Karen Johnston

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Cooperative Extension

Karen Johnston

Extension Agent — Prevention Educator

Office Location:
531 South College Avenue
113 Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19716


M.B.A. in Healthcare Administration
B.A. in Philosophy
C.D.A, Certified Dietetic Assistant

Area(s) of Expertise:

4-H, Youth Development, Healthy Living, Prevention, Community Development, 4-H Grants



Prior to joining UD Cooperative Extension, Karen Johnston was a District Manager and Director of Training for The Wood Company (Food Service Management), and Director of Training and Recruiting for NewSeasons Assisted Living Company.

Hired in 2006, Karen joined UD Extension as a part-time coordinator for the "Engaging Youth, Serving Communities" (USDA) issues forum and action planning in Kent and Sussex Counties, as well as the "Statewide Health Rocks!" tobacco, drug and alcohol prevention grant. In 2011 she transitioned to a full-time role, which expanded her duties to include other grants such as United Way IM40, Walmart's Nutrition and Fitness, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's national mentoring project. 

In 2014, Karen accepted a new position in Grant Management, where she currently works with grant-funded 4-H staff, sponsored programs, and funding agencies across the state and country. In the past five years, Karen has increased her leadership nationally and locally. Her focuses include healthy living for youth and adults, prevention, nutrition and fitness, mindfulness, fitness, youth and adult partnerships and community engagement. She also recently spent three years on the National Extension Committee on Organization and Policy's (ECOP) Health Action Team for Positive Youth Development committee. In 2018 and 2019, her team's journal articles appeared in the Journal of Extension, Journal of Youth Development and the Journal of Human Sciences and Extension.

Karen is married to her husband, Robert, of 24 years and has two children. Her oldest son, Bobby, is a 2019 graduate from UD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resource's Food Science Program and her younger son, Matthew, is currently enrolled at DeSales University for Theatre. In her spare time, Karen is an avid runner and fitness enthusiast who completed her first Ultra Marathon in January 2020 at Killens Pond!