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Getting to know Karen Johnston

Internal business specialist

Karen Johnston leans against a short, black metal fence near the OSU Corvallis campus intramural fields. She wears a black, orange and white Oregon State vest.

By Heather Doherty  
October 18, 2016

Oregon State University Extended Campus Internal Business Coordinator Karen Johnston came to Oregon State in 2012. Prior to OSU, she held various positions in Albany, Oregon, including serving as an operations manager at North Shore Tanning, a supported education assistant and classified substitute for Greater Albany Public Schools and an administrative assistant at Standard Insurance Company. Karen earned a B.S. in Business Administration – Management from California State University, Chico.


How long have you worked at Oregon State?

“Four years, five months.”

What excited you about the opportunity to work for OSU Ecampus?

After filling in as a temp, I got to know the staff and the work we do here at Ecampus. I was excited for the opportunity to stay and become a permanent member of the administrative team.”

Describe what you do in your role.

“I am part of the administrative team that supports all of our units. I process invoices, purchase for our units, book travel and process travel reimbursements. I reconcile our four purchasing cards and relocate staff we hire from out of state.”

What do you like most about your job as the internal business specialist?

Karen Johnston's headshot. She wears a black long-sleeved shirt and red scarf.

What does Karen Johnston like most about her job? “The part where I get to interact with the staff and others from across campus. I enjoy helping others – I think that is why I like the travel piece of my job so much.”

“The part where I get to interact with the staff and others from across campus. I enjoy helping others – I think that is why I like the travel piece of my job so much.”

What do you wish others knew about your job?

“How much I love it. I support a staff of 93 (and counting) for travel and purchasing. So far this year, I have already booked 263 trips for our staff. So you know what that means? Yes, 263 reimbursements for the most part. It takes a lot of attention to detail and planning ahead. Therefore, the more time our staff can give me upfront helps me a lot.

Also, when I say, ‘No’ – that is not me talking. There are policies and procedures that I have to follow.”

What made you decide to get into this field?

“It’s a form of customer service, as well as satisfying my love for numbers.”

What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment in this position?

“I am proud of coming up with new ways to save the department money.”

What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?

“I swam in college for California State University, Chico. I am a breaststroker!”

What are your favorite activities outside of work?

“Spending time with my husband and three grown daughters, doing fun stuff with our friends, CrossFit, walking my boxer, camping and traveling to warm places.”

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