Karen Trujillo Burnett is an Idaho native, born in Pocatello. She attended the University of Chicago on a scholarship, graduating with a baccalaureate degree in English. After returning to Idaho with her husband Don, she raised a family and earned a baccalaureate degree in music from Idaho State University plus a masters degree in English from Boise State University. While in Pocatello and Boise, Karen taught private violin lessons and performed as a violinist with the Idaho State Civic Symphony and Boise Civic Symphony.
Karen and Don lived in Louisville, Kentucky, from 1990 to 2002, when they moved to Moscow. In 2009, Karen earned a Master of Fine Arts (Creative Writing) degree from the University of Idaho. She is an author and photographer. Her current service to the University of Idaho includes functions related to the Office of the President, as well as membership on the advisory board of Operation Education (a scholarship program for veterans at the University of Idaho).