Meet the instructors

Ken Marich

The ILR is fortunate to have Karen Gray, a geologist, join the faculty of the Institute for Learning in Retirement. She has both practical field experience and academic experience, an ideal combination for teaching with the ILR. Karen was born in Brooklyn and lived in Crestwood, NY until she was married in 1965.

Karen graduated from Roosevelt High School in Yonkers, NY. She earned her B.A. degree in geology at George Mason University (1985) and an M.S. degree in geochemistry and petrology from George Washington University in Washington D.C. (1993). Her master’s thesis was on “Mineralogical and Geochemical Study of Proterozoic Alkaline Granites of the Robertson River Formation” in the Blue Ridge Mts, VA. Karen worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, VA for 24 years doing what she loves best, geological research. During her tenure at the Geological Survey she gained expertise in many analytical techniques using the scanning electron microprobe, X-ray fluorescence, mass spectrometry and the petrographic microscope.

Karen and her husband Larry moved to SaddleBrooke in 1997. Her desire to teach led her to Central Arizona College where she taught geology courses for eight years. Many SaddleBrooke residents took her courses at the college where they learned the basics of geology as well as the geologic history of Arizona.

Karen is an outdoor enthusiast and loves to ski, hike and explore the environment. She is a volunteer at Catalina State Park and conducts geology talks and walks in addition to tutoring mathematics at Coronado Elementary School in Catalina. In the SaddleBrooke Hiking Club she serves as a hiking guide and helps everyone to better appreciate our geological landscape.

Karen will be teaching “Fun with Geology” in the ILR program during the fall term (Sept/Oct 2018) to help us better understand how geologists look at the environment. The class will include lectures and hands-on activities. We welcome Karen Gray as an Instructor in the Institute for Learning in Retirement. For more information about the ILR go to