Karen Smolarek

Karen Smolarek

Karen Smolarek


Start Year: 2016

Student Support Services
Office: 274 Rodli Hall
Phone: 715-425-3713


I am from Menomonie, WI. I graduated from UWRF with an Elementary Education degree. I knew from a young age that I wanted to teach and help people, especially young people. I taught 6th grade English for 8 years in Berlin, WI. In 2008 my family and I moved back to Menomonie when my husband began working at UW-Stout. I substitute taught for a year where I learned about TRIO Talent Search--a pre-college program at UW-Stout, designed to help potential first generation college students with limited financial means to attend the college of their choice. I loved this program and in 2009 applied to and began working with Talent Search as an academic advisor to students in grades 6-10. I helped them with learning about different career paths, the college education or training needed to obtain that career, and how to prepare in high school for college and the world of work. After 4 years as an advisor, I became the program Director. Then after 4 years as the Director, the program lost its funding in a grant competition. Fortunately, the position of Student Support Services Director became available and I applied for and was hired to lead the SSS program here at UWRF! Besides leading the SSS program, I like to read, garden at home in my flower and vegetable gardens, spend time with family and friends, and stay at the cabin in northern Wisconsin.