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Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology Blog

Karen Welch

Friday, March 01, 2024

Each month the BMB Department features a department member's unique story.

This month, Haley sat down with BMB Executive Assistant to the Chair, Karen Welch. Read on to learn more about Karen's life and the unique perspectives he brings to UMass Chan.

Where did you grow up?  

I was born and raised in Worcester!  I lived here until 1992 when my husband I built a house in Rutland, MA.


What led you to a career in academic administration?  

Well, I knew I wanted to do administrative work, but really didn’t know what or where.  When I was in college at Harvard on the Hill (aka Quinsigamond Community College), in 1985, the assistant to the chair of Biochemistry called the Director of the secretarial department at the college asking for assistance in finding a part-time staff person.  The Director came to me to see if I was interested.  I jumped on it, thinking this would be a great way to get in the door of UMass.  Little did I know that my part-time appointment would turn full-time 8 months later…. Fast forward 38 years and I’m still here!!!  


Why did you choose to come to UMass Chan? Why did you choose to stay here?  

Biochemistry has been a second home to me.  I started here when I was 19.  I was a baby!  I was younger than ALL of the students (now I’m older than some of the faculty!!), so I kind of grew up here.  I think the reason I stayed here is because of the warm environment.  It has always been a great place to work, and with the BEST people.  Some of my closest friends to this day I met here.  And I’ve always loved my job and all it entails.  (Ok, maybe not ALL it entails…😉)


How would you spend your time if you never had to work again in your life?  

I’m getting closer and closer to retirement.  It’s always been our (mine and my husband’s) plan to spend winters in Florida after retirement.  So fingers crossed we’re able to do that.  If I never had to work again, I would spend my days at the beach.  Sitting in my chair reading or walking looking for sand dollars (not easy to find!).  Hampton Beach, NH has always been my happy place.  I don’t think I’d necessarily want to live there full-time, but I would spend as much time there as I could.  


If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?  

Central Mass of course!  Except that I HATE the winter!!!


What is your favorite kitchen utensil?  

Hmmmm.  This is a tough one.  I’m a “gadget girl.”  I have a ton of Pampered Chef items.  I think my favorite tool is my Mix and Scrape.  It’s a large rubber spatula great for mixing and, you guessed it, scraping!  😊