Louisa Brunt is a problem-solver. At Wichita State University, she works through windy days, sand traps and the rough as a member of the women’s golf team.
In a few years, she wants to solve problems of a criminal nature.
“I’ve always wanted to be a homicide detective,” she said. “I’ve been so fascinated with stuff like that.”
Brunt, from Manchester, England, transferred to Wichita State from Texas Tech University to play on the WSU golf team and earn her master’s degree in criminal justice. She graduated from Texas Tech, where she earned Academic All-Big 12 honors three times, with a major in criminology and a minor in forensic science.
“When we’re all doing stuff together as a team, she thinks in the problem-solving mindset,” teammate Kenni Henson said. “’If we do this, then this can happen.’ Even being new to the team this year, she fills the role of a leader.”
Brunt expects her career path to take her into police work or the FBI.
“She is all about crime-scene investigation,” golf coach Tom McCurdy said. “She is wired for that. She could walk into any situation, and she would be the person you would rely on under pressure. Always smiling. Never rattled.”
Brunt’s favorite class is Homicide Investigation on Monday nights. She wanted an academic pursuit that kept her attention. Criminal justice — with its mix of science, technology, people skills and instincts — keeps her eager to learn. In a recent class, students discussed using dental science and bite marks in the 1970s, tools that played an important role in the conviction of serial killer Ted Bundy.
“If you’re a detective, you want to solve it to help people,” she said. “You’re helping them find a conclusion.”
Her class work and textbooks produce interesting conversations on the team. Brunt is intrigued by the crime, the science, the interrogations and the mayhem, while many of her teammates are alternately curious and horrified.
“She came on her (recruiting) visit and I recognized that we were very similar people,” Henson said. “Then I asked her about her major and what she wanted to get into, and she said, ‘Oh, homicide detective.’ I’m going into elementary education, so we’re totally different in that aspect. I would rather work with little minds.”
“She wants to teach young kids and I want to find out how people are killed, but we get on so well,” Brunt said.
Brunt grew up reading mysteries and watching crime thrillers on TV. Her favorite is “Vera,” a British series that started in 2011 and features the work of fictional Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope.
“I just love problem-solving and having to think about situations,” she said. “Solving something – that is quite the challenge. There are so many aspects to clues and evidence and suspects and time frames. Just like there is with golf – so many factors can affect you.”
Her problem-solving on the golf course is working in her debut with the Shockers. She recorded two top-10 finishes and one in the top 20 in three fall tournaments.