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WINTER 2 0 0 5

All in a day's work

  Edited by Blake Rasmussen ’05 and Dawn Goodlove
Photos by David Lienemann ’05

Sara Reynolds

Sara Reynolds feeds the hissing cockroaches in West Science.

Sara Reynolds, feeds/tends the insects, fish, and frogs in West Science
Junior from Aurora, Ill.
Majors: German, archaeology

I have a pretty wild work-study job that’s definitely out of the ordinary. When I worked at Sodexho Dining Services, I thought I was cleaning up after some pretty messy animals, but it’s nothing in comparison to working in animal husbandry.

Last year, when I was looking for something a little more interesting than burger flipping and cup cleaning, I had a class with biology professor Andy McCollum. I loved the class and enjoyed working with him, so I thought working for him might be just as interesting. I really had no idea. The biology department has its own little zoo of all things creepy and crawly, and I’m the zookeeper.

For a few minutes about every day, I come in to feed the African clawed frogs, the platyfish, and the hissing cockroaches, which aren’t nearly as bad as they sound. I also have to make sure the area of the pill bugs and millipedes is damp and moist enough. Playing nanny to some of the least hygienic animals around isn’t always pretty, especially when I clean out the frog tanks or change the water for the biology department’s amphibians. But I really enjoy doing it. Most people tell me they couldn’t imagine themselves working with protists, insects, amphibians, and other “creepy” animals on a daily basis, but for me it’s just another day at the office. I’m just so curious about wildlife, and this gives me an opportunity to work with Professor McCollum and all kinds of incredible wildlife. It may be an odd job, but I wouldn’t trade it for any other.




Darrell Aaron

Admission tour guide Darrell Aaron leads prospective students and their families around campus.

Darrell Aaron, admission tour guide
Senior from Leavenworth, Kan.
Majors: Math, philosophy, Spanish

When I first got to Cornell, I was assigned to work at Sodexho Dining Services. Though I was glad to have a job, I thought there was more I could do for the college. Now, as a full-time tour guide for prospective students, I give back to the school every time I clock in.

Every tour is different. If I have musicians, I take them to as many of the music facilities that I can. Anyone interested in art gets an in-depth tour of McWethy Hall. Athletes see the entire Small Multi-Sport Center.

You also need to gauge what each family needs and wants to hear. I enjoy getting to know these families and helping them feel at home here at Cornell. This can be done by just being yourself and talking about what you do in school and what you do in real life. You tell stories about yourself. If the people feel like they know you, then they open up to you.

The most fun I’ve ever had on a tour was one I gave to about 30 first-graders. They asked funny questions and were all really excited. I raced them from building to building, and I beat them every single time.

I also try to keep in mind that some of the prospective students on the tours will not be coming here, so you can’t feel disappointed when they don’t end up coming or don’t even apply. On the other hand, it is incredibly rewarding when the next year you see someone who was on your tour and they recognize you. It’s times like those that I really enjoy the job, and feel like I’m doing my part to make this school a better place.

Sasha Gorbach

Sasha Gorbach designs pages for the Cornell Web site.

Sasha Gorbach, Webteam
Senior from Vladimir, Russia
Major: Computer science; minor in German

My job makes me quite visible on campus. I help with student organizations’ Web pages, tutorials on Web-related topics, and general PC troubleshooting. I’m there if someone has a problem with Windows or Mac, a hard-drive crash, or a network problem.

One of the things I love about my job is that it’s very flexible and allows me to work on any number of interesting projects at any time. One such project is working with Becky Peterson, director of Intercultural Life, to create a framework for a new international student portal. We hope to collect all the useful information for students and parents in one place, while making navigation as easy as possible for non native speakers. Combining my technical skills with experiences as a student from Russia enables me to propose ideas. Another project I’m proud of is the new [dot] Info site set up to attract prospective students with personalized content. The hope is that it’s going to help make recruiting online even more streamlined.

But it’s not just the challenging projects that keep this job fun. Last summer I made really good friends with my coworkers on the Webteam. We enjoyed a lot of movies and dinners after work. It wasn’t just all computer stuff. Great personal interactions made the job a lot more enjoyable.

The things I do now on the Webteam are pretty close to the work I hope to do after college, namely working in IT with access to all the latest technologies.

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