Leslie the Einstein’s Lady: Who is she behind the counter?


Jessica Schneider, Campus Life Editor

The south side of the Murphy Center is home to Einstein Bros. Bagels, a popular study and hangout spot for Viterbo students and faculty. Behind the counter is the woman who runs it all, Leslie Fowler. Fowler is beloved by students across campus for her commitment to connection. “Leslie truly cares for each student and makes an effort to know you personally,” says Bailey Millimaki, Viterbo sophomore. Fowler herself has a rich history that has shaped her into the caring person she is today. 

Fowler started with Viterbo’s Einstein’s in December of 2017 after working at University of Wisconsin La Crosse (UWL) as a lunch lady for five years. While at UWL, she discovered her ability to raise students’ spirits through her work. Fowler remembers a time when her manager recounted a glowing student review of her service. The manager said, “You’re the best worker that we have. You’re always friendly, you’re upbeat, and they would enjoy it a lot more if there were more of you.”  

The care that Fowler has for students is rooted in the practices of her late mother, a woman who spent her career as a high school English teacher. “My mom was an inspiration to people,” Fowler explains. “Everyone called her ‘mom’ and the kids who would skip everyone else’s class would come to her class. She was told so many times, ‘You know, if you hadn’t been there for me, I wouldn’t have graduated.’”  

While Fowler isn’t a teacher, she keeps this level of dedication to the well-being of young adults at the forefront of her mind. She started her time at UWL thinking, “If I just change one person’s life, or make one person happy—that would be great.” She says she quickly found that people enjoyed her attitude more than the usual robotic customer service voice that they encountered everywhere else. “People want to be treated like a person, you know? And I have so much fun doing it.” Fowler adds, “Ninety-five percent of the reason I love my job is [the students].”  

Students can definitely feel the love from behind the counter. As Spencer Curtis, Viterbo sophomore, explains, “Leslie knows me by name and is always happy to greet me, and I know that she has that relationship with lots of other students. It’s nice that she remembers us and that she cares about how we’re doing.” Even on days where she’s working 14-hour shifts, Fowler’s warmth shines through and brightens students’ mood. 

That being said, Fowler admits that life at Viterbo would be a lot more difficult without the help of her Einstein’s team, who she’s “very grateful” for. “I have some people that work very hard, and without them I wouldn’t be able to interact the way that I do.” Fowler also appreciates students’ grace with her and her team during rushes. “Thank you everyone, for being so patient when there’s long lines, and when we mess up and we accidentally make you wait forever for your drink or for your food.” She feels grateful that students have reciprocated her love in this way. 

Fowler explains that she loves the energy of Viterbo’s Einstein’s, saying, “I love it when you’re in here and you all are talking. It’s nice and loud and noisy and busy—and that’s my favorite thing. Just coming in, you know, making me smile so I can make you all smile, because that is the highlight of my day.” Of course, the atmosphere is only as strong as the person making it behind the counter. Viterbo students have expressed how lucky they feel to have Leslie Fowler behind the counter.