Karen Gallardo

Academic Advisor
Headshot of Karen Gallardo


Languages: English and Spanish (fluent in both)

I’m originally from West Covina, California until about 6th grade when we moved here to Reno, Nevada. It was a big culture shock for me and my sister as soon as we started school here. As a first-generation Latina, I experienced the discrepancies in K-12 education and a lack of opportunities presented beyond high school. I was always in the mindset that I wasn’t good enough to go to college.

I wasn’t the best student but deep down I knew that I needed to work extra hard to get to where I wanted to go. I started at TMCC to work on improving my GPA then transferred here to the University of Nevada, Reno. I saw the opportunity to move away from home, which was a much-needed break from my family (tú sabes cómo son los padres), and moved to San Antonio, Texas where I got my Bachelor’s of Art in History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. I knew Texas wasn’t going to be my permanent home so I was excited to come back to Reno after I graduated.

When I got back, I started working in the school district where I found my passion to help students out. I found a great opportunity at Hug High School as the College and Career Facilitator where I would help students plan for college. This felt to me as my calling: I wanted to help students beyond high school to receive the help I wish I had. I went for my Masters in Educational Leadership and became an Academic Advisor for the College of Liberal Arts in November of 2021. If you had told a younger me that I would have a Master’s degree, I wouldn’t have believed you, "pero" here I am. I get to see my former students come to college and be that support system for them as they are trying to navigate higher education. I love working with our First-Gen students by sharing my experiences and uplifting them when they feel as if they don’t belong and motivating them to keep pushing forward.


  • B.A. in History, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Master's in Educational Leadership, Concordia University

Professional certifications

  • Certified Mental Health First Aider
  • UndocuAlly