Passing it On
Karen Lynch ’87 extols and supports the virtues of a Rensselaer education, both for herself and now two sons.
Karen Lynch ’87 with sons Andrew Lynch ’15 and Matthew Lynch ’17
Growing up in suburban Boston with a structural engineer as a father, Karen Lynch ’87 was exposed early to the world of engineering, and excelled in math and science. When the time came to choose a college, Karen toured MIT, WPI, and Cornell, among others, but never found a true fit. That was when a visit to Rensselaer came along – and Karen felt an immediate connection. “I applied early decision, was accepted, and never looked back,” she affirmed.
Shortly after her acceptance, a letter from the coach of the women’s basketball team followed. Karen joined the team as a walk on, and utilized basketball as a physical outlet to balance the academic rigors associated with the civil engineering curriculum at RPI. To this day, the team is still her strongest connection.
After graduating in 1987, Karen worked for a short time with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Thereafter, in 1988, she was recommended by a former RPI professor for a position with Geiger Engineers, a small structural engineering firm then located in New York City, now in Rockland County, New York. At this time, Karen also began giving to the Annual Fund, supporting the building of the Samuel F. Heffner Jr. ’56 Alumni House and the women’s basketball team.
Twenty-four years later, Karen is a partner in the firm that helped launch her career, and works with an exceptional team of engineers, four of whom are RPI graduates. “I met our most recent RPI hire at a women’s basketball game, and after reading in the program that she intended to be a structural engineer, I sought her out and set up an interview,” Karen said, “she joined us after graduating in May 2012.”
Today, Karen is proud to have one of her sons enrolled as a sophomore at RPI, and her younger son will join him in fall 2013. Her older son is currently pursuing a B.S. in Computer and Systems Engineering, while her younger son decided as a sophomore in high school that he would follow in his family’s footsteps as a structural engineer. He applied early decision, just like his mother, and recently declared, “I can’t imagine going anywhere else.”
In addition to being a parent and a partner in a dynamic engineering firm, Karen has consistently found time to give back as an Annual Fund volunteer. She has participated in countless phonathons, including leading a team of callers from Westchester County to raise the most amount of money for the Annual Fund – a distinction which, in part, earned her the prestigious RAA Alumni Key Award in 2005. Karen currently raises money for the Annual Fund as a Patroon Society Volunteer.
With two sons about to be enrolled at Rensselaer, Karen’s propensity to give has only increased. “I remember attending accepted students day in the Boston area and being welcomed into the RPI family. That is how my boys feel, and that is why I will continue to give to support the Institute that has given so much to me.”
For more information please visit Parent Giving at Rensselaer.