Karen Bucher, LFCC alumna, director of enrollment management at LFCC
"What I love about Lord Fairfax Community College is that it offers open access education for all," said Karen Bucher, a Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) alumna and the director of enrollment management at LFCC.
Bucher graduated from LFCC in 1991 with an associate degree in education and human services. She continued her education at Shenandoah University (SU) in Winchester, where she graduated in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
She lives in Stephens City with her husband and two children and enjoys spending time and traveling with them.
Bucher described herself as a "hometown girl" and said she decided to enroll at LFCC in part because she wanted to stay in the area. She has never regretted her choice.
"My experience at LFCC prepared me well for my transfer to Shenandoah," Bucher said.
While studying at SU, Bucher had a work-study position with the office of financial aid. Two months before her graduation, she accepted a full-time position in the office as student loan coordinator. She worked at SU for nearly 12 years.
In 2004, Bucher accepted a position at LFCC as coordinator of financial aid programs and has been here ever since.
"I'm very happy to be back here," she said.
In December, she was promoted to her current position as director of enrollment management, which she described as an "exciting venture."
"When I heard the position was available, I jumped at the chance," Bucher said. "It has kept me involved with financial aid, which I love, and I also get to focus on other areas."
As director of enrollment management, Bucher's responsibilities include overseeing the College's Financial Aid Office, the Admissions and Records Office and the Testing Center. She also is responsible for the implementation of an enrollment management plan, which focuses on increased recruitment and retention.
She has been able to network with colleagues from community colleges across the country, which she said has been helpful as she transitions into her new position.
"They have taken me under their wing and don't seem to mind sharing their trade secrets," Bucher said. "It's been a great experience meeting people across the country, and it has closed the gap on my knowledge."
Bucher is currently working on her doctorate in community college leadership through Old Dominion University. She is finishing her course work in April and hopes to complete her degree in two years.
Bucher recently began teaching a college success skills class, which she says has been a great experience. She taught sections last summer and fall and will teach again this summer.
"My goal is to be well-rounded in higher education, and teaching is completely beneficial, because it closes another loop for me," she said. "I can relate to some of the experiences that the faculty have, and I also get to relate to the students and get to know them on more than just an administrative level."
Bucher said she loves what she does and is proud of what LFCC offers to students.
"Anyone can come to college here, whether they want to get a degree or take a class to brush up on their computer skills," Bucher said. "I think everyone should consider us - we have something here for everyone."