Coffee, art, people and school: ‘The Jill of all trades’


RACHEL SUN | The Daily Evergreen

Master's student Anna VanderMeer’s favorite part about her job is making people’s day.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

Name, age: Anna VanderMeer, 24

Occupation: Master’s student in engineering with focus in water resources, barista at Thomas Hammer

It’s the first Sunday of the semester: What are your plans for the day?
“I’ll be working here for most of the morning, which is honestly the highlight of my day. I love working here more than anything, I’m always so excited to come back. Afterwards it’ll be hitting the books and hitting the gym — the classic college student life.”

You said you love working here — tell me more about that.
“My favorite thing in the whole wide world is making people’s day. As a coffee barista it’s such a fun platform to do that, but also I see some of the most awesome parts of humanity in quick snapshots. Like, quick little twitter blurbs of humanity if you will. Last semester, this young couple came in, and paid for their drinks. And then they leaned in and said, ‘there’s some kids behind us, we’re going to pay for their drinks as well.’ Just really sweet things like that. Our baristas have been gifted things like books from appreciative customers. It’s really interesting because as a barista people feel so comfortable and they’ll talk to you and act a certain way that they wouldn’t otherwise. I’m the same person in the classroom and they don’t act that way around me. It’s definitely this [coffee shop] setting.”

Anything interesting you’ve noticed about college students in particular that come in?
“I don’t think there’s one type of student, because we get all sorts and I think it’s awesome. We get the stressed-out grad student in their early 30s, late 20s, and they have this kind of solemn resolve to get through their stuff. You get the quirky fun people that come in, and they’re going to ‘study,’ but you know they’re going to be upstairs and chatting and having a good time. But I don’t know. I guess we affix the title of student to people, but they’re all still people, and they’re all going to have their own interesting tendencies. The only thing that binds us together is that we all have homework that we have to get through at the end of the day.”

When you’re off the clock and studying, would you say you tend to do one of those things you described?
I am, in classic engineering style, very black-and-white. Somebody said there are spaghetti people and waffle people, and spaghetti people have all the categories of their life mixed together. And there’s waffles where there’s compartments you can put syrup into. I’m very clear cut, so that’s me.

So you schedule your spaghetti?
“I schedule my spaghetti, yes!”

What other types of things do you enjoy doing?
“Things like backpacking. I love to paint and draw, and I love to invite a lot of women to the Daily Grind, or here or wherever, and we just bring a ton of paint supplies and beef it out.”

How would you describe your artwork?
“I love acrylics and watercolor. I recently got approached by a couple people to do tattoo designs. I don’t like drawing real-life things, like a chair or a flower. Sort of like this whimsical, nuanced emotion.”