University Communications

The Newsletter for Marshall University        January 11, 2012

Profile: Karen Fischer

Her iPhone has more memory and functions than the first computer she worked on during her undergraduate days as a Marshall computer technology major.

Karen Fischer can laugh now about the cumbersome and sluggish machines she once considered state-of-the-art technology. “I worked on my first computer in 1984 and they were completely different. My phone can do so much more than they could then, but I thought they were wonderful,” she can recall now with fond nostalgia.

Currently a payroll representative, Fischer was born and brought up in Huntington, so going to Marshall was a given. After graduating in 1989 she spent 20 years working in a family business before heading back to her alma mater—this time for good—she says firmly—and her position in the payroll department.

There aren’t many down times in payroll, she admits, and her meticulous attention to detail and finely honed organizational skills have stood her in good stead. “I am very detail oriented, and I double- and triple-check things to make sure they’re accurate. I don’t hesitate to ask questions or try to find out something that I don’t know. Sometimes I think I’ve turned into a detective, I’m so detailed,” she says mischievously “We’re a big employer; we have strict deadlines and people expect and of course should get complete accuracy. We’re here in this office to help people and to answer any questions they may have and to get them help if they need it. One thing that is important, if people see a change on their slips that they don’t understand, [they should] contact us and we’ll explain it.”

Actually Fischer started her academic career as an accounting major, but some perceptive faculty members soon urged her to switch majors. Faculty members have earned high praise from her for their dedication to their students. “When I first began work here, one of my professors, who is still here, came by to see me. I’d been gone for many years, but she remembered me and just wanted to stop by and welcome me back to Marshall. I was really impressed by that.”

Her two children still at home—which is a mere ten minutes from campus—she says happily, keep the family busy with their assorted activities. Daughter Karianne is a cheerleader and member of the cross country and track teams at Huntington High School and seven-year-old Ben is an avid baseball player, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his big brother Jacob, an accomplished player who was offered the opportunity to play for Bethany College. Along with her husband Jack, Karen regularly travels to take in their various meets and games. They’re particularly proud that Jacob’s travel team, the Huntington Patriots, won the World Series in their division, a trip that took them to Florida. Baseball is a big part of their lives, so the family regularly schedules outings to Cincinnati to take in Reds games.

Fitness also is important to the Fischers, so they bowl in a league, ”I’m a decent bowler,” she says modestly. In fact, she often manages to best her husband and older son. Fischer sees the new Rec Center as a great addition to Marshall. “We’re lucky to have it.” she believes. Inn fact Ben recently had a birthday party with his friends there.

She’s an optimist who believes in trying to find the upside of things, and approaches her work and people with patient good humor. “There’s no sense in bringing yourself down,” she says. And she has high praise for not only the staff she works with directly but also for staff and faculty she comes in contact with throughout the university. “The staff here really is a joy to work with, I’ve found them to be very cooperative. If I call an office and need information I’ve found people go out of their way to help me. I’m very thankful to be back at Marshall where I started so many years ago. I spent 20 years away and now I say I hope to be here for the next 20 years. I think I’ll just try to outlast everybody!”

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