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Employee Portrait Gallery—Mike & Julie Palmeiri
Mike Palmieri, who grew up in Larchmont, New York, and went to sea at 17, left a posh yacht about the size of Atlantis II to join the crew of the original Atlantis in July 1952. “The ship was in a Boston yard and pretty scruffy,” he says. “I nearly walked off the first day.” He decided to stay the WHOI course, however, and has since sailed on every WHOI ship except the new Atlantis, serving several as master. Julie McAuliffe signed into Vaughan Bowen’s chemistry lab in 1963— Bowen was impressed with the discipline of her education as a chemistry major at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, NY. His lab was a world leader in investigations of fission-product radionuclides in the ocean. “Nuclear testing was still going on then,” Julie says, “so we monitored fallout in seawater and also, among other things, got involved in testing for nuclides after spills in various parts of the world.”
Julie and Mike met in Belém, Brazil, in 1966 when Julie joined an Atlantis II cruise for which Mike was second mate. After dating off and on for several years, they were married in 1974. Like many WHOI couples, they had to work out how to cohabit and coparent long distance, though their situation was probably more challenging than most because Mike’s job kept him away most of the time.
When Vaughan Bowen retired, Julie carried the extreme care she exercised in his lab both with laboratory techniques and the welfare of coworkers to Ed Sholkovitz’s lab. There she analyzed sediments and seawater for trace metals and helped develop early techniques for using then-new inductively coupled mass spectrometers. Julie continued her career at WHOI in the National Ocean Sciences Mass Spectrometer Facility and in Sus Honjo’s particle flux lab, and she received the Linda Morse-Porteous Award in 2003 “for her dedication to discovery and excellence and for serving as a role model to other women.” Julie retired at the end of last year and is currently enjoying traveling with Mike, quilting, and taking courses.
Mike was master of Gosnold briefly in 1968 and took the Chain helm in 1970, serving as master until the ship retired in 1975. When the Institution had Alcoa Seaprobe on loan in 1977, Mike was tapped for its command. Though officially attached to Oceanus for most of the next 18 years, he moved among the WHOI ships, serving where needed, until he retired in 1996. Mike shared a retirement party with his good friend Paul Howland, who joined Atlantis just a few days after Mike did—the two men followed similar career paths at WHOI, and they still get together every couple of weeks with a lunch group of port office retirees.