Ben Karst loves helping people meet their goals and supporting his community. After graduating from Ohio University Chillicothe in 2015 with a degree in middle childhood education, he embarked on his career as a math teacher at Unioto High School. Now he puts his math and teaching skills to work as a financial advisor with Edward Jones Financial. From middle childhood education to providing financial advising, Karst has charted a unique career path marked by a passion for education and a commitment to community involvement.
Karst graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Ohio University’s Patton College of Education in December and entered the job market at a time of year when few full-time teaching jobs are available. He planned to serve as a substitute teacher for the remainder of the year, make connections, and find a more permanent teaching position in the spring when schools are typically hiring. The connections he had made with instructors at OHIO Chillicothe led to an opportunity to step into a mid-year vacancy for a high school math teacher. Despite not being high school certified, Karst seized the chance and demonstrated his commitment to the role. His administration wanted to keep him at Unioto so he completed the necessary coursework and exams required to secure his high school math certification.
Over the next five years, Karst held various teaching roles, starting at Unioto High School and continuing at Buckeye Valley High School and Hilliard School District. He also served as a football coach during some of his tenure as a teacher.
Making a Change
Though Karst enjoyed teaching, he wanted to have a more extended impact on the lives of the people he served, beyond the one or two-year timeframe that teaching middle school or high school allowed. The desire to provide more financial stability for his family also fueled his decision to explore new opportunities.
From Teaching to Finance
Going to work as an Edward Jones Financial Advisor allowed Karst to return to Chillicothe, a community he loves. Transitioning to the financial sector, Karst found a renewed sense of purpose. He values the lasting relationships he builds with clients, guiding them through life’s financial challenges and helping them with financial planning. His passion for numbers, instilled during his teaching career, now translates into helping clients achieve their financial goals ranging from putting their children through college to retiring.
“I love helping people meet goals they never thought possible,” Karst said. “Not only do I get to walk with people throughout the rest of their life, but I might also sometimes get the opportunity to work with multiple generations. That has been one of the biggest blessings in this job.”
Community Engagement and Leadership
Karst is an active member of EPIC (Empowering Young Professionals in Chillicothe) and Rotary, organizations that have allowed him to build connections and engage with community leaders. He said EPIC has provided a platform to connect with other young professionals going through similar career changes, fostering a supportive network for personal and professional growth.
“We are the future leaders of Chillicothe,” Karst said, “I love the opportunities that I have to be involved in the community and support other business owners.”
He also appreciates the wisdom and mentorship of community leaders he has met through Rotary.
Fond Memories of Ohio University Chillicothe
Karst started his college career at another university where he received a partial football scholarship. In his sophomore year, he decided that playing football on the college level was not worth the debt he was accumulating so he transferred to Ohio University Chillicothe for its affordability and proximity to home. Transitioning from another school to Ohio University Chillicothe and making new friends presented some challenges for Karst.
“I had to work hard. I spent countless hours in the library,” Karst said.
As he settled in at OHIO Chillicothe Karst appreciated the faculty and their dedication to student success. Professors like Dr. Dawayne Nicely, Lorna Buskirk, and Karen Corcoran left a lasting impact by providing challenge, support, and genuine care.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the education department,” Karst said, acknowledging the personalized attention and support he received. He credits Ohio University Chillicothe for preparing him for real-world challenges and instilling a sense of responsibility toward his community.
“Ben was a very dedicated and hardworking student,” said OHIO Chillicothe Education Program Assistant Lorna Buskirk. “He was always willing to help peers in any way he could, and it was easy to see that leadership was one of his strongest attributes. Ben was dedicated to being an outstanding teacher and though I’m a little sad he is no longer in the classroom, I know he is an asset to his clients and the Chillicothe community.”
As Karst continues to thrive as a young professional in Chillicothe, he remains dedicated to empowering the Chillicothe community and contributing to its success.