Work Study Profile: Illinca
Name: Ilinca Olariu
How long have you worked at MOA? I’ve worked at MOA since October 2014.
What is your job title and what do you do? I am an education assistant. I am responsible for giving tours – usually to primary school groups, but occasionally to afterschool programs such as scouts, brownies or non-school tours.
How did you begin working at MOA; what led you to this position? I am working for MOA through the University of Western Ontario’s Work Study program. I am currently in my second year of my undergraduate program at Western, doing an honours specialization in History, (with a minor in French Language and Translation and a minor in Spanish Language and Linguistics.) I wanted to find a work position in affiliation with the university that would reflect my academic interests – what better way to do this than working at a museum!
What drew you to this position?
Actually, by word of mouth – I was lucky enough to be in contact with the right people at the right time! Kylie Kelly, an assistant curator at the time, had told me about her experiences working at the museum. In September 2014, I happened to run into her on the bus on my way home from Masonville mall, where I had just summited resumes to any and every store I could think of, as I was searching for part-time employment. Kylie told me about the opportunity of working at the museum through Western’s Work Study program and helped me apply online.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Apart from working with a lovely staff here at MOA, I would say that my favorite part of working here is the kids! Every single school group is different, which always keeps things new and interesting. The kids love being here at the museum and their enthusiasm is a lot of fun to work with.
If there was one thing you could tell the world about MOA, what would it be?
As a historian, I can appreciate and value the importance of local history. Here at MOA, you can experience all of region’s ancient roots and ancestors. The Attawandaron people that lived here on the Lawson site represent a large portion of London’s local history and contributes greatly to our study of First Nations people in Ontario. I believe it is extremely important for locals to know about these people and their culture, as it has shaped so much of London’s present-day identity!
How has your job changed since you started?
I’ve learned so much since I’ve started working at MOA! I can tell you all about the people that lived on our site in the 16th century – what tools they used, what food they ate, the beliefs they had and the tools they used! I have grown to appreciate the importance of archaeology as a means of gaining primary evidence that is crucial to our understanding of the Attawandaron people and to forming a proper historical interpretation of their past. I am able to give proper tours of the museum, something I never imagined myself doing!
What advice can you give others?
As a supporter of learning local history, I would suggest everyone to explore MOA. For other students looking for a work study position through Western, I would highly recommend getting a job here, regardless of what you might be studying. It’s definitely a rewarding experience in many different ways!
When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
When I’m not working here at MOA or at my part-time job at the mall, (or locked up at school in the library), I enjoy watching movies, hanging out with my friends and experimenting in the kitchen.
Do you have a favourite moment or story you would like to share?
I’ve made so many great memories with my coworkers at MOA. I have gotten the opportunity to meet many other students like myself participating in the work study program from various areas of study – archaeology, history, languages and sociology/anthropology departments. It’s very nice being surrounded by people who have similar interests as me, we have many interesting discussions regarding our programs and share our passion for history. I really makes me feel like I belong here!
It’s hard to choose just one MOA memory that stands out, as I make new ones every single time I come in to work! However, I will never forget the time myself and three of my other coworkers were trying to laminate some pages for the activity we were putting together. None of us were entirely sure how to use the older laminator and let’s just say, it was a long trial and error process. We had some good laughs and it would have been hilarious if anyone was to walk in as the four of us were standing around this laminator with no clue how to use it properly, trying over and over again, praying it would work out better every single time. I genuinely enjoy coming to work in the morning knowing I get to work with such nice and friendly people, always looking to get a laugh out and have some fun!