UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Karen Smolarek

Karen Smolarek Staff Photo

Karen Smolarek

Director

Start Year: 2016

Student Support Services
Office: 105 Davee Library
Phone: 715-425-3531

Email: karen.smolarek@uwrf.edu

Karen is from Menomonie, WI. She graduated from UWRF with an Elementary Education degree. She knew from a young age that she wanted to teach and help people, especially young people. She taught 6th grade English for 8 years in Berlin, WI. In 2008 she and her family moved back to Menomonie when her husband began working at UW-Stout. She substitute taught for a year where she 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. She loved this program and in 2009 applied to and began working with Talent Search as an academic advisor to students in grades 6-10. She 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, she 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 she applied for and was hired to lead the SSS program here at UWRF! Besides leading the SSS program, Karen likes to read, garden at home in her flower and vegetable gardens, spend time with family and friends, and stay at the cabin in northern Wisconsin.