Phone: (815) 753-6534
Music Building Room 310
Karla Vílchez Neal was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. For nine years she attended the arts conservatory Conservatorio de Castella where she grew love, respect, and appreciation for the visual and performing arts. After attending Interlochen Arts Camp, she received the opportunity to pursue a degree in horn performance at Western Illinois University (WIU). As a musician, Karla has performed with numerous ensembles including Banda Nacional de San Jose in Costa Rica, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica, Orchestre Philharmonique Rhodanien in Tournon, France; Knox Galesburg Symphony Orchestra, and the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra. She was featured on the NPR program From the Top, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, and served as a Music Department Adjunct Faculty at Knox College. She studied horn with Ricardo Perez, Luis Murillo, Douglas Campbell, Randall Faust, and Bruce Heim.
After becoming a Community Advisor at WIU, Karla developed a passion for helping students succeed. She decided to pursue a career in Adult Education once she finished her master’s degree. In 2007, Karla came to Northern Illinois University and joined the Student Involvement and Leadership Development (SILD) team with whom she worked for 4 years as Assistant Director. At NIU, Karla has coordinated numerous large and small scale programs including the Lead NIU Summit, the Kevin D. Knight Leadership Awards Ceremony, Friday Fest, the Leadership Academy’s Workshop Series, and De Mujer a Mujer (the Latina Assistance Program). She has served as the advisor for the Campus Activities Board (CAB), Sigma Lambda Gamma, the Leadership Academy, and the Leadership Advisory Board. She has taught UNIV 101 and served as the teaching assistant for LTIC 501, Multicultural Education: Methods and Materials.
Karla joined the Office of Student Academic Success (OSAS), in November of 2011, as the Student Success Specialist for the College of Visual and Performing Arts. She holds a B.A. (cum laude) in Music Performance from Western Illinois University, a M.M. in Performance from the University of Louisville, Kentucky; and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University.