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Faculty Spotlight: Karen Becker, Associate Professor, Marketing & IDB

Faculty Spotlight: Karen Becker, Associate Professor, Marketing & IDB

This Faculty Spotlight will spotlight Karen Becker, Associate Professor, Marketing & Interdisciplinary Business.  Karen joined TCNJ in the fall of 2006, and among her contributions has been her successful mentoring of the last two first-place teams in the Mayo Business Plan Competition. We recently talked to Karen about a new project of hers, Lions in London, a study abroad program beginning in the spring of 2025.

Can you share with us a little about how the idea for this program came about?

“Back in 2016, I had a transformative experience when I served as the faculty coordinator for a study abroad semester in Heidelberg, Germany. The students that participated had such an impactful semester academically, professionally, and personally, that I wanted to recreate a similar experience.”

“I was also interested in having freshmen be able to participate in a study abroad as the benefits of early experiences are strong. I presented the idea to Christa Olsen and Jennifer Margherito in the Center for Global Engagement and we have been working for close to 2 years on building a program that is appropriate for freshmen and impactful.”

“We jointly chose London as TCNJ has an existing partnership program there with experience in freshman opportunities, no language barrier, it is relatively safe, and offers many cultural, historical, and business connections. Our partner school in London has been great in helping to curate classes, accommodate schedules, and provide local support. I also have familiarity with London having spent time there over the last several years and several built-in business connections as my son currently works there and I have been working with a group called Business Fights Poverty.”

Can you tell us what is involved in creating a study abroad program?

“Creating the program requires coordination of several different departments and a long time horizon because of the planning. On the TCNJ side we have to coordinate with admissions, the first-year seminar group, the CGE council, and the School of Business. On the London side, we coordinate with FIE and begin to build out classes and connections so that when we get there we are organized. Last summer I visited the site and met the Director in London to iron out a few administrative details. This summer, I will spend some time learning about the neighborhood and further building class connections, speakers, and projects.”

What are the benefits of participating in this study abroad program?

“For students the benefits are huge. Most importantly, freshmen get to be independent and experience life outside of New Jersey and the US. They also get to try living in a city and balancing school and all the things London has to offer – sports, theatre, history, shopping, and great restaurants. Also, this program is designed so that all courses will transfer back to TCNJ and by having a TCNJ faculty member and a cohort of other students, they still feel connected to TCNJ.”

“Professionally, the students will have speakers, job talks, and projects with local business mentors. The special topics course students will take is focused on responsible business practices and human rights issues within global value chains. This is a great course for London as there are many initiatives, think tanks, and programs, including Business Fights Poverty, which are committed to human rights and using business as a starting point for creating more dignified work solutions.”

What aspects of the history and culture of London are you hoping to take advantage of?

“I am a huge theatre and modern art lover, so I plan to see lots of shows and go to galleries. I also really love Borough Market and one particular cheese shop with an award winning cheddar.”


Read more about Dr. Karen Becker and anything else she may be working on. Look for the next Faculty Spotlight soon!


School of Business

Business Building, Room 114
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628