Interim Vice President for Research

Karen Butler-Purry

Karen Butler-Purry, the interim vice president for research at Texas A&M University, is a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Texas A&M College of Engineering.

She has led the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies for seven years, first as associate vice president for graduate studies in 2010, then as associate provost for graduate studies in 2011.

She earned her doctorate in electrical engineering from Howard University and joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1994. She became an associate professor in 2001 and a professor in 2005. Dr. Butler-Purry has received numerous teaching and service awards including the 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mentor Award for efforts to mentor students from underrepresented groups and for leadership in promoting doctorate-level careers for them in electrical engineering and computer sciences. 

Dr. Butler-Purry served as associate head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 2008-10 and assistant dean of graduate programs for the College of Engineering from 2001-2004. In addition, she chaired the University Graduate Processing Committee in 2002-03; directed the Electric Power and Power Electronics Institute in 2007-08; and served as coordinator of the Electric Power and Power Electronics Group in 2007-08. 

Dr. Butler-Purry conducts research in computer and intelligent systems application to smart power distribution systems; distribution protection, automation and management, fault diagnosis; estimation of remaining life of transformers, intelligent reconfiguration; system modeling and simulation for isolated power systems, and; engineering education.

Dr. Butler-Purry developed a successful research program with funding from federal agencies such as National Science Foundation and Office of Naval Research, and industry funding from electric utility companies. She received the National Science Foundation Faculty Career Award (1995) and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (1999). She has supervised and funded over 40 graduate and 65 undergraduate research students. Also she has been involved in fellowship and education program projects with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education and directed several of these programs that target recruitment, retention and advancement of pre-college, college, and graduate students in STEM fields.