ETS Staff Members

KarenKaren Smolarek, Director

422 Bowman Hall

Education: University of Wisconsin-Stout, M.S. Education, University of Wisconsin- River Falls, B.S. Elementary Education

Karen hails from the Menomonie area. She attended high school at Menomonie and Boyceville high schools. After graduating from UW-River Falls, she moved to Green Lake, WI, where she taught middle school language arts in Berlin, WI. In 2008, her family moved back to the Menomonie area when her husband began working at UW-Stout. In 2009, she began working as an advisor for the ETS program at both the Menomonie Middle School and Menomonie High School in grades 6-10. In 2012, she took over the Director role. The Director plans, establishes, directs, monitors, coordinates and administers total program operations for the Educational Talent Search Program. The Director also assists advisors with outreach activities as needed. Karen enjoys flower and vegetable gardening, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

"For what it's worth: it's never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again." --F. Scott Fitzgerald

DianeDiane Hausler, Advisor

Menomonie High School Library & 400A Bowman Hall (UW-Stout)
715-232-3399  or

Education: University of Wisconsin-Stout, M.S. School Counseling, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, B.S. Music & Psychology

Diane grew up in central Wisconsin and graduated from Colby High School. She attended college at UW-River Falls where she studied music and psychology. She then moved on to UW-Stout to study School Counseling and began working in residence life.  After 6 ½ years of being a Residence Hall Director she began working for Educational Talent Search as an advisor for 11-12 grade students at Menomonie High School.  As an ETS advisor Diane helps students with the college process. She strives to build relationships and encourage students to make their dreams come true! Outside of work Diane loves spending time with her husband and two children. She is a member of the Ludington Guard Band and loves to watch football.

“It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see, and pursuing that vision no matter who tells you not to” --Howard Schultz

HeatherHeather Barke, Advisor

Contact at 715-505-6385 or

Education: University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, B.S. Elementary Education

Originally from the Appleton area, Heather attended high school in Appleton and later, graduated from UW-Oshkosh. After graduating, she moved to Birnamwood where she was a substitute teacher. In 2009, she began working as an advisor for the ETS program in the Wittenberg-Birnamwood School District. She works with students in grades 6-12 on areas like study skills, personal development, life skills, high school planning, and career and college exploration. She also helps students prep for the ACT and apply for college, scholarships and financial aid. Heather enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors, shopping, and watching the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs.

"Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." –Dr. Seuss

RickRick Emerson, Advisor

Contact at  715-232-1250 or

Education: University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, B.A. Social Studies Education

Rick was born and raised in Amery.  He attended UW-Eau Claire and graduated with a degree in Social Studies Education.  He taught social studies to students in grades 7-12 for four years in Truman, MN.  In 2009, he and his family moved back to Wisconsin, and he taught middle school in Boyceville.  Rick joined the staff at ETS in 2012.  As an academic advisor, he works with Menomonie students in grades 6-10. At the middle school level, the focus is on study skills, life skills, career preparation and making the transition to high school. At the high school level, students focus on college and career preparation.  Rick enjoys baseball, keeping up on the news, and spending time with family and friends.

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."  Kurt Vonnegut

 SheriSheri Warren, Office Associate

Contact at 715-232-1253 or

Education:  Masters of Social Work, Indiana University; B.S. Social Work, Indiana University

Sheri lived in Michigan during her formative years. She graduated from HLV High School in rural Iowa. She attended Iowa State University for 2 years before moving to Indiana with her spouse where she finished her Bachelor's in Social Work and then completed her MSW. She was interviewing for jobs when she found out she was pregnant and decided to stay home with their new little one. Sheri and her spouse moved to Menomonie, Wisconsin in 2002, when she was pregnant, to be closer to family. Sheri enjoys biking, traveling, hiking, and spending time with family and friends. The office associate manages day to day office operations and assists with the needs of the advisors.

"The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.Though it cost all you have, get understanding." Proverbs 4:7 NIV


Bonni Falkner, Accountant

Education: University of Wisconsin-Stout, Ed.S. in Career and Technical Education

My position develops and provides technical information that supports program functions. By providing technical information, I can help many people achieve their goals and help the Educational Talent Search Program become more successful than it already is.