Karyn Thompson Promotes Diversity, Wellness Ahead of Women’s Lunch Keynote
October 1, 2019
Karyn and Mark Thompson
The following article is part of a series previewing the events taking place during Wentworth’s Inauguration Week, October 15-20.
When Karyn Thompson delivers a keynote speech at the Oct. 15 Fall Women’s Lunch event, many in the audience will be meeting the person behind the “first lady” moniker—and her altruistic work—officially for the first time.
“I see it as a good way to get to know me,” she says. “I’m a firm believer in the power of kindness and that’s a focus of mine that I want to get across to the community.”
The lunch, which emanates from Watson Auditorium at noon, will be one of the first to kick off an inaugural week of various events. Thompson plans to speak of her previous volunteer work, as well as experience in higher education.
Thompson earned an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Reading Education. She taught first and second grades in public schools and was the director and owner of a preschool for 13 years.
She also taught a critical thinking seminar for first-year students at Quinnipiac University and developed a program with Education students to travel to Nicaragua. The latter provides interdisciplinary opportunities for learning with work focused on school rebuilding and teacher development.
Thompson hopes to continue her leadership and volunteer work at Wentworth, with a particular interest in international programs and wellness seminars. She is additionally focused on inclusive excellence at Wentworth, an idea that echoes one of the major focus areas of President Mark Thompson, her husband of 31 years.
“I see a lot of enthusiasm [at Wentworth] to increase diversity and promote cultural awareness,” she says.
Ahead of the Women’s Lunch, Thompson notes that it’s never too early to introduce STEM concepts to young girls.
“In grade school you can tell if children are interested in certain subjects. I often saw young girls express an interest in math, as one example,” she says. “I’m a big believer in campus lab tours, making time to meet the professors, especially when girls are in middle school. And we also want to make sure that we are teaching subjects that are of interest to both men and women.”
In their short time at Wentworth, Karyn and Mark have made themselves readily available to the community and have met with many to discuss the university's future.
“Everyone has been tremendous and welcoming. The students especially are the center for us,” she says. “The students here are fun and passionate and so creative in the ways they approach their work. Mark and I are honored to be a part of this community.”
A full list of Wentworth Inauguration events can be found online.
February 21, 2020—Wentworth Institute and Simmons University to highlight contributions of women suffragists and host event where participants can review and transcribe handwritten suffragist materials.
February 14, 2020—Emily Levy is an award-winning social impact entrepreneur and patient advocate.
January 30, 2020—The event provided insight into the available career paths for construction management professionals and day-to-day activities of various positions.