Lizzie Duke, Reporter
Midoli Cram, who has worked at Pierce College for 12 years, left the college Oct. 16 to work as a Starbucks manager.
“I’m sad to go but happy that I’ll be right down the street and I’ll be back to visit,” Cram said.
Twelve years ago, after completing high school, Cram needed to choose between joining the military or attending college. She decided on Pierce.
She has close connections to the college. Cram’s father, Art Watkins, district informational technology manager, has worked at Pierce for more than 20 years. Cram remembers being 7 years old, sitting in her dad’s office and buying snacks at the bookstore.
As a result of those visits, Cram got to know Fort Steilacoom’s bookstore manager. In 2003, when the manager found out Cram was going to be attending Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, she offered her a job. Cram had already worked in retail and figured it’d be easy to go to school, go to work and then move on.
Cram began working part time at the Fort Steilacoom bookstore and continued working there after graduating from college.
In 2006, the Pierce College Puyallup bookstore had a job opening for a full-time position. Cram’s manager suggested she apply for the job.
Cram started as retail clerk but eventually became the store manager.
While working at the bookstore, Cram oversaw textbooks, finance, budgeting data, hiring and occasionally slipped into the Raiders mascot costume. She said her favorite activity was interacting with students.
“If students don’t know where their class is, if they don’t know where security is, if they don’t know how to navigate their way through the college, they end up in the bookstore,” Cram said. “People always come in and ask the most random questions, so you get to interact with the students beyond just selling them a book or a piece of candy, and then you end up talking to them about their career paths and helping them navigate life.”
Cram said the best part of being at Pierce is “being a part of a bigger picture than I am. It’s so stupid, but this has been my baby. And I’ve loved it.”
Cram struggled to hold back tears.
“I’ve spent so many years of my life here,” Cram said. “It’s hard to walk away, but it’s time for me to move on. I can’t keep doing the same thing for the rest of my life. I’m too young.”
After receiving an email saying Starbucks was hiring, Cram told her husband that after 12 years, it was time to leave Pierce.
Cram applied for the Starbucks position and since Oct. 19 has been training to be a store manager.
Dionne Latta is taking as manager at the bookstore. Cram chose Latta to run the store as they’ve worked together for a year and a half. Cram said she believes Latta will be a great fit.
The new assistant manager, Kariena Mellor, has worked with Cram for 12 years.
“We’re very excited. We really are,” Latta said, referring to Mellor and herself.
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