Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award

Christine Hoch, Financial Aid Counselor

Kaleb Hart '11 photo.
Kaleb Hart ’11 photo.

It takes a special kind of person to succeed in customer service. A person who possesses excellent communication skills, a talent for problem solving, and an unfailingly positive attitude. Christine Hoch has these qualities and is an invaluable member of PSU’s Financial Aid Team.

A native of Garwood, NJ, Hoch attended Rutgers University, where she majored in marketing and met her future husband Brendon. After graduation, she embarked on a career in customer service. “If someone has a problem, I like to help find a resolution,” she says. “That’s what inspires me.”

Hoch honed her skills working in retail, and later for a small crystal manufacturer. She put her career on hold in 2004 when Brendon was hired at PSU as a meteorology technical manager in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and Chemistry. As the couple settled into life in New Hampshire, Hoch struggled to find work in her field. When a temporary administrative assistant position became available in Brendon’s department, Hoch applied for it and was hired; she ultimately stayed in the position for four years. While she enjoyed working with faculty and students in the department, she wanted to do more. “I really wanted to get back into customer service,” she says.

In 2009, she applied for a financial aid counselor position on PSU’s Financial Aid team. “What attracted me to the position,” Hoch says, “was that I would be able to help students and their families figure out what they need for financial aid and explain how it all works. My purpose would be to help.” Her title is a fitting one, she says. “We truly counsel students and families on the best financial aid options for them.”

Helping students find a way to afford college isn’t just Hoch’s full-time job. She also helps raise money for student scholarships through her volunteerism with the Operating Staff Scholarship Committee, a group of PSU staff members who fundraise for student scholarships. The group awarded six scholarships totaling $4,500 in 2014, thanks in large part to its popular Festival of Trees event that is held each holiday season. Hoch also serves on the Professional Development Committee, which provides supplemental financial support for employees seeking professional growth opportunities. Off campus, she serves on the planning committee for the NH Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and is actively involved with her church.

While Hoch is both proud and grateful to have her work and service recognized with an award, she doesn’t see anything exceptional about what she does. “I don’t feel like I’m doing anything special,” she says. “It’s just me, doing my job and helping as many students and families as I can.”

Barbra Alan

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