After graduating summa cum laude from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts in 2000, with a B.S. in biology and chemistry-geology, Karen Hurley went on to get her M.S in marine science from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2002. In 2017, she published her autobiography, Pedaling out of the Dark, chronicling her lifelong experience with bipolar disorder as well as a 3,400-mile bicycle ride across the United States.

In her free time, Karen enjoys biking, reading, watching movies, and maintaining her fish tank. She currently works at Harvard University and lives in Whitman, Massachusetts with her dog, Tucumcari.