Senior Martin Soto — Employee at Kohl’s Diamond Gallery
Located at 370 E Simmons St., Galesburg, Ill. 61401
While among precious metals, blow torches and glitzy diamonds, Senior Martin Soto is referred to as ‘Quarter Pound.’ The nickname is an affectionate way for the Kohl’s Diamond Gallery staff to recognize that after four years working as a jeweler’s apprentice, Soto has gained at least a quarter of the skills needed to become a real jeweler.
“I’m proud to say that I’ve worked my way to being a half pound,” Soto said.
Soto had never made a piece of jewelry in his life before coming to Knox, but he knew he wanted to work somewhere in town during his freshman year. He walked in with a resume and eventually was allowed to become an apprentice.
“On most days I do repairs on everything from bracelets, chains and rings. Every now and then I’ll do fabrications for a custom piece … I’ve done a number of custom pieces on my own. People will come in and say, ‘Hey I want this’ and I’ll help sketch it out,” Soto said.
One of Soto’s favorite parts of the job is being able to bring people’s visions to life and also repair things that have sentimental value.
Soto works under Ryan Kohl’s mentorship. Soto describes him as a stern, serious but also very kind man. Kohl inspired Soto to want to become a master jeweler like him someday.
“If I mess up something, he’ll looked surprised and go, ‘Wow, I didn’t even know you could mess up this way,’” Soto said.
Now that his mistakes have become less frequent, Soto is relied on at the Gallery like any other member of staff. Soto feels the pressure at times, but is glad to know his work is meaningful. This inspires him to want to become one of the best in the field.
“When I first came to Galesburg I didn’t know anybody,” Soto said. “Starting work at the Kohl’s Diamond Gallery was one of the best things to happen to me. They really took me under their wing and treated me like family.”
Sophomore Jillian Morris — Employee at Iron Spike
Located at 150 E Simmons St, Galesburg, Ill. 61401
When sophomore Jillian Morris lost her work study eligibility without warning, Morris had to scramble to find a job beyond her usual mailroom gig. Luckily, there was an opening at the Iron Spike and Morris had some restaurant experience from back home.
“I think I’ve gotten better at serving. Learning a new menu is difficult, but now I could recite it to anyone. I’ve learned a lot more about what it takes to run a restaurant and [how to] cook food,” Morris says.
While working at Iron Spike, Morris has had to learn how to have thick skin. The fast paced working environment can be stressful for everyone in the kitchen and on staff. Tempers can often flare. However, Morris says that at the end of the day everyone just wants to do their best and help each other out.
“We’re definitely a family, even if you aren’t super close to everyone. We’re all always be there for each other. Even if they’re crazy busy, people will drop everything they are doing to help you,” Morris said.
Though Morris appreciates that Iron Spike is just a few blocks from campus, she says it is a little weird to serve fellow Knox students. Having to use a more professional tone and be in the role of a server can be hard to get used to with Knox peers, though she does appreciate when her friends drop by while she’s on a shift.
“If I’m friends with someone and I’m their server, I still have to do my job,” Morris said.
In more ways than one, the job has been very humbling for Morris. She states that she never complains while at work.
“Everyone who has a job here needs it. If I didn’t have this job I couldn’t go to Knox, if [my co-worker] didn’t have this job she couldn’t feed her kid … A lot of the people who work there have it a lot harder than I do,” Morris said. “There are some single mothers who are putting themselves through school. I’m helping put myself through school, I’m not solely putting myself through school.”
Morris’ favorite dish at Iron Spike are the mashed potatoes. She also enjoys the portobello stroganoff.
Senior Sally Butzer — Employee at Baked
Located at 57 S Seminary St, Galesburg, Ill. 61401
In the Baked kitchen, senior Sally Butzer needs to stay alert. Temperatures are hot, space is tight and food is being put out at a lightning speed all while the intoxicating scent of fresh baked pizza fills the air.
Butzer started working at Baked because she wanted a job where she could put more hours in than the minimum allowed at Knox. At the time, the pizza shop had just renovated to be able to host more diners.
“Everyone starts as a dishwasher, so I was in that [position] for a good long while. Now I do everything, there is not a job that I can’t do or don’t do regularly,” Butzer said.
For Butzer this means assembling pizza, sending out food and her least favorite, working the cash register.
“I don’t even think about [making pizzas] now. Now it’s really a no- brainer, I know how to stretch the dough. I know all the specialty pizzas by heart,” Butzer said. “I like being on the make line, you kind of get in the zone. You really can’t be thinking of anything else while in the kitchen so it’s a nice four hours where I’m not thinking of schoolwork and I’m getting paid for it.”
Though Butzer would describe herself as a veteran pizza maker, she does have occasional slip-ups. Her worst experience was dropping an entire vat of tomato sauce on her shoes and a fellow coworker. However, for the most part, working at Baked has been fun for Butzer.
“Sometimes, when it was really slow we would just decide to try different food out. We make up new specialty [pizzas] all the time … One day we learned how to make fresh pasta by hand. I think everyone who works there really loves food and playing with it, so that’s always good,” Butzer said.
Butzer’s favorite Baked order is the seasonal brie and radish pizza. She also enjoys the Uncle Punk’s specialty pizza.