Karen Freberg – Humans of UofL


    I have been at UofL now for five years and was welcomed with open arms. It truly is a great time to be a Louisville Cardinal and be part of the UofL faculty. img_4407_karen-freberg_metalsMy journey began in California many years before 2011 where I grew up with my parents (Roger and Laura) and two sisters (Kristin and Karla). Athletics was a big part of my life and it allowed me to get a full scholarship to Florida and USC to compete in track and field, where I ended my career as a 4x All-American, 2x SEC Champion, USC School Record Holder, and 2004 Olympic Trials Finalist.

    When I retired from track in 2006, this was the point where I started working in PR and began my research in social media and crisis communications. I went to the University of Tennessee for my PhD in Communication, and saw the opportunity at UofL and immediately applied. I started my first semester teaching for the Department of Communication in Fall 2011 teaching the Strategic Communication courses.

    Since I first came to UofL, there have been many highlights for me not only being at the university, but being part of the Louisville community. I have been able to present and travel around the world (China, Australia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden) at various research conferences. I’ve had the chance to partner and work with a lot of great img_4409_karen-freberg_classroomorganizations and brands like Hootsuite and General Motors (thanks to the Plank Center for making me an Educator Fellow) which has allowed me to bring these insights and opportunities back to the classroom. My colleagues – from faculty to staff – in the Department of Communication have been amazing and super supportive.

    img_4416_karen-frebergA major highlight for me being at UofL has been the students. I have been able to meet some truly amazing students who have gone on to doing great things for amazing companies and brands like Adidas (Samantha Hughey), Dallas Mavericks (Lizelle Lauron), Cision (Aaron Martinson), and Amanda Roberson (Nowsourcing) to name a few. Several students who have been in my classes over the years have gotten some impressive internships and professional opportunities in strategic communications and social media like: Sam Gentry (General Motors), Kendall Rabeneck (Yelp), Nicholas Marshall and Tevin Johnson-Campion (Fizziology), Danielle Henson (Kentucky Derby), Quinton Matthews (Rivals), Katelyn Hogan (Kentucky Derby Festival) and Chase Kostellic (Front Office Sports) Maggie Cunningham (Kindred Healthcare) and Aaron Henry (Louisville Metro Parks). Some of the clients we have had a chance to work with for the social media class includes Louisville Bats, Vibrant Nation, Unbridled Eve, and several UofL departments on campus.

    By joining UofL, I had a few years of experience teaching and being a professor. However, it was at UofL where I have found my “professor” voice in the field. I also have been fortunate to be able to establish a social media class (COMM 333) img_4404_karen-freberg_deskfor students to take to learn how to use social media strategically and work with real clients in the community and network with some of the leading professionals in the industry. I am sure I will be remembered by my students for 1) how my office is not a “traditional office” but instead is full of Angry Bird decorations and 2) my love for coffee (It is indeed a major food group).