KNOM's Karen Trop, in a blue long-sleeve t-shirt and vest, holds a microphone and small audio recorder, smiling at the camera.
Karen Trop in the field, during her second year as a KNOM volunteer.

Karen Trop grew up in Macungie, PA, in a home that proudly featured a topographical map of Alaska on her living room wall: a memento of her mother’s days teaching summer Sunday school in Juneau.

Karen didn’t think consciously about moving to Alaska, however, until she heard about the KNOM volunteer program.

“It was an opportunity that struck me immediately. I was looking for a challenge and the idea of being on-air and producing stories felt equally thrilling and terrifying.”

Karen served as a KNOM volunteer fellow from 2016-2018, and has been recognized by the Alaska Press Club for her work on “Dearest Alaska” and “Caught Doing Something Good.” 

Karen and Gabe, wearing heavy parkas, smile inside a small shack near the start line of the Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race.
Karen Trop and volunteer fellow alumnus Gabe Colombo waiting for on-air reports from race headquarters , near the start line of the Nome-Golovin Snowmachine Race. Photo: Zoe Grueskin, KNOM.

Following her volunteer service, Karen applied her KNOM scholarship funds to professional courses in Library, Archives and Information Management at Simmons University. While based out of Boston, however, she still kept thinking of Alaska: “I quickly found myself applying my coursework to what I had seen and experienced in Nome. Every school assignment became an opportunity to think about cultural heritage and information management within the context of rural Alaska.”

During her time away in Boston, she worked as an arts educator for the non-profit Step Into Art, in the Registration department at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and in special collections public services at Harvard University’s Houghton Library.

In 2020, Karen re-joined KNOM as permanent staff in the role of Program Assistant, and now serves as Program Director. “I’m excited about every aspect of this role, but I am most excited to apply my education and experience to the mission of KNOM. My goal is to ensure that KNOM’s legacy and contributions to Western Alaska are preserved for generations to come.”