Karen Andrade became a fellow when she was a Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. Karen is an interdisciplinary thinker and her doctoral dissertation is composed of two sections with very different, but complementary, training emphases. One half of her dissertation is focused on microbial communities and their ecology. This gives her a deep and practical understanding of how to conduct research in the biophysical sciences. She has used this experience when establishing and directing the UC Berkeley Science Shop. The UC Berkeley Science Shop was launched in 2013 to facilitate collaborations between UC Berkeley students and San Francisco Bay Area communities with environmental research needs. It offers community-based organizations, non-profits, small businesses and local governments free or low-cost access to scientific resources. At the UC Berkeley Science Shop we recognize that knowledge is a form of power and, inspired by the popular education, participatory action research, and European Science Shop movements, our team seeks to empower communities through the democratization of the scientific endeavor. To do this, the Science Shop supports community-engaged environmental research by linking the knowledge, skills, resources and research needs of students and staff with those of community members through course-based research projects and dissertations. Karen’s goal is to dedicate her career to the building of effective and accessible bridges between institutional scientific research and the environmental research needs of community groups.