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Service with a smile
By Emily Dattilo
Dark wood walls, a dozen scattered tables and chairs, a row of hanging lights and the scents of freshly-made coffee and warm bagels hover over Cafe Lux. The vibe is classy and comfortable, contrasting with the modern vibe found throughout the rest of Armstrong. Gold-rimmed boards host the menu written in a white-chalkboard font. Coffee machines and a stack of red cups sit behind the register and glass cases brim with muffins, bagels and croissants.
For most of the day, a seemingly unending line of chattering students leave the baristas swimming in a wave of mochas and latte orders. Ranging in ages from college kids to adult, they wear the same apron, hat and friendly smile.
One barista, Destiny Numberg, wears a red Miami t-shirt and black-framed glasses, her dark hair tucked into a ponytail under a black hat. She has a pleasant disposition. She's worked at Miami for a year and a half and she's been at Lux for a year of that time. She says the demanding nature of the job can sometimes prove challenging.
"Just trying to keep up, it gets overwhelming -- we got the food, we got the drinks, we got a mixture of everything," Numberg says.
Numberg says after working at Miami Ice, Lux can feel a little isolated. It is fairly tucked away, situated in a small corner of the student center. During class time, the hum of the coffee machine feels too loud in the half-filled room. But on the busiest afternoons, students spill onto the main floor of Armstrong, some hunched over tables with headphones in, dutifully studying, while others sip iced mochas, laughing and talking loudly with friends, and the coffee machine hum fades into the waves of conversation.
Between orders of blueberry muffins and iced teas, the baristas find ways to work together effectively. The relationship with her co-workers is a highlight of Numberg's job and she talks about the importance of a healthy work environment.
"We all get along together," Numberg says. "I mean if you don't have a good relationship with your co-workers, it's just not a good atmosphere at all, so you have to just be on the same page with everyone."
Despite these good relationships, employee turnover is quite common at Lux. Numberg says that of the people she started working with at Lux last year, none of them are still here. One of them moved to Arizona and another to Nevada. Though it's been difficult to watch her co-workers leave, Numberg understands that life is ever-changing; she sees it in her own life all the time.
When she takes off her barista apron, Numberg maintains a very full schedule at home. She's working toward a health-information technology degree at Miami University-Hamilton. She's also a mother to three young kids aged 8 months, 3 and 5 years old.
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She juggles taking care of the kids, picking them up from daycare, doctor appointments and school. Sometimes, she'll bring them to work with her on Sundays.
"They'll usually come and sit here and wreak havoc for everyone who has to be around here because they will not sit still," she says, laughing.
Managing three young kids, taking classes and working a job sounds quite taxing, but Numberg finds a way to manage it all with admirable positivity. Behind the counter, she works hard, taking the time to pay careful attention to each coffee-drinker's complicated order. She greets customers with a smile, and enjoys being at Miami.
"I love it, I do," Numberg says. "It's fast-paced. There's never anything boring...it keeps the day going and makes it go by fast."
Numberg goes back to work, greeting the customer with a smile, typing their name and order into the computer. She begins preparing beverages again, winding her way around the other baristas behind the counter, filling cups with coffee and adding towers of whipped cream to hot chocolates and drizzles of chocolate sauce to mochas.
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By Grace Killian
When Jack Haney toured Miami, he instantly knew it was the perfect school for him. During his campus tour, he saw a student dressed head to toe in armor. Jack loves everything medieval, and he knew it was a sign.
Now a senior at Miami, Jack doesn't dress in armor, but he is in the Miami Medieval Club. Through the club, he started sword fighting -- a hobby he has kept up all four years of his Miami career. He even makes his own swords at home and burns designs into each one, a skill he taught himself.
His commitment to the Medieval Club has landed him a leadership position as the club's representative in the League of Geeks. He works to help organize large events, in addition to raising money for the organization.
The funds he raises go to club activities and shared tools and games. Some of those shared tools include the expensive sword that he uses to fight with, as well as a lute, which Jack taught himself to play. He also taught himself how to play piano and guitar, and loves to sing. Of the many instruments he knows how to play, the lute is his favorite, in part because of its uniqueness.
Jack's list of skills doesn't stop in the musical department. He is handy in all kinds of arts.
"I kinda do a little of everything, except for sewing," he said. "That's the one thing that I'm not good at art-wise."
Jack is undoubtedly well-rounded and somewhat unconventional. He is also very consistent in his life. He's lived in the same dorm since freshman year, where he met friends that he still surrounds himself with, and he has worked in Armstrong for the last four years.
Confident in his choices and individuality, Jack takes the stairs two steps at a time and is always sure of what he is talking about. He has an extensive knowledge of almost anything and shares facts without even thinking. He listed the year and top three actors from his favorite movie, "The Blues Brothers."
He doesn't only set himself apart from everyone through his hobbies and talents, but in his work too. He's lively and active and will enthusiastically suggest a drink from Cafe Lux, where he currently works. He doesn't drink coffee, but he knows what all of the drinks would taste like just from how he makes them. Personally, he would prefer to drink tea, especially chai tea. He's tried every flavor tea that the cafe offers and can make suggestions based on what you are looking for or what mood you are in. During shifts, he keeps a tea in the back to sip on when he has a free second.
"I usually sing a song in my head," he said when asked how he stays so happy during work.
It's also just in Jack's nature to be friendly and to engage with customers. He is naturally full of energy, and that shows when he is at work. His interactions with customers help to brighten days and offer a change of pace for customers.
His friendliness and energy also translate in his social life and dedication to his schoolwork. Jack is a mechanical engineering major, and even with his busy schedule, he maintains healthy relationships. His main friend group has been together since sophomore year, where they met in the basement of Tappan Hall. They played Cards Against Humanity together, and have grown closer since then.
He hopes to use the skills gained from his major for a number of projects including building himself his very own hobbit house that uses renewable energy. He also would like to design a crossbow that attaches to the wrist and collapses down. Jack hopes to carry his energy and passion well into the future.