Karen Vahey

Dean, Admissions and Financial Aid
Enrollment Management
Old Westbury
Joined NYIT
Karen Vahey

Why did you join NYIT?

A number of reasons. I was looking for an institution committed to providing access to all students. As a first-generation college student, I was overwhelmed by the college search process and the cost of a college degree. As a result, throughout my career I've tried my best to help others like me navigate the admission and financial aid process. In addition, when I met the senior staff here, I could see NYIT is a place that has strong leadership and a vision for the future.

What are your responsibilities as dean?

I oversee admissions and financial aid for all undergraduate and graduate students at our New York, Abu Dhabi, and Vancouver campuses.

How did you become interested in this career path?

As an undergraduate at Fordham University, I volunteered as a student ambassador in the admissions office. When the opportunity to become an admissions counselor came up shortly after graduation, I jumped on it. I had no idea it would lead to a lifelong calling.

Where did you grow up and go to college?

I grew up in the Five Towns on Long Island, N.Y., and currently live in Bellmore, N.Y., with my husband, Kevin (B.S. '96). I received my bachelor's and master's degrees from Fordham University and a doctor of education (Ed.D.) from the University of Pennsylvania.

What is your proudest career moment?

As director of admissions at St. John's University, I worked with New York City's Department of Homeless Services to create an associate's degree program for formerly homeless individuals or those currently living in shelters. I truly felt I was carrying out St. John's Vincentian mission.

How do you spend your free time?

If I have a few minutes during the work day, I head out of Gerry House and walk by the fountain near the medical school, past the athletic fields and through the student activities center. Our Long Island campus is gorgeous and it is helpful to see what the students we admit are up to when they're not in class. And walking around the New York City campus—from Central Park to the Time Warner Center—is even more exciting.

Outside of the office, you'll find me adding to my wine cellar.