By Caitlin McHugh
If you have ever visited the Canisius College library, chances are you know who Matthew Kochan is. Whether you are seeking assistance with research or technological difficulties, or are just in need of a warm smile or genuine “hello” on a stressful day, Kochan is here to help.
Kochan, a Buffalo native, has been a staff member at Canisius for six years. He started working here in June of 2010 and currently holds the position of public service supervisor.
It was during his college years that he decided this was what he wanted to do. He developed his passion while working at a library, where he discovered a research group that he enjoyed participating in. “It was kind of like library work,” he said, “so then I went to school to become a librarian.”
His job at Canisius entails a combination of tasks, most of which he described as “a lot of just helping people.” Kochan helps students with research, connecting to the wireless internet, printing, any issues with technology, and occasionally gives tours.
Kochan shared that his favorite part about his job is being able to see students grow and succeed both during and after their time at Canisius. “I do what I do to see the students succeed,” he stated. “I wasn’t the best student, so when I can help someone in their process it makes me feel good seeing all of their success.”
Like many jobs, there are days that things don’t run as smoothly as planned. He feels that the most challenging part of his job is when things don’t run as well as they should, and students are having a hard time accessing the technology they need. Despite the occasional technical difficulties, though, Kochan feels that there isn’t much that he finds difficult about his job.
Another factor that plays a large role in his love for his job is all of the people that he works with. “I work with wonderful people,” Kochan said when describing what keeps him enthused. “It’s the people that I work with and the students that make me really love this place.”
Many of the students that have had the opportunity to work with him reciprocate the same joy and passion that Kochan gives them. Caleigh Heim, a sophomore at Canisius College, expressed her appreciation for everything Kochan has done for her.
“When he sees that I am stressed, he comes and sits and talks to me and tells me to breathe and take a break,” she commented. “Every time I see him, he asks me how I’m doing, and no matter what I go to see him for, he’s always so very excited to see me and to help me with whatever I may have.”
In addition to always being there to help others, Kochan is constantly doing anything he can to leave a positive impact on those around him. “I just try to make it a happier place if I could,” he said, “by just smiling and asking people how they’re doing and just saying hello to people.”
Kochan finds it important that students feel that they can come to him when they need something. “I would hope that people would think they could come to me if they have an issue with something so they have an ear to listen to them,” he said.
It’s not unusual for students to take Kochan up on this offer. “I feel like I can talk to him about anything,” Heim said.
When he is not working, Kochan enjoys spending quality time with his family and three cats. He shared that he loves baseball, and he spends a large amount of his free time reading and researching the game.
Kochan has a true passion for what he does, and he shows it in his smile every day. With his helpful enthusiasm, he has become a familiar and appreciated presence in the library. “If you love what you’re doing, it’s not going to seem like work,” he said. “I don’t find it like work at all and I love coming here.”