Karen Edens, barbering instructor at Delta-Montrose Technical College (DMTC), was recently recognized by the Colorado State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education as the 2016 Faculty Member of the Year at DMTC. Edens has been a barber for 30 years and has taught barbering and cosmetology classes at DMTC for five years.
Edens is a native of Grand Junction. After graduating from high school, Edens went to Utah for dental technician training. She spent one year as a dental tech but realized that she was not happy in that profession. "I always wanted to do hair," Edens said. She went back to school to become a cosmetologist, and after six months in that profession she went back to school again to study barbering.
It was in her barbering classes that Edens realized she had found her true passion. After several years working as a barber, she was invited to return to Utah Technical College (now Salt Lake City Community College) to teach in the barbering program. One weekend she came back to Colorado to visit her parents in Grand Junction. Before the weekend was over, Edens had bought a turnkey shop and had made the decision to move back to Grand Junction with her children.
After her return to Colorado, Edens owned her own shop for over 10 years. While owning her own shop, she went to work for Farouk Systems, a manufacturer of high-quality hair products. She was in sales and worked as an educator for Farouk. After leaving that company she was salon manager at JC Penney in Grand Junction for five years and then opened another shop that she still operates.
Edens first became familiar with the cosmetology program at DMTC while she was working for Farouk Systems. She taught product labs for the cosmetology program. Later she became an active member of the cosmetology department advisory committee at DMTC. She was involved in the early stages of developing a barbering program and was excited to be invited to become the barbering instructor five years ago when the program began operations.
Edens still does hair when she is not teaching at DMTC. "Hair is my hobby," she said. When she isn't teaching or doing hair she enjoys spending time with her husband, Kevin, her four children and their spouses, four grandchildren, her mom and her sister.