Media

Published Works, Interviews/In The Media,

Public Speaking, Teaching & Leadership, Performances 

Published Works

(Writing & Photography)

 

The Los Angeles Times

“The Art Of Idling” by Rachel Sarah Thurston,

photo credit Karen Custer Thurston

April 2006 

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2006-apr-23-tr-croatia23-story.html

 

Atlas Obscura

“The Most Memorable Strangers You’ve Met While Traveling”

Contributor

October 2018

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/incredible-stories-of-strangers-met-traveling

 

ISAMETD (the Indiana Association of Middle Eastern Dancers) monthly newsletters

Editor and Contributor 

1975-1990

http://www.isametd.com

 

The Beautiful Santa Ynez Valley by Rachel Sarah Thurston

book jacket head shot photo credit by Karen Custer Thurston

2008

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Santa-Ynez-Valley/dp/0979900816/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+beautiful+santa+ynez&qid=1593117375&sr=8-1

 

The Arizona Daily Sun

“A Journey To Sheepdog Trials In Colorado”

September 2001

https://azdailysun.com/a-journey-to-sheepdog-trials-in-colorado/article_ae07118c-0315-5049-b4d9-df949a8a96e3.html

Hunting In Arizona Magazine

“Paradise Valley Beagles In Flagstaff” story and photos by Karen Custer Thurston

November 2013

The Wabash Plain Dealer

“Daughter Wins Reserve ‘Best In Show’ For Late Mother”

story and photos 

by Karen Custer Thurston

October 2018

https://www.wabashplaindealer.com/none/daughter-wins-reserve-best-in-show-for-late-mother/article_6e567ae3-7919-544d-a7c5-f46f09683dda.html

 

Covertside Magazine

“Hunting Across The Big Pond” by Karen Custer Thurston

https://www.ecovertside.net/features/feature-articles/hunt-reports/333-hunting-across-the-big-pond

Covertside Magazine

“It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” photo contributor

https://www.ecovertside.net/features/20-foxhunting-feature-stories/1008-photo-gallery-it-s-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year

 

In The Media

Travelers Tales Publication

"Mama Chihuahua: World's Fiercest Travel Partner"

humor travel story about Karen Custer Thurston

written by Rachel Sarah Thurston.

What Color Is Your Jockstrap? Funny Men And Women Write From The Road

May 2006

https://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Your-Jockstrap-Travelers/dp/1932361340/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=what+color+is+your+jockstrap%3F&qid=1596649649&sr=8-1

Arizona Daily Sun

“Porters In Nepal Need Winter Clothing” 

July 2003

https://azdailysun.com/porters-in-nepal-need-winter-clothing-donations/article_2cff8bc7-9973-5413-81ef-d88f21b7e5e5.html​

Arizona Daily Sun

“Community Thanks” contributor

https://azdailysun.com/community-thanks-11-30-03/article_b2d027fe-7c4c-5827-bfa5-71df5eeba635.html

Arizona Daily Sun

“Bollywood Movies Catch Fire”

February 2007

https://azdailysun.com/lifestyles/bollywood-movies-catch-fire/article_acee2a31-07b4-5e57-b702-7340ffa9e237.html

 

Arizona Daily Sun

“Flagstaff’s 21st Labor Day Art In The Park Offers Easy Interaction With Artists”

August 2013

https://azdailysun.com/lifestyles/flagstaffs-21st-labor-day-art-in-the-park-offers-easy-interaction-with-artists/article_862c5be0-0c5c-11e3-b632-0019bb2963f4.html

 

Flagstaff 365

“Downtown Friday Nights: Al Rakasaat And Steve Elowson”

https://www.flagstaff365.com/event/dfn-performance/

 

Arizona Daily Sun

“Modern Version Of ‘Nutcracker’ Brings Authentic Flair”

December 2016

https://azdailysun.com/entertainment/arts-and-theatre/modern-version-of-nutcracker-brings-authentic-flair/article_365c7e06-476c-5cae-ae7f-2b87f86e49eb.html

 

 

Public Speaking/Presenting

“Around The World With The Thurston Girls” co-presenter with Rachel Sarah Thurston at the historic

Santa Barbara Woman’s Club 

January 2019

http://rsthurston.blogspot.com/2019/01/around-world-with-thurston-girls-presentation.html

 

“Around The World In 13 Years With The Thurston Girls” National Webinar Interview by Ingrid Sarrat with Karen Custer Thurston and Rachel Sarah Thurston

2013

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e8ACbfJBt0

 

Presentation of travel writing piece “Haunting Eyes” about Nepali adventures at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona for the English Graduate Organization “Peaks” program

2016

 

“Hunting and Horseback Riding On The Colorado Plateau” multimedia presentation for The Northern Hunt Club in Tasmania, Australia

2011

 

Annual Co-Host, Speaker/Emcee/Master of Ceremonies, Event Organizer for the INDY International Dance Festival, Indianapolis.  Served as emcee/announcer, organized dance groups from around the world on multiple stages, Master Of Ceremonies for performers for 5 day global festival.

1979-1988

https://www.facebook.com/INDYInternationalFestival/

http://www.nationalitiescouncil.org/?fbclid=IwAR1CRvgrXxRYz14VYJjCpACmOtyljo2__sUN_sXJqkwmn6GAS9F6pt5QlX8

 

Led Public Presentations and Hikes for the

National Park Service at:

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument in Flagstaff, AZ

https://www.nps.gov/sucr/index.htm

Guadalupe Mountains National Park on the border of Texas and New Mexico 

https://www.nps.gov/gumo/index.htm

1996-1998

*Serving as both an SCA (Student Conservation Association) intern and then as full-time National Park Service Ranger, Karen gave daily talks to park visitors on the geography, volcanology, wildlife, and Native American culture of Northern Arizona.

Teaching

& Leadership

 

47 years of professional teaching in 12 categories of Fitness/Wellness and Dance Classes

Avon Schools (Avon, IN), 

Private Dance and Fitness Studio in (Zionsville, IN), 

ISAMEDT Haflias (IN)

Olney Community College (Olney, IL)

 Coconino Community College (Flagstaff, AZ)

Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ)

1964-2017

 

Owner, Manager, and Instructor at The Studio (Zionsville, IN)

Led and taught classes for the local community, managed a staff of fitness, weight training, wellness, and dance teachers

1983-1993

 

Fitness Instructor/Consultant for the International YWCA ENCORE program for breast cancer survivors and served on the Board of Directors.  

1975-1981

https://indymca.org

Faculty/Professor at Northern Arizona University 

For Fitness (cardio and strength building), Middle Eastern, and Bollywood Dance Classes

2008-2012

https://degrees.nau.edu

 

Faculty/Professor at Coconino Community College 

For Fitness (cardio and strength building), Middle Eastern, and Bollywood Dance Classes

2003-2017

https://www.coconino.edu

 

Co-Founder, President, Founding Member of ISAMETD (Indiana State Association of Middle Eastern Teachers and Dancers)

1975-1990

http://www.isametd.com

 

Visiting Guest Artist In Indiana with Roxanna Santoro

Teaching Middle Eastern Dance choreography and percussion 

Indianapolis, IN

1997-2004

 

Performances:

Middle Eastern, Bollywood, and Drumming

47 years of performance as a Middle Eastern/Turkish Egyptian Dancer and Choreographer at top venues 

in the Midwest and Southwestern United States

Indianapolis International Dance Festival, ISAMEDT Haflias, 4th Street Art Festival, 

Public School System (IN),

Middle Eastern and Greek Restaurants,

Art In The Park Summer Festival (Flagstaff, AZ),

Northern Arizona University Theatre, 

Wheeler Park, Peaks Senior Living Facility (AZ),

Flagstaff Downtown Business Association Heritage Square, and Private Events. 

 

Founder, Director, and Lead Choreographer for 

Al Rakasaat Middle Eastern Dance Troupe

Based in Flagstaff, Arizona

1997-2017

Performed at Flagstaff’s top venues: 

Theatre, NAU, Heritage Park, Wheeler Park

 

Co-Founder and Performer for ISAMEDT ( Indiana Association Of Middle Eastern Dancers)

1975-1990

 

Performer at the Indianapolis International Festival

1978-1987

Education And Certifications:

IDEA Health and Fitness Association

Member since 1985 

Masters of Science in Physical Education/Education

Graduated from Butler University

Indianapolis, Indiana

1973

Bachelor of Arts (Physical Education Major/English Minor) 

Graduated from Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

1968

 

Contact Me:

karen@thewomanonfire.com

Photo Credits:

Rachel Sarah Thurston: Pic #2, #6, #8-#11

Heather Swan, Liberty Shots: Pic #1

National Park Service photographer Pic #7

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Karen Custer Thurston, The Woman On Fire, is a world traveler, writer, motivational speaker, fitness trainer, belly dancer, equestrian and trauma survivor who inspires women and men to live with joy and passion.

Karen and daughter Rachel Sarah Thurston codirect the travel project

“Around The World With The Thurston Girls” following their mother-daughter adventures.