annual and joint ventures (Scholarship Gala and Cookout).
On the national level, Karen currently serves as the Regional Vice President for Region Six and previously served as the Member-At-Large. She re-established the Scholarship Committee and continues to serve in this capacity to date. In addition to chairing the Scholarship Committee, she serves on the Constitution and By-laws and Program Committees and helps the Alumni Technology and the Fundraising (Skybox) Committees. She served as a Class Agent for the 1982 Class Reunion and received the Class Agent Award. She also receive the Eloise Sterrs Award for her work in bridging AAMU students and alumni.
Karen volunteers with the DC Achievers and the DC Leadership 1000 Scholarship Programs for District of Columbia students. She is a member of Reid Temple A.M.E. church where she serves on the Steward Board, Stewardess Board and the Scholarship Committee. She was recently appointed as the Director of the Higher Education Ministry. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Karen Renea believes her passion for students is a result of the opportunities afforded her as a student while attending AAMU. In return, she contributes her time, talents and her finances to promote and support AAMU. She also believes every Alumnus and student should understand that AAMU belongs to them and therefore responsible for ensuring that AAMU survives and thrives for generations to come. Karen resides in Upper Marlboro, MD and endeavors to reflect the Normalite spirit and exemplify "Service is Sovereignty."