Chris Mocella '01

    Major: Chemistry
    Undergraduate research:
    energetic materials/pyrotechnics with Dr. John Conkling '65

    My career position is currently Assistant Director for Operations at the Interdiction Technology Branch of U.S. Customs & Border Protection's (CBP) Laboratories and Scientific Services (LSS). In this capacity, I have the dual role of managing our Tunnel Technology and Digital Forensic teams while concurrently performing rapid technology assessments on chemical/narcotics-detection systems for CBP's mission (the days can be full!). I am fortunate to have the time to stay up to date on energetic materials that I studied at WAC, get out on my snowboard as much as possible, read a few good books, and travel with my family.

    Favorite Professors

    • Dr. Frank Creegan for the philosophy of chemistry
    • Dr. John Conkling for the self-confidence in chemistry research
    • Dr. Rich Gillin for the fascination of poetry
    • Prof. Kathy Wagner for the subtle magic of creative writing

    Fondest WC Memory

    Midnight Breakfast before finals. Everyone is so burnt out and amped up, it was like an indoor all-campus party hopped up on bacon and coffee, letting a bit of stress out before going back to resilient focus on the books...

    Let’s Hear It for the Liberal Arts

    It molded my educability to develop on my own a mastery of the basic skillset: critical thinking, communication/writing/presentation, ability to execute, organization, and time management. WAC exposed me to such a variety of endeavors and disciplines that have all, in some way, been helpful (and often essential) as I move along my career and my life. Any school can teach a technical skill, but WAC provides the open environments for continuous and true self-achievement.


    Follow your curiosity.

    Curious about the crew team? Try out! Curious about a drama production? Talk to the director! Take a class that sounds interesting even if it doesn't help your major. Talk to a person that seems curious even if you don't run in the same circles. "Follow your passion" always seemed so rote, like you had to *pick* an arbitrary passion and go in a straight line on that forever. But curiosity? Curiosity is broad and deep and endless, showing us so much fascination in this world, And be sure to share that curiosity back with the world.