Odd Jobs

photos by Jeff Primozich/For the Review

photo by Rachael Palinkas/Photo Editor

Amber McKenna

Features editor

Students find unconventional ways to earn extra money through one-of-a-kind teacher’s assistant and work-study positions.


If it wasn’t her job, it would be a crime. Freshman Lauren Funtanilla spends nine hours every week ripping apart books and putting them back together.

Funtanilla is a student worker for Library Technical Services and Processing. Her title, bookmender apprentice, reflects the antique job perfectly.

“Bookmending is a dying art,” Funtanilla said.

She works under senior Lindsey Thordarson in one of Nicholson Library’s back rooms. The pair uses special tools for book repair, such as glue with low acidity, Exacto knives and Japanese tissue. Funtanilla is either given books to fix by the front desk or finds older books from the library’s many stacks.

Much of the work Funtanilla does is repairing poor mending jobs from years past. To repair a problem, such as a detached book spine, Funtanilla said it is necessary to completely deconstruct the book.

“It is fun to tear apart books,” she said. “I feel OK about doing it because I know I am going to make it better.”

Funtanilla said it is sad when books are beyond repair and can no longer be used.

Through her job, Funtanilla said she finds bookmending requires good judgment and training.

In the beginning, Funtanilla did not really know what the job she had applied for was, but she now has come to thoroughly enjoy her work.

“I wouldn’t mind keeping this job for four years,” she said.

Animal care technician

Senior Hollin Buck is responsible for the well-being of nearly 100 rats that live in Pioneer Hall. Not to worry, these furry creatures work for the college.

As a biopsychology teacher’s assistant, Buck cares for animals that are used in various psychology tests.

 Current research projects include how the brain affects behavior and the effects of stress and drugs.

Between Buck and senior Courtney Worthington, the rats are checked, their food and water replaced and their cages cleaned each day. The rats are all males, for research purposes, and are a type of white rat called sprayed dolly. The lab recently received a shipment of 48 new rats.

For the various procedures in testing, the rats are subject to stress; like changes in eating and sleeping patterns.

“Sometimes when the rats are stressed, they jump,” Buck said. “This fall, some rats had teeth falling out.”

She said her job as an animal care technician is to keep the rats that are not current subjects of testing relaxed by providing clean bedding and a relaxed environment.

Buck is passionate about the importance of psychology studies done on rats.

“The average human lives 20 years longer because of studies done through animal testing,” she said. 

Buck spends around seven hours a week with the rats and said she has only been bitten once.

“They are more scared of us than we are of them,” she said.

Cadaver caretaker

Peeling off skin and cutting out organs sounds like jobs for those on the hit TV show “CSI,” but for senior Laura Grambo, it is how she spends some of her time outside of class.

Grambo works with the cadavers in the anatomy lab. As an anatomy teacher’s assistant, it is her task to prepare the cadavers for studying, make sure they stay preserved and assist students with study the cadavers. Grambo has worked in this capacity since her sophomore year.

“Now it is routine,” she said. “It was disturbing at first, and I still have a hard time handling some things.”

Grambo and other teacher’s assitants remove the skin and fat from the cadavers once they are brought to campus from the Oregon Health and Science University. She said this makes the muscles visible and leaves some connected tissue on the bodies so students can identify structures and see how the muscles work together.

The teacher’s assistants use scalpels, scissors and bone saws in their work. Other tasks of preparing the bodies include removing the rib cage, taking out the brain and cutting the top of the spine.

“It is weird holding a brain, a heart and lungs,” she said.

Grambo said her job has increased her passion for her major, athletic training, and has helped with kinesiology. 

“It’s not the most glorious thing,” Grambo said. “But it’s the best job ever.” 

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