Professor emeritus, brother create ceremonial pieces
For the past two years, Professor of Psychology Emeritus David Wulff has been engaged in a project of the heart. With the help of his brother, Bernard—an architect, artist and woodworker—Wulff designed and created two ceremonial maces, symbols of authority used worldwide in formal processions at colleges and universities and on parliamentary occasions.
“They are my parting gift to Wheaton,” says Wulff, who retired in 2012 after 43 years at the college. The maces were used for the first time at the inauguration.
It was at his last Convocation that Wulff had an epiphany. Filling in as marshal for the ceremony, he carried a small, unassuming white baton. “I started thinking that Wheaton really needed a proper ceremonial mace, the ornamental descendant of the armor-piercing weapons once used to protect reigning monarchs,” he says.
Wulff wanted something worthy of the college he holds so dear. “Too many maces look like bedposts,” he says. After researching maces at other institutions, the brothers came up with the idea of a gyroscope to hold the college seal atop the mace. Guided by a picture of an antique gyroscope, Wulff created a prototype “constructed of embroidery hoops, gold paint, and a paper seal” that he presented to head administrators at Wheaton. [Read more...]
- Systems engineer
- Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, Portsmouth, R.I.
Christina Nelson is responsible for the software integration and testing on a new class of Navy destroyer. Working for defense contractor Raytheon, she and her team take software from various development groups, put it all together and make sure it works as designed. After integrating all the software, finding problems and testing solutions, she and her team communicate with Navy officials and run tests to make sure the software meets the Navy’s standards.
When she came to Wheaton, she had no experience in computer science and didn’t see herself in a technology career, but that changed the summer after her freshman year. While working on the Lexomics project with Professor of Computer Science Mark LeBlanc, she became “hooked on programming.” (Lexomics is the analysis of the frequency, distribution and arrangement of words in large-scale patterns.)
In the spirit of the Sit With Me project, the Quarterly is showcasing several alumnae working in the industry. Coming from backgrounds that include a variety of majors and working in a wide range of jobs, from designing Navy destroyers to creating educational software, they illustrate the many opportunities available and the many paths into the field that a liberal arts education offers.
“I liked seeing that you could use new methods to solve old problems,” she says. She went on to a major in computer science and mathematics. Professor LeBlanc recommended her for a summer internship at Raytheon, and a full-time position followed.
“My liberal arts education taught me how to problem solve, pulling from different experiences when trying to find a solution,” she says. “Having studied a wide variety of subjects at Wheaton, I feel comfortable taking on tasks that involve more than just a software background.” With less than one year on the job, she was asked to be the primary author on the testing her team performed.