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Staff Spotlight: Karissa Chabot-Purchase

June 24, 2022 - Beth Brauer and Jesús Hernandez

Name: Karissa Chabot-Purchase (she/her/hers)


Hometown: Brighton, MI

Where did you go to college and what did you study?

I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy (PTCD) here at JMC!  I then pursued a Master’s degree in Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy from MSU’s College of Arts and Letters.

What do you like most about your role in James Madison?

Sharing the many ways that Madisonians are using their public affairs degrees with current students is very rewarding. I never cease to be amazed at the diverse array of professional paths our graduates take! Supporting students as they learn about the versatility of a Madison education and explore how they’d like to have impact in their communities is such meaningful work. 

How did you choose a career in higher education?

I sometimes felt lost as a college student but didn’t often engage the resources available to me in my search for direction. Working in higher education offers me the chance not only to assist students as they navigate a challenging time in their lives but also normalize asking for help — things I needed as a college student! Sometimes this means offering career advice, introducing a resource or connecting students with professionals, but other times it’s simply being available to listen and offer empathy. Either way, I get to have a direct, positive impact on students’ lives through my role.

If you did not work with students, what would you be doing?

I’d probably work in the government/political sphere in some capacity (for an elected official, or maybe for a state or federal agency).  

What do you like to do outside of work that may surprise others?

This may not surprise anyone, but I love organizing. I’ll organize literally anything: a drawer, a cupboard, a closet, an entire room… I find it so peaceful!    

Who has been one of the most influential people in your life?

At the risk of sounding cheesy, I’m inspired by our students. I really admire their commitment to advocating for (and leading!) the change they’d like to see in the world and their grit and perseverance in the face of adversity.