John Ethel "May" Dunn goes well beyond the call of duty. Stouffer Dining Commons worker John Ethel Dunn brings smiles to everyone around her -- from her colleagues to the students she serves and even to herself. Dunn, who is known by her friends as "May," loves making even more out of her work than just what her job contract dictates. Showing up to work early and often leaving long after her shift ended, Dunn takes pride in making Stouffer a better place to work and eat -- to make it one of the most popular hangouts on campus. She has taken her employment and turned it into an art -- by carving fruits and vegetables into colorful decorative objects. Long before most Penn students roll out of bed, Dunn arrives at Stouffer and transforms it into a virtual studio to begin her masterpieces. The creations she carves range from animals to flowers to intricate shapes -- all of which she displays proudly along the serving line in Stouffer's lower level dining room. Dunn's carvings have become a tradition in Stouffer, as every day they bring smiles to barely awake students waiting for breakfast. But the satisfaction evoked from Dunn's creations does not only belong to students. She noted that the carving relaxes her and is a skill she takes much pride in. And many Stouffer workers are following in Dunn's culinary footsteps, as they take advantage of her after-hours carving lessons. She said she enjoys being a "tutor" for her workers, who she praised as "very ambitious." Some Stouffer workers have even purchased instructional books in hopes of perfecting their carving skills. Beyond her culinary techniques, Dunn has been an instrumental part of the behind-the-scenes team at Stouffer for almost 33 years. She is a unit leader and supervisor of Stouffer's lower dining hall, overseeing general procedures like serving and ensuring enough food is at each station. Through her culinary talents and her loving personality, Dunn has made many close friends at Stouffer, including Jacinta Tovoir. In her third year as a Stouffer worker, Tovoir has moved up from washing dishes to working on the main floor and is one of many Stouffer workers who have been inspired by Dunn. She is currently responsible for preparing the dining hall's fruit and dessert displays and arranging the trays and silverware. Tovoir often has to do these duties by herself but Dunn said she never complains, an example of the enjoyment many Stouffer workers get from their jobs. "If only I had as many people working on their stations like Jacinta," she said. "I know she'll get the job done and I don't ever have to check on her." Tovoir started working the dinner shift but is now on the breakfast and lunch shift. Her daily schedule is from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and -- taking a page from Dunn's work ethic -- she often works through her breaks. Tovoir, who lives in Philadelphia with her husband and 15-year-old daughter, commented that she loves everything about her job and looks forward to coming to work. But in her free time, she enjoys going to the gym to work out on the treadmill. Although Tovoir's native tongue is Spanish, she has no problem communicating effectively in Stouffer. She has made many friendships, including a special relationship with Dunn. "We make a great team!" exclaimed Dunn while the two women embraced with smiles from ear to ear.
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