Focused on students

Karen Jenkins Rubican '94

What makes your heart happy? It’s a question that Karen Jenkins Rubican ’94 helps students answer as a school counselor at Canon- McMillan High School, in Canonsburg, Pa.

“A school counselor is the person in the building who gets to focus on the whole student,” she says. “Teachers have content areas, nurses have medical issues. But we look at the student as a whole person, focusing on personal, academic and career development.”

For excellence in her profession, Rubican, of Venetia, Pa., was named Secondary School Counselor of the Year by the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association in 2018. Also last year, she was selected as a finalist for the Women in School Leadership Award through AASA, the School Superintendents Association.

Canon-McMillan superintendent Michael Daniels ’91 nominated Rubican for the AASA award, which recognizes a counselor’s outstanding talent, creativity and vision.

“Career development is critical,” she says. “I knew when I was 5 years old that I wanted to help people. And we ask children at a young age what they want to be when they grow up. We need to have those conversations, as well as opportunities to advance their development in this area.

“Making sure students are prepared for what they want in the future — that’s what really drives me.”

As a counselor, she also looks after a student’s personal well-being.

“High school is a slice of life – what’s out in the real world is in here, too, and sometimes it’s challenging,” Rubican says. “We want students to discover where they fit, because everyone fits. We want them to be well adjusted.”

At Cal U, Rubican was a member of the University Honors Program and Theta Phi Alpha sorority, where she continues to be involved as vice president of collegians for the national chapter. In that role, she is responsible for all chapter administration teams.

She and her husband, Rick Rubican, met at the University.

Always career-focused, she adds, with a smile: “I like telling our kids (Meredith and Sarah) that we met in the library.”

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