The pictures show Karen reading to children in the village of Taiama in Sierra Leone, where her daughter was stationed as a Peace Corps volunteer.
Tell us about your career.
I was a non-traditional student. After receiving an AA degree in 1976 I backpacked through Europe, went on to Greece, joined a Christian Community there which eventually sent me to Jordan where I married my husband and began raising the first six of our nine children. In 1998 we moved to Hilton Head (from Wisconsin) and in 2000 I began working at Hilton Head High in the library as an assistant. As I observed my boss there I thought “I can do this.” In 2001 I began working on my undergrad at USCB while still also working full time at the HHH library. I received a BA in English from USCB in 2006.
USC offers a Master of Library and Information Science through Distance Education. I enrolled and then finished that degree in 2009. During those years I worked under four different media specialists. The media specialist who was my boss my last year of grad school decided to go back to school to become a lawyer. The media specialist position opened up and my principal hired me. I feel like Hilton Head High is my home away from home.
What do you like about your job?
I love that my job connects me with very interesting and diverse people. Media specialist is a customer service job. I support students and staff any way I can. I love sharing information with others. Writing papers for school was a challenge for me - - - but once I found the resources that gave me ideas and substance for school papers it was doable. I love sharing with students where they can go to get great credible information for their school papers. I also love purchasing books that students may need for their research and for their pleasure reading.
How has something you learned in English at USCB helped you in your career?
A) I could not have graduated if Drs. Tombe and Eby had not privately given me a synopsis of their classes. Because I worked during the day (and had to) I could not attend day time class. Some of the required English classes were only held during the day. They tutored me (gratis). I will forever be indebted to them.
B) The English teachers at USCB made me feel that my writing mattered . . . that they were interested in my thoughts. I share with students at HHH that when they write they are authors in hope of inspiring pride in their pieces whether three pages or ten.
English degrees can be used in all career choices. You will read literature that has had an impact on society. Communication skills will be strengthened by pursuing an English degree. Other advice for any degree -- show up, if you are going to miss class or be late email the professor –- tutoring is free at USCB for English and Math. Take advantage of it. Have a tutor look over your paper before you submit it.