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Employee Portrait Gallery—Vicky Cullen
Down to the Sea for Science describes the growth of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution since its founding in 1930. The book is abundantly illustrated from the rich WHOI Archive photo collection, and frequent sidebars and features provide a lively pace.
Vicky Cullen wanted to write a WHOI history for the Institution’s 50th anniversary in 1980, when she’d only been here for seven years. There wasn’t much interest in the project then, but patience paid off. Twenty-five years later, the first WHOI history longer than six pages has recently been published. It is the 184-page Down to the Sea for Science: 75 Years of Ocean Research, Education, and Exploration at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, with Vicky as author.
Vicky holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and English from the University of Nebraska and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. Having been the total staff for an insurance company employee newsletter and the same for an international community publication in Italy, she signed on in 1973 as editor of the WHOI Newsletter. The following year she became the first WHOI woman to have a “manager” title (though surely not the first woman to have a managerial role) as Publications & Information Office Manager.
Over the next 30 years, Vicky was responsible for a variety of Institution publications, including the annual report, the wall calendar, Woods Hole Currents and its predecessor Woods Hole Notes. She served as editor of Oceanus magazine from 1990 to 1999. She also did press and public relations, initiated the Exhibit Center in its present location, and was Manager of Graphic Services from 1983 to 1999, when she was named Communications Director. She worked with Ernie Charette on the renovations of Clark 507 and Redfield Auditorium, and monitors the Institution’s public spaces. Vicky was the Institution liaison with the design company for a large traveling museum exhibit, Extreme Deep: Mission to the Abyss, that showed models of WHOI vehicles and told the hydrothermal vent and other oceanographic stories at 15 sites around the country from 1999 to 2005.
As Director of 75th Anniversary Activities beginning in 2003, Vicky wrote and managed Down to the Sea for Science and was overall manager of the series of events organized in celebration of the anniversary. She currently holds the title of Executive Editor, with focus on the Web.