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Staying Civil

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Sakowicz Photo Once when I was in middle school, I told my father I couldn't do math because I was a girl. Girls weren’t made to be as smart as boys, and we sure couldn’t do math. My Dad was livid! He refused to allow me to believe that, and spent the following hour informing me that a woman could do anything, especially math and assisted me in finishing my homework. I spent the next six years sprinting through science and math classes eager to learn and prove my value, I was good, I could do it, and I knew it.


Flash forward to finals at the end of 4/c year, I walk out of my Calculus II final in tears, praying for a high enough grade to squeak by so I would not have to come back for summer school. I sit down at my computer with relief, only to log on and open up an email from my Calculus II teacher addressed to myself and my company officer. I had passed my final, but I had only passed the class by the skin of my teeth. The email on my grade could be boiled down to one heart wrenching statement.


"Suggest you consider a major other that engineering with the effort you’re putting in now."


I was destroyed, I had only just switched my major to civil engineering and it was all I wanted to do, it spoke to me. This email haunted me through my third class summer, followed me through every watch on Eagle and Dauntless, and on the train ride back home. The second my Mother picked me up from the train station I begged her to bring me to the bookstore. I bought a Calculus for Dummies book and got down to work. Every day I watched how-to calculus video and pushed my way through every problem in that book. There were four weeks until I started Multivariable Calculus and I was going to go into that class guns blazing.


It took almost losing what I wanted to realize how hard you have to work to have it and stay at the Academy. I took that email statement with me to class every day, it no longer haunted me; it was my motivation, my driving force. I worked hard on homework, went for extra help if I needed it, and crushed every test that came across my desk. Like Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing that is worth doing is ever easy.”


I can only now reflect on how important these events were, to have led me to my current station, a female Civil Engineering student, having passed the FE standing on the edge of graduation knowing that only 100% effort will get you what you want, no matter who or what you are.


More about Emily.


Lasts and Firsts, Same Inspiration

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Glick Photo This semester is filled with many lasts. We have our last PFEs, the last first day of school, the last set of classes, the last cadet assignments, the last spring break. It is also a semester of many firsts. We have submitted our first list of preferred billets, our first permanent change of station, and the first time that we will go into the Coast Guard as officers. It was surreal submitting my billet list, and coming to the realization of how close graduation actually is. It’s crazy to think how slow but yet how fast time has flown by here at the Academy. I am excited to see what the future brings, yet I am still making sure to enjoy the present—like passing my last PFE of all time!


This semester I am back on Regimental Staff, serving this time as the Regimental Chief of Staff. This means that I am the supervisor of the planning staff and affinity councils, and I serve as third in the cadet chain of command. It is a lot of work, but it is fulfilling to have the Commandant of Cadets’ ear on many issues facing cadets, and to stand up for what is right. What motivates me to wake up in the morning are the underclassmen that also get up every day to face their many firsts that they are experiencing. Despite the newness of their routines, difficult general education classes, and coming back from that first big break of their Academy experience, they too wake up each day unfazed and eager to face the day. Serving them as their leader motivates me, because if they are able to do it, so should I.


More about William.


Bears Baseball

(Athletics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Cannon Photo As baseball season quickly approaches one final time, I think it is good to look back on the things I have learned as a pitcher on the Bears baseball team. Three big takeaways come to mind when I think of the countless hours I have spent with this tight-knit group of guys, and it just may surprise you.


First of all, always come prepared with snacks. More specifically, bring snacks for the bullpen to enjoy. This duty usually falls on the freshmen pitchers on cold days out in the bullpen. Snacks include: Dots, Goldfish, chips and dip, and potentially pizza on a few occasions. The options are endless, but this always helps pass the time when the wind chill is well below freezing.


Second, your teammates are your boys. When I look at my class, we have not lost any recruited players due to one key factor: sticking together. We help each other stay out of trouble, and we develop bonds through trips like the one to Fort Myers Beach, Florida during spring break.


Third, you need to have thick skin in order to survive on a college baseball team. We roast each other on a constant basis, and the jokes toward each other are endless. At the end of the day, I will be a better officer from my experiences on this team. While we do enjoy giving each other a hard time, you will not find a closer group of guys on campus.


More about Colton.


Intelligence at the Academy

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Tousignant Photo There are several opportunities to study intelligence at the Academy. There is the Security Studies track in the Government major, which helps students gain an understanding of intelligence basics as well as determine whether they want to pursue an intel career. Our main intelligence classes at the Academy are Intelligence and Democracy and Strategic Intelligence. In those classes I have had the opportunity to learn about the different types of intelligence such as IMINT, SIGINT, GEOINT, etc. We have also discussed the problems of biases that affect intelligence products such as mirror imaging and group think. The main thing I have learned through my intelligence classes is the importance of analysis and exploitation.


As an elective I am currently taking a GIS course in the marine and environmental sciences (MES) department, which is essentially taking data and overlaying it on a map using the computer. I would suggest taking this class for anyone that wants to go into the intelligence field because you can learn how to create heat and density maps and other useful visuals that convey your intelligence products to the rest of the Coast Guard. I also recommend taking the intro to Arabic course at Connecticut College. The management department offers a class in cyber security and a capstone complimenting this course. Also, going through the electrical engineering (EE) department is another way to gain useful skills for intelligence; EE students have received internships with the NSA and other government departments working with intelligence. There are intelligence internships offered over 1/c summer that expose cadets to real Coast Guard intel and help foster understanding of the different intel paths that are available.


There are different ways to get involved in intelligence, and you do not have to necessarily be a government major to do so. In the fleet I have met intelligence officers who were ORCA majors, EE, or MES majors. It depends on the skillset you have and how you want to approach the field of intelligence. If you want to understand why adversaries act the way they do and get exposure to a language, then the Government major would be best suited for you. If you would like to do a lot of data analysis then you may want to look into ORCA. If you are more interested in cyber security, then the EE department would be best. There are currently a couple of positions being offered for cyber coming right out of the Academy. However, unlike other service academies, you cannot become an intelligence officer right away; this is because the Coast Guard wants us all to get an understanding of the operational side. Once you have an understanding of law enforcement operations, then you will have a basic understanding of what intelligence is needed in order to better support the mission.


More about Jackie.


Presidential Inauguration: A Humbling Experience

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Krause Photo This past weekend I had the honor to represent the Coast Guard Academy in a historic weekend for the United States. It was truly incredible to be a part of the events that surround the presidential inauguration. One of the most inspiring moments was getting to present arms for the President and the Commandant of the Coast Guard. I can still perfectly envision the blinding bright lights, booming voice of the announcer, and overwhelming pressure for a perfect performance the corps experienced as we passed the official party.


However, the inauguration was not only memorable due to our 30 seconds of national fame, but also because of the amazing memories I created with my classmates. It was inspiring to see the past four years of our training come together as the 1/c truly led the cadet contingency. The professionalism and pride that my classmates exuded was mirrored by all of the underclass and ensured that this high-profile event ran flawlessly. Being able to play a part in representing not only the Academy, but also the Coast Guard to the nation was a humbling experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.


More about Gretchen.