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Karen Reyes
Director, Student Resource & Support Network
(831) 477-3503
SAC West 110

Biography

Many of us travel winding roads to get here; I’m no different. I grew up in San Luis Obispo, California (a small town in those days) and even smaller Lake Nacimiento, where each summer my family went off grid for several months - you gain some interesting skill sets living without electricity and running water. My roots were in agriculture but now my tree now has many branches.

I started at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as an Animal Science major, but left to pursue other interests in Washington State. After coming back to California, I married and had a family. Later, as a single parent, I decided to head back to college at age 37. I began working at Cuesta College and completed my AA degree; I transferred back to Cal Poly as a Social Science major (I really enjoy sociology and anthropology). After graduation with my Bachelor of Science degree I took a break while my kids finished high school (I actually said I would never go to school again).

When my youngest son graduated (I have 3 boys) I entered a master’s program in Women’s Spirituality (an integrated program of depth psychology, religion and feminist studies), traveling to San Francisco every other weekend and including a study abroad program in India. This journey was a pivotal step in reclaiming my story and focusing my career path as well as my artistic pursuits. After graduating with my MA, I began teaching classes, still at Cuesta College, and working with students living in deep poverty. I created a successful employment center on the Cuesta's North County Campus in collaboration with college, county, and community programs.

In 2013 I accepted my position at Cabrillo College as the Fast Track to Work program director, and in 2014 as the Director of the Student Resource & Support Network, which includes the CalWORKs, EOPS/CARE, WIOA and Hunger free Campus programs. One of my passion projects at Cabrillo has been to establish the Cabrillo Fresh Markets, which launched in 2018.

Of course, I’m not always at work. In addition, I play piano, create art, write, and travel to new places in small airplanes, my partner Bob, is an aviator and experimental aircraft builder. I have visited India, Spain, Cuba, Germany, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and much of the United States. My most interesting hobby is Pyrotechnics – yes, I build fireworks! You might find me paddling a kayak at Pine Mountain Lake, where I spend most of my time enjoying nature or working in my studio, and where I help with the annual pyrotechnic show each Fourth of July.