Karen K.  Leonas

Karen Leonas

Professor, TATM

Fashion and Textile Management: Textile Brand Management and Marketing
Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management

Wilson College Directory

About Karen Leonas

Dr. Karen Leonas spent a lot of time in Nelson Hall when she was a Wilson College of Textiles student studying textile chemistry. After graduating from the Wilson College of Textiles, Leonas worked for Burinlington Industries, Industrial Fabrics, as a textile technologists; she served as the Aerospace Product Manager and worked with a variety of technical textiles.

She then entered the University of Tennessee, where she earned an M.S. in clothing and textiles and a Ph.D. in Textile Chemistry Textile Physics and was a member of the PATRA program.

Proir to joining the NC State Wilson College of Textiles faculty in 2013, she was the Chair of Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles at Washington State University for six years.  She was a faculty member at the University of Georgia in  the Department of Textiles, Merchandising, and Interiors for almost 20 years.

She has received numerous awards for teaching research and advising during her time as a faculty member.


  • Personal protective equipment material design and development, specifically for resistance to small particle and liquid transmission
  • Product development and evaluation (chemical and physical)
  • Surface and chemical modifications of textile and polymeric materials
  • Weathering and degradation of polymeric materials
  • Sustainable processes and practices throughout the supply chain

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. Textile Chemistry/Textile Physics, University of Tennessee, 1985
  • M.S. Clothing and Textiles, University of Tennessee, 1983
  • B.S. Textile Chemistry, North Carolina State University, 1980


Evaluation of a robotic transfer replicator: machine parameters that affect measurements of transfer of particulates from carpet surfaces to human skin versus human skin-like surfaces
Yu, H., Brewer, M. S., Leonas, K. K., Knopp, J. A., & Annis, P. A. (2018), TEXTILE RESEARCH JOURNAL, 88(19), 2234–2249. https://doi.org/10.1177/0040517517718191
Visual assessments of biodegradable mulch deterioration are not indicative of changes in mechanical properties
Cowan, J. S., Saxton, A. M., Liu, H., Leonas, K. K., Inglis, D., & Miles, C. A. (2016), HortScience, 51(3), 245–254.
Degradation of potentially biodegradable plastic mulch films at three diverse U.S. locations
Li, C. H., Moore-Kucera, J., Miles, C., Leonas, K., Lee, J., Corbin, A., & Inglis, D. (2014), Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 38(8), 861–889. https://doi.org/10.1080/21683565.2014.884515

View All Publications


  • The Sustainability Consortitum - Clothing, Footwear and Textile Committee, co-chair


  • FTM 217 - The Textile Industry ,
  • TTM 591 - Sustainability through the Textile and Apparel Industry , Spring
  • TTM 791 - Textile Technology Management , Fall

Additional Information

Graduate Projects

TSC Waste Water Challenge – Phase 1 Global Landscape Development

Recycled Fibers in Consumer Products

Sustainably designed garments for fast fashion

Areas of Expertise