- College Connections Stories
Get to know Karen Bahr
Karen Bahr has the sweet personality of someone who puts others first. She is a kind, caring person who thrives on being a mother and daughter. Though being a mother and daughter is her first and favorite job, Karen has worked in a variety of places. The University of Dayton has always been one of her preferred homes away from home. Karen worked for the Department of Biology for ten years before family and circumstance drew her away from the workforce. She reluctantly left with a heavy heart, making the best decision for the situation, but she always knew that one day she would come back to the UD family. The year away from work brought her closer to her family and friends. Karen’s long-standing friendship with her mother Shirl deepened and grew over their year spent together.
After a year dedicated solely to family care, Karen returned to the workforce. Fate sometimes dabbles in our lives and has a way of making us appreciate things. Karen certainly felt that fate was making her miss the UD environment and people. She ultimately found work at Wright Patterson Air Force Base working in the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. "I was so blessed to find work during those challenging years with the economy the way it was, but I was never one for the military mindset," Karen told me of her time spent on base. "I worked with good people but it just wasn’t the University. UD is so different with its friendliness and excitement. Unfortunately, working on base never offered the same inspiration as a being on the college campus did," she tells me with a bright smile. So after a few months, Karen began to look for a place that made her feel the way UD had. It took her two years of searching to realize that she really just wanted to come home to UD.
When Karen began applying at UD again she was so excited to have a chance to return to a place that made her exceedingly happy. After being called to interview for the senior administrative assistant position for the Criminal Justice Studies Program Karen was simply over the moon. "I couldn't believe how happy I was to come back! It felt so right to be at UD," she tells me. Karen has returned with gusto and loves every minute. Ultimately, she has been inspired by the hard working students to complete her degree in Criminal Justice with minors in English and Sociology, which was previously halted at junior status. "I plan to work hard even if it takes me a while, I will be a proud Flyer Alumni!" Karen has a new found sympathy and appreciation for the students as she sees both sides of the desk these days. "Classes are hard, but so fun and I love being a student again."
Outside of the office and classroom, Karen still finds her family to be the center of her existence. She is very close with her mother and they live together. Her mother is a wonderful cook and Karen completes this talent with a skill for baking. The two of them also love to eat out and enjoy finding new exciting restaurants in town. Her mother Shirl helped her raise her now grown son, Justin. He is a graduate of UD and so is his wife Lindsey. Like any loving mother she can’t wait till they give her a grand baby. Until that day comes, she is content to love her grand puppies, Riley and Josie. Karen loves to spend time with her own puppy Madison Jane, called Maddie, who is intent on being best friends with their cat Sophie Elizabeth. Meanwhile Sophie is not so in love with the puppy, but curious none the less. Karen loves to read and play word games, such as crosswords or word searches. She enjoys crime shows like CSI, Castle, and Bones. Some of her favorite movies are classic Westerns and Doris Day/Rock Hudson films like Pillow Talk. One of her guiltiest pleasures is getting her nails manicured. The exceedingly kind Karen tells me that if she could go anywhere and do anything she would take her mother on her dream vacation to Hawaii. She also has a dream of traveling to all 50 states someday.
Because of her caring mother-bear personality, Karen is often pleased to be the mother figure that students turn to for help. "I want students to know that someone is always there for them to turn to," she tells says, with compassion in her voice. Karen can be stern when it is needed but in truth is a quiet, introverted person who enjoys relaxing and recharging with some well-earned alone time. Being organized, detail-oriented, dependable, loyal and helpful make Karen ideal for her position with the Criminal Justice Studies Program.
The life advice she would share with any student who feels lost is simply, "Be who you are, try your hardest, do your best, but most of all do what you love, because your happiness depends on it. Money is not life, your happiness is." Karen is finally home again at the University of Dayton and we are happy to have her back in the family.