After taking several Scheller Teacher Education Program classes as an MIT undergraduate, Wendel officially joined STEP as a Master of Engineering student under Professor Klopfer’s supervision in 2005, taking on the task of rewriting StarLogo TNG’s terrain system and much of its 3D rendering system. After graduation and a brief stint as a systems engineer in the defense industry, Wendel returned to STEP as a staff member to help lead the then-newly-formed Imagination Toolbox project, which aims to increase student interest and ability in STEM subjects through the use of computer tools like StarLogo TNG. Wendel continues to work as a software developer, curriculum designer, and research manager for several projects in STEP and The Education Arcade, and also takes his role as a student supervisor and mentor seriously. He’s worked closely with more than 40 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and MEng students who’ve contributed in countless ways to STEP and The Education Arcade.
The Turtle is the central actor of Logo, a pioneering computer language that gave elementary school students the opportunity to become computer programmers. This particular turtle, though, is a handmade gift from Daniel’s wife, who is a better programmer than he is.