NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Chandler Retires After Three Decades in NIGMS Budget

Karen Chandler
Karen Chandler of NIGMS says so long after a 30-year career at NIH.

Karen Chandler’s first step toward her 30-year career at NIGMS came on her last day of a family vacation. It was 1985, and she was ending a week in Ocean City, Md., with cousins. At one cousin’s prompting, she decided to take the civil service test at NIH before returning home to Toledo, Ohio. But Chandler wasn’t sure how she’d fare. “In my town, having a government job was something you could only dream of.” 

Within a month of the exam, she was seated in the NIGMS Budget Office in her new position as a clerk-typist. After rising to the level of a senior budget analyst in this same office, Chandler recently realized another dream—retirement. 

Chandler says that when she began working at NIGMS, the Budget Office had the institute’s only fax machine and computer. Her early assignments included typing up budget analyses that were given to her on graph paper or as handwritten notes. 

Before retiring, Chandler’s many responsibilities included playing a leading role in budget execution, which at NIGMS entails allocating resources to each funding component. In recognition of her outstanding contributions, she received numerous awards, including NIH Merit Awards in 2004 and 2015. 

NIGMS Budget Officer Tony Moore, who worked with Chandler for the past 17 years, says, “In addition to excelling at her own work, Karen was extremely generous with her time in training other analysts.” 

Chandler says that she especially treasures the relationships she developed with her coworkers. “When I moved here 30 years ago, I left my parents and my high school friends and my office mates became my family,” she says.  

Chandler is already settling into retirement at her log cabin nestled into the woods at the edge of the George Washington National Forest in West Virginia. She looks forward to spending hours gazing out at bears, deer and birds.  

“I’ve had a stellar career that surpassed all my dreams,” she says. “Now it’s time for new dreams.”—Carolyn Beans  

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