Karen Vander Pol


Karen (Sikma ’75) Vander Pol joined Northwestern’s staff in 1988 as the secretary in the Career Development Center. She has been the athletic department assistant since 1997.

Raider Rooter

You are originally from a small town in Illinois. What brought you to Iowa?

Northwestern College. At the time, several people from my home church had attended Northwestern and told me good things about the college. I really didn’t look into other colleges, and I believe God was directing me to be a student in the secretarial program. 

What three words would you use to describe Northwestern?

Christ-centered, friendly and challenging.

What do you appreciate about the campus community? 

The opportunities that are available for students to participate in service projects and study abroad, and the friendships I have made with co-workers and students.

What was your dream job growing up?

My mom started her career as a secretary. I enjoyed going to her office from time to time, which made me want to be a secretary. I might have thought about being a nurse at one time, but not for long.

What do you admire most about NWC athletes?

They are very respectful. It’s not just on Northwestern’s campus. From comments we receive, we know they also represent Northwestern very well when they travel.

What about the coaches?

They genuinely care and invest a lot of time into their athletes. Our coaches are not just concerned with how students do athletically, but how they mature into men and women and grow in their faith.

What are your favorite sports teams?

I really enjoy watching the Red Raiders, Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs.

What professional athletes do you admire and why?

Tim Tebow is my current favorite, because he’s so open about his faith. I also like to follow Michael Oehr because I loved the movie The Blind Side, and Kyle Korver of the Chicago Bulls because he’s a Reformed Church and Iowa boy and a nephew of Kris Korver ’92 [Northwestern’s men’s basketball coach].

What is your favorite Northwestern memory?

If I had to pick just one I’d say the women’s and men’s basketball teams both winning their national tournaments in 2001.

What’s been one of the most exciting Raider moments you’ve witnessed?

When Jon Kramer put up a last-second three-point shot to beat Dordt last year. That was so awesome! 

Who inspires you?

I work with a lot of inspiring people, but I really love it when Coach Larry Korver stops by and shares some words of wisdom with me.