Karen Henry '87
Karen Henry '87 is the first person to hold the position of gender education advisor that was created when she joined the Dean's Office in 1993. In that role, she provides support and advocacy for students who feel they have been victimized by sexual misconduct. She also assists students in understanding what constitutes sexual misconduct and in shaping appropriate responses to such inappropriate behavior.
Survivors, victims, crisis, misconduct, assault - with reassuring, professional calm, and even humor, Karen deals with it all. "There is so much satisfaction in my work," she says, "in seeing how resilient students can be and in supporting students in all ways."
Karen works with campus groups such as Acquaintance Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP), Sexual Misconduct Advisors and Resource Team (SMART), the Women's Resource Center, and all women's groups. As assistant dean, she advises other students as well, including the Philip Evans Scholars.
"ASAP is a great group," she says. "The older students have workshops and discussion groups especially with freshmen about the realities of what happens at Swarthmore, and on all campuses. They give tips on party behavior, alcohol-related behavior, thinking ahead in dating situations - they talk about it all."
Karen's expertise in advising and counseling comes not only from her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Temple University or her master's in social service from Bryn Mawr College, but from years of experience in Philadelphia, her hometown, at the Veterans Hospital and at Action AIDS. "When you see how people who have multiple issues are struggling to live, it's hard," she says. "But it prepares you for anything."