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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Health Sciences Award Recipients

Service Award

Karen Fischer BoosKARENE FISCHER BOOS, PT '95
Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Karene has worked for 20 years not only as a physical therapist in a number of settings, but she has also served the people of Tanzania through multiple mission projects.

She finds fulfillment as a physical therapist exercising her Catholic values by treating those in her care with dignity and respect.

“This is my approach with all my patients, no matter the setting or the diagnosis because it facilitates healing,” she says. “I’m able to not only help them feel better and improve their function, but I especially enjoy my role as educator during our PT sessions —teaching how the body works and how to improve various aspects of their health. It is a very rewarding profession.”

For the past 20 years, Karene and her husband, Dr. Eric Boos, Grad ’96, have also dedicated their life to service projects in Tanzania, East Africa. Their efforts have helped develop and support a Catholic college, a primary school, a metal fabrication shop for manufacturing equipment for children with disabilities, a physical therapy clinic, women’s and artisan’s co-ops, Catholic radio stations, and an orphanage.

Karene recently formed the nonprofit organization ZeruZeru Inc. to help people in Tanzania who live with albinism.

“They’re discriminated against and hunted, abducted and mutilated for their body parts to be used in witchcraft ceremonies,” she says. “We’re trying to build a safe-haven campus to accommodate as many as 200 children.”

The organization supports Sister Helena Ntambulwa, who cares for 35 children living with albinism in the rural village of Lamadi, Tanzania.

Karene writes grants to fund the organization and gives educational presentations to bring increased awareness to the issue. She and her family also own an organic farm in Elkhart Lake, Wis., that dedicates all its proceeds to support the mission work.

“I define success by whether some other person is better off for my having acted,” she says. “I try to put others first in a spirit of compassion and understanding, and I try to be honest and responsible in all matters.”

Fun Facts

Hometown: Jefferson, Wis.

Favorite quote: “When my husband and I had our first date at Angelo’s Pizza on Marquette’s campus in 1992, deep into a philosophical discussion we were having about the meaning of life, he said to me, ‘The only thing that matters between now and the day you die is what you have done to help others.’ This has been the basis of our marriage and the raising of our children.”

Dream dinner guest: “Mother Teresa.”

Marquette faculty who had an impact: “Dr. Dennis Sobush in the PT Department had a large impact on me because he was supportive of my interest in aquatic physical therapy given my background in swimming and as a lifeguard at the Helfaer Recreation Center. As a PT student, he asked me to help Rev. John P. Raynor, S.J., (former Marquette president) with pool therapy. My time conversing with Father Raynor during our sessions deepened my interest in the Catholic faith and commitment to Gospel values.”

Favorite Marquette memory: “Generally, I enjoyed my time at Marquette because of the closeness of the students in the physical therapy program. We were all experiencing the same tough classes and wanted each other to succeed, so this meant a lot of late-night studying together in the Union, library or labs. Specifically, one of my favorite memories was our end-of-year celebration when students dressed up and acted out skits to imitate the professors and their various quirks. The professors took it all in stride, and it was a great chance to interact with them as ‘real’ people.”

Marquette legacy: “All of my siblings attended Marquette: James Fischer, Kendel (Fischer) Nass and Jeffrey Fischer. My sister-in-law Christine (Ruble) Fischer also attended Marquette for physical therapy — she is the one who informed me about the practice of PT and the program at Marquette. It seemed right for me because I have always been into athletics and PT seemed a great way to have a positive effect on people’s lives and their health.”

Most influential person: “My husband, Eric, has been the most influential person in my life. Eric has a knowledge and understanding of the world and people that is extraordinary. This deep understanding is based in his background of philosophy, theology, logic and his natural instincts. I trust him in all matters. From our first date to now, he inspires me to be a better person. We were married shortly after I graduated from PT school, and we left four days after that for our first trip to Tanzania. Our time in Tanzania as a newly married couple solidified our marriage. During the past 20 years, we have created a life together and raised our children with a strong foundation in our faith. We could not accomplish all we do without supporting and challenging each other to do better, to always consider others and to live the Gospel values.”