Karola was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She got her MSc degree in Marine Technology at Delft University of Technology. After graduation she started working as Project Manager at Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN). In 2015 she moved to Shanghai to become MARIN representative in China to serve the shipbuilding industry in Asia and strengthen the cooperation with Shanghai Ship & Shipping Research Institute. In 2018 she returned to the Netherlands and joined the Cruise & Ferry team at MARIN as Senior Project Manager.