By Christopher Salinas
Karen Marcotte is a professor of History and Humanities at Palo Alto College, and she has always had a passion for teaching.
She was born in Lake Charles, La., and while she loved teaching, she also enjoyed libraries and ended up taking library science classes as an undergraduate at Peabody College in Nashville, Tenn, to see if she would enjoy being a librarian instead. She loved the class on censorship, and was even able to work at the Vanderbilt University Medical Library. However, she was not very fond of her cataloging class.
“That is the most boring thing (class) on the planet,” said Marcotte.
She disliked it so much that she decided to switch her major, and she graduated from Peabody College with a master’s in History.
Her official career began in 1975 as an adjunct professor at San Antonio College, where she worked for 10 years. In 1985, she applied to Palo Alto when it first opened, and she has worked here ever since, making her a founding faculty member. Marcotte also taught at UTSA as an adjunct professor, and she taught Interdisciplinary Studies for 14 years at Palo Alto before the classes were discontinued.
Currently, the classes she teaches are Introduction to Humanities, and World Cultures and Global Issues, both of which she developed.
Marcotte loves to travel, as well. She has been to five continents and has seen Antarctica, which has been her favorite so far. Australia is the last continent she would love to visit. Outside of the U.S., her main visits have been to Europe and South America, and she has also led some Study Abroad programs.
After 26 years of teaching at Palo Alto, Marcotte is considering retiring this December or May. However, she would like to continue teaching as an adjunct professor at Palo Alto and possibly UTSA.
“I may look at teaching at UTSA again. I know they want me to teach over there,” said Marcotte. “…I’m still working with UTSA, but just not officially in the classroom.”