Summer 2022 / Departments

Meet Wilson: Julie Raulli

Julie Raulli
Professor of Sociology


Ph.D. in Sociology, Colorado State University
M.A. in Philosophy, Colorado State University
B.A. in English and Peace Studies, Hamline University


Raulli believes that her freedom as a teacher sets Wilson apart. She incorporates film, podcasts, field trips, community action, and much more into her curricula, and the students appreciate these innovative and dynamic classes.

She also calls out Wilson’s unique generosity. She recalls countless times when faculty and staff facing challenges had their colleagues and the College come through for them with support and sympathy.


A self-proclaimed podcast and NPR junkie, Raulli often loses herself in nonfiction podcasts, documentaries, radio streams, or audiobooks. She hopes to take on the Appalachian Trail one day, but in the meantime, she keeps in shape by hiking and gardening.

Raulli doesn’t want to produce sociology majors. She wants to encourage students to think “sociologically” and better understand race, gender, and class no matter what their majors are.

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Last Word: Ritual Days

By Larry Shillock, Ph.D., Professor of English

Teaching English at Wilson has been a professional privilege. For 28 years, its academic calendar has determined where I am and what I do. Now, with retirement pending, I face our spring rituals — Student Research Day, the Academic Awards Ceremony, Commencement, Alumnae Weekend — for the last time.

I imagine the summer ahead less like a circle that will close when fall classes begin than as a line streaming away. Without a first day of classes to anticipate, that “day of days” as I think of it, I must fall back on nonacademic rituals for adventure and sustenance.

Each summer since Professor Lisa Woolley and I moved to Chambersburg, we have left campus for our cabin near Yellowstone. We drive west confident that days outdoors will soon eclipse days indoors and, echoing Thoreau, intend to play and live deliberately. Mid-June finds us hiking the drainages of Montana’s Paradise Valley, the creeks in full spate. The runoff crests once true summer begins, before the Independence Day crush of Winnebagos foretells that this season has too brief a lease on our lives.

The best ritual of summer often occurs as our departure nears. Anticipating Faculty Day, I grow restive, at once excited to greet peers and saddened that our time in nature is ending. My solution is a last-day ritual spent hiking alone, fly rod in hand. Invariably, I go to Yellowstone’s northeast corner, where prehistoric rivers of ice crushed peaks into gravel and left lonely glacial erratica behind.

Slough Creek rises outside of the park and crosses three meadows before enlarging the Yellowstone River. Its second meadow is almost six miles from its namesake campground and, for many, inaccessible in the summer heat. Five years ago, I arrived at the trailhead at sunrise, eager to climb a mountain’s shoulder and go back in time. Pure Yellowstone cutthroats inhabit the creek where, over millennia, the species evolved to match the streambed. Invisible at rest, the trout fin slowly to the surface where caddisflies, midges, and mayflies abound.

Like Wordsworth revisiting Tintern Abbey, I have been away for too long. Today, gusting wind makes casting difficult, and so I stand above eddies whose foam holds Heptagenia mayflies. A fly made of deer hair and dubbing brings cutthroat from the depths. Held gently, they sport olive-brown sides and orange slashes beneath pale jaws. Heavy, dark spots congregate by their tails. Few outdoor pursuits equal catching ancestral trout in their ancestral homes.

The afternoon waning, I climb the bank, eyeing the Absoraka-Beartooth Wilderness to the north and imagining the drive east. Without a sound, a grizzly lopes from a copse of lodgepole, its fur a mix of brown and silver-grey. Large bears show little concern or fear. This one searches the upstream shallows. With thirty yards separating us, I lean so that my head alone rests above the bank.

The bear turns and faces downstream. The wind behind it is no help in determining why its range has changed. Then the bear stands and tilts its nose. Light leaches from a ritual day when an animal twice my weight snorts and swings its head. The valley grasses and stream recede as I appraise the risk.

A professor of Romantic poetry, I teach students that a boundless sublime underscores the beauty of nature. Miles from the trailhead, I hear that insight reverberate. Each time the bear shows its back, I move. When it climbs the far bank, I slip into the water and crabwalk down current. An errant splash causes it to rise and snort before it fords again. Grizzlies evolved to run down prey on the plains, and so the knee-deep water separating us would be no impediment, should it charge. Patience and guile are my best virtues; the fish smell on my hands and arms, worst vices. Seeking my scent, the bear crosses the stream three times in all before I slip beyond its ken and hike out. Thus, a summer ritual ends breathlessly.

My simple claim that Wilson days were spent teaching and summer days spent living or, correlatively, that time for a professor is circular and time in retirement linear collapses.

While the beauty of Slough Creek commands its setting, the encounter with a muscular bear owes much to the poetry I have taught and loved. In that isolated corner of Yellowstone, my deliberations in those moments of terror and threat hailed from Thoreau and Wordsworth.

Yes, when I retire, my favorite academic ritual — the day classes begin — will be enacted by others. But Wilson will accompany me, as it does its graduates, away from campus rituals and into lives where a day’s exploration can resonate like the lines of a singular poem.

RELATED: Meet Wilson: Julie Raulli Quick Bytes: Summer 2022 Summer 2022 News

Quick Bytes: Summer 2022


RELATED: Meet Wilson: Julie Raulli Last Word: Ritual Days Summer 2022 News

Summer 2022 News

Two Authors Inducted into Author’s Hall of Fame

The Author’s Hall of Fame celebrates members of the Wilson Community who have made significant contributions to a life of letters and who have enhanced the literary culture of the College and society as a whole.

Barbara Conover ’59

There are few more perfect examples of a person living a life of letters than Barbara Conover ’59. Shortly after graduating from Wilson with a degree in English, German, and music, she worked as an editorial assistant for the American Chemical Society Applied Publications. In 1963 she began working for Ronald Press, a college textbook publishing company, and, just over ten years later, she started a new position as Economics Editor for Random House Publishing, one of few women in the U.S. to hold such a position at the time.

Over the years, Conover worked as managing editor for technical journals in the medical and scientific fields for such prestigious publishing firms as Macmillan, Elsevier North Holland, and W. B. Saunders. She started her own consulting firm, Publications Management, and continues to work today, primarily in political science, history, and psychology, as an editorial consultant to several academic presses, including Oxford University Press.

Conover is the co-author of “The Real World of Work: An Introduction to Labor-Management Relations” (1980, second edition 1983) and writes poetry in her free time. She was a member of the Alumnae Board for more than 12 years and a College Trustee from 2004 to 2007.

Cora Elizabeth Lutz

Cora Elizabeth Lutz was born in 1906 in Rockville, Conn., and earned a doctorate in classics from Yale University. Her linguistics professor noted, “She is a young woman of unusual intelligence and industry; she has the making of a first-rate scholar.” She joined the faculty of Wilson in 1935 and taught classics until her retirement in 1969.

Lutz received two Guggenheim Fellowships, the first in 1949 and the second in 1954. Her scholarly work focused on manuscripts of the treaties on the seven liberal arts by Remegius of Auxerre, dating from the ninth through the sixteenth centuries. The treaties contain the complete curriculum for many medieval schools and significant information on early medieval culture.

Julia Billings Crothers ’38 remarked on Prof. Lutz, “She was the perfect model of a charming lady, but beneath the ladylike demeanor was an uncompromising scholar, unforgettable to students like me, who quaked beneath her scorn of mediocrity.”

Upon her retirement, Yale University offered her a full-time position working with manuscripts in its Beineke Library. The work involved cataloging and describing the library’s collection of pre-1600 manuscripts. Lutz was elected to the Fellowship of the Medieval Academy of America in 1975. She was the author or editor of eight books, including translations, annotations, and essays. Cora Lutz passed away at the age of 78 in 1985.

The Victory of Values

On October 15, 2021, the men’s basketball team began a new season with challenges that didn’t augur well: the team had not played a game since the last week of February 2020 due to the COVID-19 restrictions; the roster had only ten returners and had to integrate eight fresh members into a cohesive team; and, to cap it all, the Phoenix had a totally new coaching staff, including a new head coach — me. Yet what began so inauspiciously would prove to be as memorable and uplifting a season as any in the short history of the men’s program.

With our roster and coaches in place, I asked the players to come up with the three key values that would define us as a team and be our motivation through practice and games. Collectively they decided to approach each day with the mindset: always be a great teammate, always remain coachable, and never stop being competitive.

Through the season’s ups and downs, the Phoenix returned to these three values for encouragement and vindication. I believe that the impossible becomes entirely possible when a team all rows the boat in the same direction.

Throughout the first semester, the team focused on finding their collective identity on the court. There were bright moments and low spots in the search for it, but later, they recognized this was all part of the growing process they had to go through. They learned that as cold as winter gets, spring always rises and brings warmth. And did spring rise!

After finishing non-conference play a respectable 4-5, the Phoenix went on to win 14 of their last 15 games, including a program record and memorable nine-game winning streak! They captured a regular-season Colonial States Athletic Conference championship and the Colonial States Athletic Conference Tournament championship. For their effort, the 2021-2022 men’s basketball team advanced to the NCAA DIII national tournament for the first time in program history, finishing the season with an 18-8 overall record and 14-2 in Colonial States Athletic Conference contests.

Warrick Godwin Jr. was named 1st Team All-CSAC, CSAC Player of the Year, NCAA All-Region, and All-District — each one a first for a Phoenix men’s basketball player. I was honored to be voted the CSAC Coach of the Year — I credit my players’ and coaches’ efforts and dedication for this honor. And Daryl Garrib and Antonio Bussey were 2nd Team All- CSAC nominees.

A team united through values made the inauspicious auspicious. We can’t wait to see what next season will bring.

— Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mark Seidenburg

Wilson’s Board of Trustees Welcomes Two Members to Their Ranks

Tracey Leskey ’90 is a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, W.Va. She conducts research on the behavioral and chemical ecology of key insect pests associated with deciduous tree fruit production. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, two patents, and over 40 other publications, including book chapters and proceeding articles. She served as a liaison to the House Agricultural Appropriations Committee, providing numerous updates on the pest status of and research progress on the invasive brown marmorated stink bug.


Leskey has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NPR and appeared live on Fox News and C-SPAN and has done several stories with National Geographic. As the lead Project Director, she has secured over $14 million in extramural funding. She is a Subject Editor for Environmental Entomology, a member of the Entomological Society of America Special Committee on Governance, and past president of the ESA Eastern Branch.

Leskey has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wilson College, a master’s degree in ecology from Penn State University and a doctorate in entomology from the University of Massachusetts. She had served eight years on the Wilson Board of Trustees, beginning her service as an elected Alumnae Trustee, and earning the designation of Everitt-Pomeroy Trustee upon completion of her term. She has also served on the Alumnae Association of Wilson College Board of Directors and the Wilson College Campaign Committee.

Gwendolyn Sykes, United States Secret Service CFO, is responsible for the execution, development, and stewardship of the Secret Service’s resources and currently manages a financial team that includes budget, financial management, relocation, and financial systems experts. She delivered the Wilson Class of 2021 commencement speech last year and was conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Sykes is the first African American female to have served as the CFO at NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate, she was responsible for this $16 billion agency’s financial management and health. She led more than 500 finance professionals located across ten geographically dispersed locations throughout the United States to develop and execute financial policies, processes, and procedures.

Sykes has also served as Yale University’s CFO, the first in that university’s 306-year history, and CFO for Morehouse College. Previous government experience includes working within the Department of Defense and in the office of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.

Sykes holds a Bachelor of Arts in accounting from Catholic University and a Master of Public Administration from American University, where she also serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Public Affairs. She has been recognized for her achievements by Black Enterprise, Newsweek, the Today Show, and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.


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