Name: Karen Pierce
Position: Area Manager of Residence Life
Phrase That Best Describes GTL: “Broadening one’s horizons”
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Food: Italian
Interests/Hobbies: Salsa dancing and amateur photography
Posted by Julie
Welcome to Georgia Tech-Lorraine!
Once you step off of the bus, who is the first person you’ll meet? More than likely Karen Pierce.
As her official title “Area Manager of Residence Life” conveys, she is the main point of contact about housing, but what you may or may not know is that she represents the main point of all contact between students and staff here at GTL. She does so much at which her title doesn’t even begin to hint: Karen is the main source of information for resources, non-academic support and because of this fields any questions – from who to talk to about scheduling to travel to laundry – to help ease a student’s time in a new place. She might as well have a theme song like in Ghostbusters, because she’s who you’re gonna call!
It’s her favorite thing about her job, too: she builds bridges over the cultural differences for students, and helps them when in need. She’s even there for mental and emotional support – on call 24/7 to help us. This, according to Karen, is the most fulfilling part of her job. She connects with people and helps them through even the toughest times.
And so, when I asked her what she would say to students if she could, I knew that she would have a good idea as to what might help. Her recommendations? Two things: one, remember, there are no elevators in the residences, so lugging those three suitcases up might be a chore. Two, the culture of France is different: the United States is convenience-oriented, while France is family-oriented, which then affects convenience. This cultural difference is something to be aware of, so it’s better to mind the gap!
She isn’t just a person behind a desk, though; she has interests just like you and me. Karen’s favorite color is blue. She loves salsa dancing, and continues to dance here in Metz, and has taken up amateur photography as well. If you need recommendations for Italian restaurants, she’s got you covered; it’s her favorite style of food, and there are apparently an abundance in Metz!
Georgia Tech-Lorraine is a fantastic experience, and Karen agrees. Her phrase of choice to describe the experience of studying here was “broadening your horizons,” as the program is unique, with an incredibly large concentration of American students and lease to travel, experience, and explore – and she’s here through it all. It’s great to know, though, that through all of our hiccups and ups and downs, she is someone we can rely on for answers and support.
So this here is a huge thank you to Ms. Karen Pierce from past, present, and future GTL students – all of whose lives you’ve made easier!