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Karen Riley

Karen RileyMs. Riley has worked in equal opportunity programs for her entire career.  For the past 21 years, she has worked at Wilkes University in the Act 101 Program first as the Assistant Director and Counselor and now currently as the Director.  Ms. Riley has the privilege to be in this Director role that allows her to get to know the students, their fears about college as well as their talents and strengths.

While serving in the Act 101 Program, she has the opportunity to work with many first-generation college students from low-income families who face financial, social, and academic barriers to a college education.  Ms. Riley can relate to her students’ needs and challenges as she was a college student, who struggled financially and was dependent on financial aid and a part-time job. She brings a unique perspective as an alumni of the Act 101 Program.

In addition to her role as the Director of the Act 101 Program, Ms. Riley also serves as the Academic Coordinator for the College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences and Undergraduate Education.  She also continues to serve as an Undeclared Major’s Advisor and teaches a career planning course and a First Year Foundation course.

Since 2009, Ms. Riley has served twelve years on the Tri-State Board and she has also served five years on the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Organization for Student Success (PA-NOSS).  In 2017, Ms. Riley was awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award.  In 2011, Ms. Riley had the honor of being presented the Academic Support Award from The Teacher Recognition and Effectiveness Committee (TREC) at Wilkes University.  She has also had the opportunity to support students by serving as Secretary of the Act 101 Pennsylvania Association for Educational Opportunity.  She took on this additional commitment because the state was significantly decreasing funding for Pennsylvania student support programs.  In this position, she could be part of a collective voice and work with the Executive Committee to advocate retaining state funding for the support services these students need to achieve their college degrees.  Traveling to Harrisburg and throughout the state to be a strong advocate for the Act 101 Programs and student financial aid has added yet another dimension to the work Ms. Riley does to support students.

Areas of Expertise:  Academic Advising, Career Counseling, Student Counseling, Student Financial Aid, Student Development