Students find enticing summer jobs

There are looks of exasperation on students’ eyes. Looks of pure boredom, fatigue and sweat. Many students spend entire summers wasting away, whether spent watching swimmers, shelving cans, or pollinating corn. “[Pollinating] sucks, it’s sweaty…and it sucks,” said sophomore Jeffrey Yang, who pollinated corn last summer for Monsanto. But a few lucky students don’t sweat. They don’t even care about the money, frankly. Entomology enthusiast It takes more than a keen eye to stop a butterfly from escaping. Against a backdrop of leaves, it can be difficult to spot a tiny pair of wings. Considering the volume of butterflies—giant wood nymphs, atlas moths and tailed jays included—it’s surprising that none have gotten squished under the watch of sophomore Karl Grotheer, who works around 4 hours a week at Reiman Gardens’ Butterfly Wing. He keeps track of the butterflies and greets visitors. “I started with just volunteering there, and I was offered a paid position,” Grotheer said. “It’s not constant work. I can actually relax quite a bit of the time.” Even with double doors and an air chamber, the exotic butterflies can easily hitchhike on a visitor. The work is generally easy, Grotheer said, except on the rare occasion when butterflies manage to escape. Riding on a girl’s leg, a butterfly was able to find its way to Hy-Vee. Grotheer earns only $6.50 per hour, but to an entomology enthusiast, the experience is invaluable. Under butterfly curator Nathan Brockman, Grotheer has done work with zebra longwing butterflies and caterpillars. Lab whiz Sophomore Kavin Kanthasamy works in the lab of his father, a biomedical sciences professor at ISU. “Pretty much what I do is help college students do experiments, and occasionally, I’ll have to wash dishes and stuff,” Kanthasamy said. He started last summer, when he learned how to carry out standard biology laboratory techniques. The hard part, Kanthasamy said, was learning all of the procedures, which had taken a large part of his summer. “You have to be determined and enjoy what you’re doing. You have to be detail oriented—some of the experiments require your measurements to be really precise…when I was first starting out, I ruined some of the data for a student that I was helping. It was my first time, so I didn’t know how to do it well, but after a while, you get the hang of it.” In addition to working on students’ experiments, Kanthasamy also plans to run his own experiment, publish a paper this summer, and, on the side, make around $8 to 9 per hour. “Sure, I get money, but I work there mostly just for research experience…the best part is that I get to work in science, something that I actually like. It’s a good way to prepare yourself for the future and get college experience, especially if you want to pursue something in science.” “Leadership role” For six consecutive summers, senior Leigh Howell had attended the same YMCA camp in Tennessee. Now 18 and trained in CPR and first aid, Howell decided to be a camp counselor at the YMCA camp in Boone. “This was the first year I was old enough and I’ve decided to do it. I know, based off my experiences and the orientation that this is something I really want to do,” Howell said. “In the morning there are activities that the people do at the camp. In the afternoon, we go around to different [activities] at cabins…there are whole camp activities around a campfire.” She will stay at the camp from June 1st to August 16th. She will only have Saturday evenings free to hang out with friends, she said, making the job pretty much full-time. “I’m not doing it for the money,” said Howell. “When I was younger, I used to look up to the counselors. I hope that’s what will happen to me too. People will see me as a positive role model and look up to me. Some aren’t going to come from the best situation in life and I will be able to shape them. “Jobs I’ve had in high school have helped me grow. In addition to meeting new people, there are so many people I wouldn’t have normally interacted with that I get to work with. I would encourage students to get jobs in high school if they can, whether they have to or just have extra time.”