The Secret of Tamera’s Mystique: A Combination of Smoke, Mirrors and Magic

By: Niki Fritz

Last semester, I walked into the departmental office and before I could even do one of those faux cubicle knocks, Tamera turned around to greet me, knowingly handing me the “change of committee” form I needed. In awe, I thought to myself, “Tamera is magic.”

I know it is an experience we Telecom grad students share. We have all witnessed Tamera’s magic.

Although I don’t want to crush everyone’s secret fantasy that Tamera actually is some sort of kindhearted sorcerer or benevolent witch, it is my grad-blog responsibility to reveal the secret behind Tamera’s knowing ways. There is actually a mirror in the upper left corner of the office that shows Tamera who is entering the office. (To be fair, the mirror is no secret. It is actually a fairly large, obvious mirror that I have just always been too distracted or self-absorbed to notice.)

The story behind the mirror though illuminates just how Tamera’s apparent sorcery works. Yes it is a story about smoke and mirrors, but mostly it is a story about team work and how the right people fitting together can make magic happen.

The front office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every school day. This is important to Department Chair Walt Gantz who notes that students are just starting to wake up by the time front office secretary, new Telecom staff addition Taylor Conrad, is ready to take lunch around noon. Some departments close the office for lunch but to make Telecom more accessible, the front office stays open while Taylor takes her break. This means it falls to Tamera or Reed to greet any lost students or guests.

A lot of people come through the office door, and while most know where they are going, it often fell to Tamera to turn and look behind her, whenever the office door opened. This led to some frustration and a sore neck.

Then about a year and a half ago, the team started to joke about getting a mirror. Walt decided that a mirror was actually a great idea. “I said yes, let’s get a mirror. I don’t care what it costs. Buy it.”

The infamous mirror

The special mirror.

Tamera jokes that Walt actually notices that each turn to check the door was knocking 1.3 seconds of productivity off of Tamera’s work. But Walt insists it was just for the health and benefit of the team; something relatively simple that would ease the strain on Tamera’s neck and making Tamera appear magical was just a welcomed side effect.

Still I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something mysterious about Tamera’s powers. After all she always seems to know what forms grad students need and she can get a room reserved in Woodburn with lightning fast speed. I was pondering this as Walt and I walked over to Tamera’s desk. Before we rounded the corner, Tamera turned to greet us without the powers of the mirrors.

Tamera says knowing these things just comes with the territory. She’s gotten good at sensing where people are and what they need.

Walt notes though that it isn’t just the mirror. There is still some mysticism working in the office, magic that can be seen through the dynamic of having the right team members in the right position.

“Tamera is magic anyhow. And Reed is magic. They both are. The mirror just discloses one of their sources of power,” Walt explains. “There are many others we have pledged not to divulge.”

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