Edinboro Alumni Issue: Amanda Karns

Friday, October 13th, 2017 at 9:01 PM

When Amanda Karns graduated from Edinboro University in 2006, she never thought she’d teach abroad for four years before returning to the United States to start her own business.

“If you can give back while doing something you love; I think that’s super powerful,” she said.

She’d live by this while teaching in China and Mexico and after moving back to the United States to start her own business.

Karns graduated with a bachelor’s in applied media arts and a minor in graphic design, plus a certification in art education. During her time at Edinboro, she was a Highlands Ambassador, honors student and was also voted “outstanding senior” in her major.

During her field work for her art education minor, Karns found herself in inner-city Philadelphia. And when time for Karns to take the step into student teaching, she asked to be placed in the Erie City School District.

Shortly after graduation, Karns met a teacher from China, who came to Edinboro to receive his master’s. He put Karns in touch with a school in Zibo, China — one of Erie’s sister cities.

She and her (then) fiancé, Shelby, both received jobs and were off to China. The couple lived there from 2006 to 2008. She taught English to Chinese students, playing a significant role with being able to teach in her native tongue so the students could get used to hearing English spoken.

During the summer of 2007, Karns and her fiancé flew home to get married before returning back to China for the new school year.

Soon she and her husband were off for another adventure. This time, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Karns applied online to The American School of Puerto Vallarta. After one phone interview, the job was hers. Her husband also got a job with their school in computer and data programing.

The school was an elite, dual accredited, private school for children ages 3-18. The school’s waiting list started at birth; it was attended mostly by the children of diplomats.

She taught art for all ages in the school. Just like in China, teaching in her native tongue helped students learn to listen and speak more fluently for whatever they might encounter in their future. Karns lived in Mexico from 2008-2010.

Upon her returning to the United States, Karns created the company, Dorado Creative. The company works with local businesses around the Erie area. She explains her company is a “one-man show” but has sub-contractors she brings on to help with social media and web design.

“I provide marketing solutions for small businesses and non-profits,” Karns stated. “These are mom and pop businesses and small non-profits who often fall through the cracks because they can’t afford an agency.”

Again, Karns was able to help out while doing something she loved.

Four years ago, her work brought her to Harborcreek Youth Services (HYS), a behavioral health provider for Pennsylvania families and youth.

“Amanda has dramatically helped improve our agency image and brand. She has developed many positive marketing materials for residential, foster care and family therapy, has made numerous contacts on behalf of the agency, produced our best Annual Reports, was involved in many agency committees, including Sanctuary, coordinated our Friends Dinner atmosphere, and several other events,” said John Petulla, CEO of HYS.

Karns was originally contracted by a six-month grant to help build a social media and web presence. Four years later, she is still around helping and working part-time in the marketing and development department of HYS, along with being the social media coordinator.

“She has assisted with numerous events and initiatives to promote our organization in general. She has really been instrumental in developing our social media, website and new promotional information, such as brochures,” said James Williams, compliance officer at HYS.

Over the past 11 years since graduating from Edinboro University, Karns has a pretty extensive resume and a heart for giving back to those around her.

Brookelynn Williams is the social media editor for The Spectator. 

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