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After living in Connecticut 15 years, Karen Swope and her husband, Michael, moved to Missouri to be closer to family near St. Louis. Karen joined S&T’s international affairs office in a support staff role in 2005. In 2010, she transferred to the engineering management and systems engineering (EMSE) department, where she currently works as an office support staff member.
“The students are my favorite part,” she says. “And I love the staff in our department. We have a great team and we have a lot of fun together.”
Karen provides support for approximately 35 Ph.D. students in the department who are pursuing their doctoral degrees in engineering management or systems engineering. She helps ensure students meet deadlines and completes financial duties for the department. Karen also serves as a backup for the Fort Leonard Wood Program support staff member, Michelle Emerson.
Outside of work, Karen enjoys sailing. The Swopes race at the Lake of the Ozarks. They have a Laser, which is a 16-foot-long sailboat. She is also a skipper (or leader) for a local Girl Scout Mariners group. The mariners are a special interest group of the Girl Scouts. Their activities include sailing, canoeing, swimming and tying knots.
Hometown: Eureka, Missouri
Family: Husband, Michael Swope, a chemist at Brewer Science
Pets: Six cats, three indoors and three outdoors
Favorite foods: Shrimp and peppermint ice cream
Hobbies: Sailing, skiing, water skiing, flying and photography
People are surprised to learn: Karen prefers to drive a vehicle with a stick shift. Her car, a 2014 Mazda 6, is stick shift. She learned to drive in a vehicle with a 3-on-the-tree.
Advice to other employees: “Have a smile. Find something positive. Remember who we’re doing this for – it’s for the students.”
Favorite S&T memories: Attending student events, such as Diwali celebrations, and wearing Halloween costumes each year with her EMSE team. Their past costume themes have included puns, circus, cowboys and sock hop.
Missouri S&T’s Staff Council launched the staff spotlight feature in February 2019 as a way to highlight staff members throughout the university. Legends Bank, Au Bon Pain and the S&T Store are sponsors. The articles are published in eConnection and shared on Staff Council’s Facebook page.
Would you like to recommend a staff member for eConnection’s staff spotlight feature? Would you like to be in the spotlight? Let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the name of the person you would like to see featured (it can be yourself). If you’d like to tell us about yourself, fill out a staff spotlight questionnaire.