Searcher Spotlight: Karen Synowiec

Ground-pounding may have multiple meanings for hydrogeologist Karen Synowiec, whose career provides a nice segue into understanding terrain for navigation (one of the skill sets she brings to SAR).

Raised in Maryland, Karen’s interest in geology has taken her around the country. First it was college (Virginia) and graduate work (Wisconsin and Oklahoma). Then it was her jobs with Gulf Oil (Texas), and currently with Chevron where she develops and implements long-term research and technology projects. She has also visited many other countries because of her job, “seen some beautiful places, and met some really great people.”

Karen is now settled in Martinez with husband, best friend, and co-SAR member John Giaconia, and newly adopted blue heiler/Australian cattle dog, Buster Brown. When not working, traveling, or participating in SAR activities, she loves hiking Mount Diablo, reading, running (with Buster Brown) and preserving the fruits and vegetables she grows in her garden.

She joined CoCo SAR in 2009 after hearing a convincing and “inspiring” pitch at REI. She knows firsthand the value of the work search and rescue teams can do, she says, after her own 92-year-old mother went missing some years ago. She saw CoCo SAR as her way to give back and have fun at the same time.

“I really enjoy getting to know team members, and continue to be amazed by the backgrounds and skills of the people on the team,” she says. She is proud to be a part of, “such a large, well-organized, and impressive team and group of people.”

Karen says she loves the challenges, both to remember all she has learned so far and to take on new skills. Though it’s hard to always work around job and family obligations, she says, she hopes she can, “give back as much as I get.”