Karol Walchak

Karol Walchak
City Hall
208 North First Avenue
Alpena, MI 49707
Phone: 989.354.1700
Fax: 989.354.1709

Karol 2022 - Copy

Karol Walchak

Personal History

I was born and raised in Alpena, Michigan and left in 1978 to live in Marquette and attend Northern Michigan University.  I then moved to California and Nevada to complete my graduate work.  I moved back to Alpena in 2000. I am proud to say that all my family came from the area.  My mother, Patricia, was a McCoy who lived in Black River, and my father’s parents, the Walczaks (an early spelling) and Kirchoffs lived in Presque Isle before moving to Alpena.  I am a mom to Alexander, who is a Staff Sergeant living in Freeland, MI.  He has three amazing children who call me Nana.  I also have a daughter, Jacqueline, who now lives in East Lansing and is starting graduate work at State. 

Education & Early Community Involvement

I graduated from Alpena High School in 1976 and moved on to ACC.  I completed my junior year at Northern and then transferred to the California State system where I received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English. I have a certificate in Junior College Education and TESOL.  I then moved on to the University of Nevada, Reno where I received my doctorate in English, where I focused on English Literature and communication. 

Work Experience

My first job ever was at the Dairy Queen on Chisolm Street, which I took very seriously because I started with a good work ethic.  From that point, and to put myself through school, I worked in the restaurant industry and was employed as a food server and bartender.  Hard work but great flexible hours.  My second serious work experience happened when I started taking courses toward a Master’s Degree at California State University, Sacramento.  Because Sacramento had a high number of students attending college, there was a lack of instructors at the higher education level.  I applied and was hired as a teaching assistant for Freshman Composition.  Not only did I learn early how to teach, but I was also awarded a stipend and tuition as part of my job. Also, when I moved to Reno to work on my Ph.D., I was given the same opportunity. I was the Vice President of our Student Government and was able to travel and meet people such as Donald Johanson, the paleontologist who discovered Lucy, who was, at that time, the oldest hominin skeleton ever found.  I was so fortunate.  At the same time, I worked as a card dealer at the El Dorado Casino.   Now, that was a change for a girl from Michigan.  After getting my doctorate, I was hired by the University of Nevada, Reno and worked there for ten years in the English Department. 

Community Involvement  

Currently, I am involved with the Human Sex Trafficking Force.  As well, I have taken part in working with the Council for Humanities in Alpena group and the Miss Sunrise Side group.  I work as the moderator for Knowledge Bowl.  Way back in 1978, I was chosen as Miss Alpena.  Additionally, I have acted in a number of plays at Civic Theatre over the years and directed plays for the ACC Players.   


I enjoy bike riding, swimming, genealogical research, reading, and foreign languages.  Since 2006, I have taken groups of students to Europe to assist with development of cultural awareness and language practice.  When asked, I like to present for different groups on a variety of topics, whether it’s a commencement speech or on first language acquisition.  These are opportunities to share my passions with others. 

Committee Board Appointments  

I am just getting started as a member of City Council and looking forward to my Board of Review and downtown Historical Development work.  I very much want to see our old buildings marked as historical landmarks. And I would like to see what ways we can improve our North Side.  I look forward to getting started.  I would like to work on the Recycling Board if an opening occurs. This too is an area I am passionate about.   

I am thrilled to be a part of this Council, and I appreciate being able to work for our wonderful city.