Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award Spotlight – Paula Kohles


Since Paula received the Rookie of the Year Award (1997), her employer, Creighton University, has stayed the same but many things have changed. At that time, she was an assistant director of financial aid working with the incoming freshmen students. In 2004, she became the associate director working with the graduate and professional students. When Creighton University became a Banner school in 2003, she became the office Banner guru and those are her current primary responsibilities.

She served as NeASFAA president from 2001-02 and was awarded the Minturn Award for Nebraska in 2002. Over the years, she has served on several NeASFAA committees and has been a presenter for the Support Staff Workshop. She also served as a fall trainer for RMASFAA in 2008.

What she finds most rewarding part of being in RMAFSAA is the friendships she has made.

Her advice for other Financial Aid Administrators is to always remember that we are here to serve the students and they always come first. At times, it’s easy to lose sight of what we do and then a former student calls to express their gratitude. That’s what makes this profession so rewarding.

Her community service has a very personal side as her daughter, Megan, was first diagnosed with Rhabdomysarcoma, a rare soft tissue childhood cancer in 2004. Megan underwent a year of treatment and was in remission until January 2010 when she had a recurrence of the disease. Sadly, she lost her battle in October of 2011. Paula has volunteered to help with Omaha’s CureSearch Walk for several years and continues to have a team in Megan’s memory. Her family has also coordinated two blood drives as a way of paying it forward for all of the units of blood Megan received while on treatment.

Her favorite vacation was to Disney World with our family. She enjoys exercising and outdoor activities during the warmer months and also likes to scrapbook.

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