Born and raised in San Diego, by an undocumented single mother, Karen is the middle child between two sisters. Growing up, Karen developed a strong relationship with her family, especially her sisters that has developed into a strong connection today. At the age of 17, Karen left home to study at SF State. She initially was going to study Natural Resource Management and Environmental Studies, but later committed to Latino/Latina Studies.
Karen has 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector and has worked with Jumpstart, Making Waves, and Gear Up. Karen learned about Mission Graduates through a job posting while job hunting and remembers it “being very detailed.” She started as a High School College Connect Coordinator, helping students in the College Connect Program, but now is the College Success Manager, providing emotional support and resources to help college students succeed in college.
Karen says her favorite thing about Mission Graduates is the family. She feels she has support from the students and staff when it comes to non-work related topics. But when it comes to the Mission District, Karen loves the diverse food options. She says “ a lot of people connect over simple things like food.” For fun Karen likes to send care packages filled with letters and food for people she’s thinking about. She has a work space in her home specifically for her hobby, so stay on her good side. Lastly, when asked what she wants to succeed in the future, Karen said “to live everyday in a positive way.” She is truly inspiring.