In May 2006, Karen Salvemini graduated from DeSales University. In the intervening years, she graduated from Widener Law School, magna cum laude, worked for a prominent law firm in the Harrisburg, Pa., area, and began a new career at Lehigh University.
Since January 2015, Karen has been the equal opportunity compliance officer in the Office of the General Counsel of Lehigh University. As such, Karen oversees Lehigh University's education and compliance efforts relating to Title IX and other equal opportunity and non-discrimination laws. She also serves as the university's Title IX, ADA, Section 504, and Age Discrimination Act coordinator, a challenging collection of responsibilities in a time when litigation is often the first resort and change in these areas of the law is the routine rather than the exception.
While she originally considered a career in criminal law, an internship in corrections and her experiences in civil law convinced Karen to change her specialty. Her years working as an associate attorney for the law firm of Rhoads & Sinon LLP solidified her decision and helped prepare her for her current position. While at the law firm, she worked in the labor and employment group of the civil litigation department, where she researched and wrote about issues related to labor and employment as well as matters that require human resource departments to make legal decisions. Ultimately, it helped prepare her for the job she now has at Lehigh University.
Of her time as an undergraduate at DeSales, Karen said double majoring in criminal justice and English prepared her for the rigors of law school. She arrived at Widner Law School confident in her writing and critical thinking skills and in her ability to research and report her findings in a case study environment.
When asked if she has advice for students and graduates regarding their careers, Karen said they should think outside the box and not limit themselves to narrow career goals.
For now, Karen—who grew up in the Lehigh Valley—is happy to be back in the area, bringing her closer to friends and family. And thanks to her current responsibilities, she enjoys regular meetings with representatives of all the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC) schools, including DeSales University.
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