Karen Guerin, 56
Retail Supervisor, Jazzman’s and Sub Connections
After vacationing in Billings for several years, Karen Guerin and her husband decided they loved the area so much the pair sold their home in Erie, Pennsylvania, quit their jobs and moved West.
That risky move was 15 years ago and one neither regrets.
For the past nine years Guerin has been a familiar and comforting face on the Montana State University Billings campus, where on the second floor of the Liberal Arts building she is found bustling around the café.
She makes a mean latte, the way the caffeinated beverage is supposed to be served, with steamed milk floating atop rich espresso.
Probably more important to students is her continual and supportive presence.
“Some students even call me ‘Mom,’” she said.
It’s easy to see why. Guerin, her chestnut hair piled into a relaxed bun, is always smiling and when students are stressed and feeling down, a ready ear.
“I hear a lot,” Guerin said. “I don’t get involved but I’m here to listen. You can always tell, especially around midterms and finals, when students are stressed and sometimes they just need to vent a little.”
She enjoys getting to know the students who arrive as unsure freshmen and leave four or five years later, degree under their belt, or the non-traditional students coming back as adults determined to finish what they perhaps started years ago.
“The students are my top dog (they) make my day and keep me going,” she said.
Hopefully, Guerin will be around MSUB for quite a bit longer.
“I’ll keep working as long as they have me, or until I retire, hopefully 10 years. But who knows? Maybe I’ll just keep coming in,” Guerin said.