When students, faculty and staff gather for a meal, they are often greeted by the smile of Kathy DeVos.
DeVos, who has served as the cashier at the caf for more than four years, spends her days scanning IDs and having conversations with members of the Northwestern community.
After growing up in the Sheldon, Iowa, area, DeVos has called Orange City home for all of her married life. In 1980, she started at a food service company in town called Harker’s Distribution where she worked in human relations and coordinated payroll.
When the company closed in 2008, DeVos worked for an agency where she coordinated temporary work for clients.
After this, DeVos applied for an opening at the cafeteria at the recommendation of her neighbor, Shelley Eneboe, who also works for NW’s Dining Services. After being hired, she worked at the salad bar and sandwich bar, but soon after, transitioned to her current role as cashier.
According to DeVos, cashiering is her favorite role so far because she gets to spend the day interacting with students and greeting familiar faces.
She also gets to extend a special welcome to prospective students and their families who are experiencing NW’s caf for the first time.
She enjoys working with the rest of the staff at the caf because they are all so easy to get along with.
DeVos is a beloved part of campus and the students enjoy seeing her every day. Junior nursing major Kate Staab appreciates being greeted with a hug and a smile when she enters the caf for a meal.
“Kathy truly cares about what is going on in my life, and she’s always willing to have a conversation with me,” Staab said.
Staab is confident that DeVos makes NW a better place.
“She loves the students so well. She knows so many of us by name and wants to know what we’re up to. She makes us feel so cared for when she welcomes us to the cafeteria, and because we get to see her so often, she is a constant uplifting presence,” Staab said.
DeVos has raised two sons and one daughter with her husband. One of her sons lives in Denver, another lives in Sioux Falls and her daughter lives in Le Mars. In her role as a wife and as a mother, DeVos has learned a lot.
She has taken these life lessons and turned them into advice about marriage, careers, faith and life in general. She gladly offers this advice to students.
As college students start thinking about marriage, DeVos advises students to “not sweat the small stuff.”
“I don’t care if they squeeze the toothpaste tube wrong or leave dirty underwear on the floor. The small stuff doesn’t matter,” DeVos said.
She also encourages students to be positive when looking for a career after graduation because in her experience, it’s tough to “find the ideal job right out of school. You need to spend time learning and work your way up.”
DeVos is strong in her faith in God.
“I choose not to worry because I know it’s not in my control. Ultimately, it’s all up to God,” she said.
As students navigate life, DeVos has some simple encouragement.
“Work hard, be honest and love deeply,” DeVos said.