Chemistry Rockstar

Karen McFarlane Holman Ph.D.

Publicity and Partnerships

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Karen McFarlane Holman Ph.D.

Welcome! I’m Karen, a.k.a. the Chemistry Rockstar. I’ve been a chemistry professor and leading a research team for over 20 years, and I’ve been playing guitar and singing in rock bands on hundreds of stages for even longer.

I love making scientific concepts accessible to students and the general public, and one of my missions is to empower those who are curious to discover more about the world around them. One of my proudest moments of my career was receiving the Carnegie Professor of the Year award.

Join me on this journey to see, hear, and feel things differently than you do now. Is there a connection or partnership we can forge together? Let me know if you’re interested in any of my endeavors: science, music, podcasts, speaking, education, videos, or mentorship. Perhaps there is a way we can work together to make this planet a better place. Fill out my connection form and I hope to meet you soon!

Contact Karen

Carnegie Foundation


“Karen is an absolute ROCKSTAR on and off the stage. She is a born entertainer! Her passion for science and ability to keep an audience engaged very much helped me earn my degree in Biochemistry while I was a student at Willamette University. She’s the best edutainer I know and I am SO EXCITED to see her creating content now. Keep crushing it Professor Holman!!”

Nick Symmonds

Nick Symmonds

Founder of Run Gum, 2x Olympian

“In the midst of a global pandemic, during which so many parents struggled to work, parent, and educate their children from home, Karen created the kind of tool that reignites our collective curiosity and fosters connection between parent and child: Science Rockstar Kids. Worth every penny.”

Sam West

Sam West

Press Assistant U.S. Senator Ron Wyden

“Karen rocks! When my travel business was down during 2020, the Rockstar Scientist brought us back on our feet with her Chemistry Cocktails events. Her fun, interactive experiences with a twist of science helped my company sell international trips for 2021. We’re looking forward to Karen’s incredible passion for science on our next curated trip. Thank you Karen for making travel even more meaningful.”

Jill Murwin

Jill Murwin

CEO Chasing Atlas Tours & Events

“Professor Karen McFarlane Holman is not only an accomplished scientist, but an expert in living a full life. Her tenacious mindset has served her well in many areas, from her role as a researcher developing ruthenium-based anticancer drugs to her role as lead guitarist in her punk rock band! Karen has a knack for identifying people’s hidden talents. With kindness and enthusiasm, she will help you unlock your potential and exceed your own personal expectations. I cannot recommend Karen McFarlane Holman enough as a life coach and mentor.

Elizabeth Larson

Elizabeth Larson

Scientist and Visual Artist

When Karen is asked for something, she not only shows up fully with energy and enthusiasm, but she takes it 10 steps further than you’d expect. She has an exceptional gift of leaning into each conversation, supporting each person with compassion, and creating a safe and nonjudgmental space. She also has an uncanny way of seeing people’s mistakes as opportunities rather than failures, which she uses to help them navigate what to do next. With Karen, I have felt heard and supported in ways that I had never felt before because of the diversity of her background and her kind receptivity. She is safe and trustworthy, which is huge to me.

Charlene Helm

Charlene Helm

CEO and Co-Founder CQ Events Agency

About Karen