Karen began her ballet training in Marin County, California, at the Marin Ballet and with Christine Walton. She studied ballet, jazz, and modern dance at the University of California, Irvine, where she performed soloist roles in faculty and student recitals. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in art history and minor in French, she moved to New York City to pursue a career as a professional ballet dancer. She studied with teachers including Kim Abel, Wilhelm Burmann, and Alexander Filipov before a chronic injury led her to change course. She holds a master’s degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and is currently Communications Director for the Pinhead Institute.