Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Pamela “Pam” Perkins Au ’81

Pamela “Pam” Perkins Au ’81

  • Director, information technology quality and compliance strategy
  • Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J.

Pam Au didn’t expect to work in technology, but an opportunity to be a pioneer in the early ’80s changed her mind. After interning for Congresswoman Margaret Heckler, the government major was offered a position in business applications programming at Merrill Lynch.

“Wall Street was making a huge investment in technology. There were few women in IT in the brokerage industry, and it was an opportunity to learn, grow and develop,” she says.

She went through a 12-week training program, learning COBOL and other programming languages. “It was really technical,” she says. “To this day, I am so proud of making it through that training.”

Women in technology
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.

Now Au is responsible for the development and execution of Johnson & Johnson’s global IT quality and compliance strategy. She recently led a team to transform the way IT systems and services are delivered by streamlining the systems development life-cycle process and making it more user-friendly.

“As a liberal arts major, I learned to look at things holistically,” she says. “[Professor of Political Science] Darlene Boroviak taught me not to set boundaries.”

With more than 30 years in IT, Au enjoys serving as a mentor to young women and men interested in technology careers. “It’s what I love most about my job,” she says. “Everything I’ve accomplished, I’ve accomplished by working with people in teams.”

Bridget Pulice ’08

Bridget Pulice ’08National success consultant

Bullhorn, Inc., Boston

An Italian studies major with a minor in psychology, Bridget Pulice was recruited by Bullhorn at a job fair at Wheaton. “I did not intend to pursue a career in technology,” she says.

The Boston-based company is a global leader in the production of software that helps recruiting professionals track applicants.

Initially hired as a technical support analyst, where she provided phone and email assistance to customers in 150 countries, she now works primarily with dissatisfied clients who are at risk for terminating their contracts. Pulling from her Wheaton toolbox, she facilitates relationships with these clients as she works to identify and solve their issues. Her efforts have resulted in a 95 percent retention rate.

Women in technology
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.

Though her work record is impressive, Pulice is most proud of earning her master’s degree in international relations and communications in 2012 from Boston University while working full time at Bullhorn.

“One of the best things about Wheaton is that everyone has a voice,” she says. “I was never afraid to speak up in the classroom, and this has certainly helped my confidence and communication skills in the workplace.”

Pulice says her undergraduate education gave her a variety of skills and knowledge about a range of topics.

“Thanks to Wheaton, I have all the tools I need to learn new things and succeed in any path,” she says. “You want me to converse in another language? Sure. You want me to fix your computer? No problem.”

Paresky fellow: Joshua “Jay” Weimer ’96

Joshua “Jay” Weimer ’96

650_Jay Weimer-25Joshua “Jay” Weimer knew exactly what he wanted to do when he graduated from Wheaton. A double major in philosophy and political science, he had been trained to think critically.

“I liked to argue,” he says with a laugh. “And I wanted to do it professionally.”

Weimer wanted to pursue a career in the law. After graduating from Wheaton, he attended Yale Law School. He received a Paresky Fellowship, which relieved much of the financial pressure of law school, allowing him to focus on his studies.

Today, he argues cases as assistant district attorney for the northern district of Texas, a massive area covering 100 counties and almost 96,000 square miles.

He enjoys the energy of the courtroom, the daily challenge of thinking on his feet in critical situations. Rather than wilting under the pressure, he thrives on it.

Go Beyond, Campaign for Wheaton

Paresky fellows

He has worked in cases ranging from health care to immigration, from terrorism to bank robberies. But what brings him true meaning in his career? Justice, he says.

“I’m fortunate as an attorney because I don’t have a ‘client.’ My client is the United States of America, and my job is to apply the law fairly to all people.”

Even though he is busy upholding the law on the plains of Texas, he still maintains close Wheaton connections. His senior-year roommate, Jason Neal ’96, was recently married and Weimer was best man at the wedding.

Photo by Stewart F. House

Paresky fellow: Christine Parzych Vigneux ’91

650_Vigneux Christine 2When she was a freshman at Wheaton, Christine Parzych Vigneux had already planned out her career. After she graduated, she figured, she’d go into politics.

But a funny thing happened. The political science major, who even interned at the State House, began to tutor students at nearby Norton High School.

“I remember working with kids who were really struggling,” she says. “And then there would be that moment—that ‘aha,’ where they’d suddenly get it.”

Go Beyond, Campaign for Wheaton

Paresky fellows

Vigneux felt she was directly impacting the students, helping them on a tangible, individual level. Parents of Norton High students began to seek her out to tutor their kids.

“I loved the excitement of politics,” she says. “But I had found my calling.”

She decided to get her master’s degree from the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, where she received a Paresky Fellowship.

From there, it’s been a whirlwind: she taught social studies in Belchertown,  Mass. Four years later, she was promoted to assistant principal. Then, at only 28 years old, she was named principal of Belchertown High School. She was one of the youngest high school principals in Massachusetts. But she jumped into the challenge headfirst—and she’s been there ever since.

She loves shaping the education students receive, and she credits her professors at  Wheaton for being role models in how to treat students.

Education is a family affair in the Vigneux home. Her husband is an English teacher at Belchertown High, where, fortunately, he has a good relationship with his boss.

In May, Vigneux attended the reception for fellows at Susan and Joseph Paresky’s home.

“I am grateful to both of them, for what they’ve allowed me to do in my career,” she says. “I hope I’ve made them proud.”