Ms. Harkins is a graduate of Drexel University's Civil Engineering Bachelor's program and Environmental Science Master's program. She holds a Professional Engineering License from the state of Pennsylvania. Before coming to the University, she worked in the environmental remediation and trucking industry for over 15 years tracking groundwater contamination, remediating hazardous materials spills, and preparing environmental permits. She also was the owner and principal engineer of an environmental consulting business. In 2010, she joined the staff of UNC Charlotte's College of Engineering to teach and advise freshman engineering students. In 2011, she took on the role of Director of the Engineering Freshman Learning Community and in 2022, Ms. Harkins began instructing Senior Design. She is the Chair of the Senior Design Committee and mentors several Senior Design Teams.
Outside of the College of Engineering, Ms. Harkins takes an active role in the community. She is a member of the Union County Consolidated Health Board and volunteers at Union County Schools. She is a wife and mother of three children.