Karen Roehr smiling at the camera.

Karen E. Roehr, M.F.A.

Associate Professor

College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Art & Design Department, Climate Change Initiative
Mahoney Hall - 216E

Research Interests

Graphic Medicine; Graphic Design & Illustration for non-profits related to the environment, social justice and medical areas; Word& Image Sequential Narrative for Children and Young Adults.


  • BA: Creative Visual Arts, Bowdoin College - Brunswick, ME USA
    Supporting Area: Biology
  • MFA: Graphic Communications, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Art - St. Louis MO
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: Health Care Graphics


Professor Roehr's design work has been featured in Rockport Books and Print Magazine. Her artwork and miniature books have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Gymratz©, an original comic strip she created, was published for sixteen years by International Gymnast Magazine.

Karen does pro-bono creative work for various non-profit groups and volunteered for over 17 years at Boston Children’s Hospital. She’s also creative director for Café Solar, a fair-trade coffee company that uses sustainable practices to grow and process coffee. Design clients have included: The Rockwell group, Harvard University, Rawlings, Simon & Schuster, Polaroid, Boston Children's Hospital.

Teaching Initiatives

Teaching initiatives include: integrating professional practice and engagement with social/environmental concerns and interdisciplinary projects with UMass Lowell (UML) faculty. She teaches courses in graphic design, advertising, illustration, typography; and in the honors college Graphic Novels for Science and Medicine and Word&Image: Graphic Novels and Comics. In past years, she co-taught Tangible Interactive Design and Mobile App, with CS faculty and supervised numerous student senior projects. Karen created the AD lab, renamed UMLtimate Studio, that gives real world experience with clients to students.

Grants and Awards:

Creativity Show (NY), Art Director’s (MA), a Mulshoe Award (MO), the Kimberly Colen Grant (SCBWI), a Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Foundation grant and Co-PI for two NSF grants that integrated art and design with computer science. She previously produced the children's cable show Creative License for Arlington Cable Access Television that won a 3rd place Northeast Regional Alliance Award. She received a Pillars of Excellence award as part of team in transformational education and six individual teaching awards including Excellence in Art & Design Department.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Pillars of Excellence (2018), Teaching - Transformational Education
  • Service Learning Grant (2015), Service, Community - Umass Lowell
  • Creative Grant (2014), Service, Community - Lauren Dunne Astley Memorial Foundation
  • Excellence in Innovative and Transformational Education (2013), Teaching - UMass Lowell
  • NSF grants (2013), Teaching - National Science Foundation
  • Teaching Awards (2013), Teaching - UMass Lowell
  • Art Department Excellence in Teaching Award (2011), Teaching - UMass Lowell
  • Creative Economy Grant (2011), Service, Community - UMass System
  • Creative Service Learning Grant (2011), Service, Community - UMass Lowell
  • Teaching /Learning Grant (2011), Teaching - UMass Lowell
  • Excellence in Teaching (2010), Teaching - Student Government Association
  • Faculty Assessment Fellowship (2010), Service, University - UMass Lowell
  • UML Faculty Teaching Center (2007), Scholarship/Research - UMass Lowell
  • NSF grants that integrated design with CS (2007), Scholarship/Research - National Science Foundation
  • Healy Public Service Grant, (2005), Service, Community - UMass Lowell
  • Seed Grant (2005), Scholarship/Research - Council on Teaching and Learning
  • Grant (2004), Service, Community - Council on Diversity and Pluralism
  • Kimberly Colen Grant (2004), Scholarship/Research - Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
  • Teaching Award/ National Athletes Day (2004), Teaching - UMass Lowell/national
  • 2nd place (2003), Scholarship/Research - Massachusetts Library Association
  • Healy Grant (2003), Scholarship/Research - UMass Lowell
  • Art Department Excellence in Teaching Award (2002), Teaching - UMass Lowell
  • Outstanding New Series (2002), Service, Community - Sammy Award
  • Teaching Award / National Athletes Day (2002), Teaching - UMass Lowell/national
  • Arts Grant (2001), Service, Community - Massachusetts Cultural Council

Selected Publications

  • Roehr, K.E., Miniature Book Society., . (2012). Horn book for contemporary times. Uppercase Magazine
  • Roehr, K.E., Bowdoin College., . (). Reflections, creativity, art.

Selected Artistic and Professional Performances and Exhibits

  • Art Faculty Exhibition Art - Exhibition, Group (Brush Gallery) - Lowell MA
  • Miniature Books Society Conclave Non-Academic - International, Art - Exhibition, Group - Traveling Exhibition North Carolina, Florida and England
  • Cross Section/Across Sections Academic - Local, Art - Exhibition, Group - Faculty Exhibition (University Gallery UML) - Lowell MA
  • An Art of Smallness Local, Art - Exhibition, One-Person - K.E. Roehr (University Gallery) - Lowell. MA
  • Life by the Book Non-Academic - Art - Exhibition, Group - Artspace Gallery, Invitational group show (University of Virginia) - VA
  • Artists and Books In New England Non-Academic - Regional, Art - Exhibition, Competitive - Duxbury Art Complex, (Duxbury Art Complex, ) - Duxbury MA
  • More Than Words Can Say: A Celebration of Book Arts National, Art - Exhibition, Invitational (McKissick Museum) - Columbia SC

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Collaborative Research: Computational Thinking Through Mobile Computing (2012), Grant -
    Roehr, K.E. (Co-Principal)
  • Performamatics: Connecting Computer Science to the Performing, Fine, and Design Arts (2007), Grant -
    Heines, J.M. (Principal), Greher, G.R. (Co-Principal), Jeffers, J. (Co-Principal), Kuhn, S. (Co-Principal), Martin, F. (Co-Principal), Roehr, K.E. (Co-Principal), Selleck, N.G. (Co-Principal)
  • UMLtimate Studio (2005), Grant - University of Massachusetts Lowell
    Archibald, D.C., Roehr, K.E.
  • Trees and Pop-Up Books: Developing Connections between Art and Computer Science (2004), Grant - UML Teaching and Learning Seed Grant
    Martin, F., Roehr, K.E.