Former secretary takes ‘step up’

Adam Junker

New Department of Plant Science Program Assistant Tracia Hogue is one of the most sociable, helpful people a student or faculty member will ever meet.

“I was and am very social, I’ve always been social,” said Hogue. “I definitely enjoy being around people.”

In her hometown of White, S.D., Hogue has been an active member in the White Community Club, which raises money to put back into the community.

“I don’t really participate in it anymore,” said Hogue. “But I am still working as the secretary treasurer. So, I’m not done yet.”

Question: What is your history with SDSU?

Answer: Back in 2001, I applied for a secretarial position in engineering technology and management. That’s where I started. And I stayed there for 10 years. And now, I just recently moved into this position in the Department of Plant Science over a month ago.

Q: How did you move from electrical engineering to plant science?

A: It was a job opening. You could say it was just a step up for me. So, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to move to plant science.

Q: What are your everyday tasks as a plant science program assistant?

A: Well, I am just starting out, you know, I’m learning things everyday. I do the PARs [Personnel Action Requests], which is for a faculty member who changes his or her title, if he or she changes her wage, anything like that is included in the PARs. And then, I also do fund exchanges, which are basically moving funds around and paying people, stuff like that. I keep track of all the personnel files. We have about 160 to 170 people in the department. It’s a task and a half. (Laughs) So, I am you know, like I said, new to this. It’s a whole new thing, quite different from what I did in the engineering building. Over there, I dealt mostly with students. So instead of keeping track with faculty and grad students and employees, I was keeping track of students. This would help me keep watch of their credits and, you know, things like that. So, as far as the change, now I’m taking care of people’s salaries versus taking care of a student’s grade-point average and credits. So it’s kind of along the same lines, but a little different. And it’s, of course, important because we want people to get paid.

Q: What made you pick SDSU as a place to work, and were you looking at any other colleges to work for?

A: No. Because I have lived here for so long, this is where I grew up, and I left and came back for a short time to raise my kids in White. So, no, I really wasn’t looking at any other colleges to work in. But I kind of was looking at the long-term retirement plan and things like that. And when I first started working here, I didn’t know for sure if I’d get to work with students, but I like to work with students. Well, I like to work with people, period. It doesn’t matter if it’s students or faculty. I just like to be around people. So, I had worked at a job in a warehouse here in Brookings. And that hurt my back. So, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do any sort of physical work anymore. So then, I thought I would look here and eventually landed the job. Then, a couple years after I worked here, there was an opportunity for me to take classes. So – and I wasn’t looking back at getting my degree – I was just looking at some classes that might further my knowledge in my job. And so, I looked at some computer classes. I like to work with computers and do all that kind of stuff. So, I had one class. And then, I just decided, well, you know, this is kind of nice. So, then, I took another class. Eventually, the instructors in my department where I worked had encouraged me to go back to school, and so I did. And so I graduated in May 2010 and earned a degree in electronics engineering and technology. And so, I would have never done that, had I not come to SDSU to work.

Q: What do you think about when reflecting back on that experience?

A: I look at that as really sort of a good thing. Now, I’m working on my degree in counseling. On the other side of the spectrum, you know. (Laughs) So, I went from engineering to counseling, and so I just like the diversity in that. But like I said, I like to work with people.