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Arctic Forum Events

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Roesch Photo As a Government major at the Academy, we are presented with multiple opportunities to attend some unique events. Recently, we had representatives from the Arctic nations convene at the Academy to discuss multilateral relations with respect to the Arctic. I was allowed to sit in on a panel discussion with the representatives to hear how each of these countries is developing policies in the Arctic. If you don’t know, the Arctic is an area of growing importance. Never before has the idea of using Arctic region for trade, tourism, or territory been discussed. But now with the changing environment, the Arctic has new importance. Each country has their own unique challenges facing them. It was extremely interesting to sit in and listen to each representative discuss how their country is impacted by the new opportunities in the Arctic.


The most intriguing idea discussed was the notion of search and rescue (SAR) operations in the Arctic. Improving rescue techniques calls for multiple agencies and countries to work together to best develop SAR strategies. I found this discussion so compelling that I have decided to use it as my research paper topic for my Maritime Policy class. As a soon-to-be officer in the Coast Guard, SAR techniques and how we can better them are very interesting and useful for me to think about. Who knows, maybe one day I will be the brains behind these operations! Either way, it is a fascinating topic to explore and consider. Altogether, the events that I participated in with the Arctic nations were an incredible experience that some undergraduate college students can only dream of having!


More about Allie.


Different Perspective

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Auzenbergs Photo One month into my second year here at the Academy, and I could not have imagined the difference just one summer would make. Coming back as a 3/c was the weirdest feeling. Being called ma’am, being allowed to look around and use all the “shortcuts” on campus like certain sidewalks and side doors, and wearing rec gear out on liberty as opposed to trops was great but odd! I have also realized how many small monotonous tasks the 4/c have to do that make each day that much more difficult. Now, not needing to do those things like clocks (counting down from 10-minutes to go until each meal), taking out the upperclassmen’s trash, greeting everyone who walks by you in the hallway, and studying for indoc tests (information learned during Swab Summer that 4/c are quizzed on weekly during the school year), it feels like there should be more time in the day. Keeping that in mind, my schedule is just as packed, with classes 0800-1600 twice a week, and a four-hour lab on Tuesdays and Thursdays, soccer practice from 1600-1800 Monday through Friday, and homework to fill all the gaps.


Getting back into soccer was easily the highlight of my year. I could not play right away when we came back in August, but after a month of strengthening, running, and getting my touches back, I finally played in my first game in a year this past weekend. Being on the soccer team is definitely my favorite part of the Academy, and practices and games are what I look forward to each day. The annual tournament that we play in was a blast this year – we travelled to Fredericksburg, Virginia to play the University of Mary Washington, and Randolph-Macon College. The team does a great job of keeping things lighthearted and fun, and this year we have a shot at a record-breaking season. The few hours a day spent having fun down at the soccer fields are what really help me get through each week, and it’s an added bonus when the team is doing so well!


More about Gabrielle.


Contributing to the Coast Guard Mission as an Intern

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Ellis Photo This past summer, I completed an internship at the District 1 offices in Boston, Massachusetts. The project that I was tasked with at the end of the school year was to update three of the Geographic Response Plans (GRPs) for the Hudson River. GRPs are basically oil response plans. Maps of this area had not been updated in many years due to the lack of resources and time. The old maps were black, white, and grey lines with very little information. My job was to create more detailed maps, with booming strategies, marinas, environmentally sensitive data, boat ramps, and possible oil spill sources. On the back of the maps, I included other information on strategies, pictures and important phone numbers.


I began my internship in the middle of June. Two days after arriving, I was sent to Albany, New York to begin collecting data for the GRPs. In addition, I got to tour some oil terminals in the area. I was in Albany about a week then headed back to Boston to start creating the new maps; 16 in total. After completing these, I presented my work to various members at District 1 and had a surprise visit in the middle of my presentation by RADM Fagan and VADM Lee. It was an amazing experience to be able to present my work to these people.


I once again traveled to New York but this time to Poughkeepsie. People from D1, Sector New York and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) all worked with me on boat trips down the river so that we could collect data for the maps. During my internship, I traveled 100 miles of the Hudson River, from Troy to West Point. After the final boat trip, I went back to Boston to finish my internship and plan for working on the project the rest of the school year.


Upon returning to school, I completed maps of the entire Hudson River as a part of a directed study. Since I was back in school, I was unable to take the boat trip of the final leg of the river, but I obtained the data from Sector New York and the NYDEC that they collected. After I was done making the maps of the river, I presented them to the Area Committee, a group that is concerned about oil spill response in the New York area. This committee is comprised of members of NOAA, the police department, Sector New York, the NYDEC, the Hudson River Marina and Boat Club Association, and many others. I have presented the maps to the Area Committee and have received their input. My next job is to make any changes there are to the maps and then have them reviewed again for final approval.


I am glad that I had the opportunity to participate in this internship and directed study. I learned so much about oil spill response, the Coast Guard’s collaboration with other organizations and all of the work that goes into creating GRPs.


More about Kayla.


On the Road Again

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Daghir Photo Hello to my diligent blog followers and also the people who randomly come across this page!


I am on my way (via coach bus) to D.C. for a Cyber Security Leadership conference. We just stopped in New Jersey and are now continuing on our journey. It is crazy that: 1. it is already November and 2. that it is almost seventy degrees. The weather has been beautiful and I've been trying to be outside as much as possible. I was so excited to take my coach’s dog on a run this week. I have also been going to yoga a lot thanks to Yoga Club, a club that enables cadets to leave school any day of the week during sports period to go to off-base yoga class. I practice in Mystic and love going! I did a yoga challenge for the month of October and posted a picture each day on Facebook of the designated pose. At first, I thought that my friends would be annoyed but when October ended, everyone was asking me about November! I am doing a movement challenge but I ran out of data...


Anyway! School is going well. Believe it or not, there are only three weeks left in the semester, none of which are full. In my major (Marine and Environmental Sciences), I don't really have one big capstone project but rather a smaller one for each class. For example, I have a project due in Coastal Oceanography, Polar Oceanography, and a research paper due in National Security Policy. It is a lot to juggle.


I am excited about the opportunities I could potential be taking this year. I am applying to participate in the model Arctic Council simulation held in Fairbanks, Alaska! It's during spring break and I will be preparing for the simulation next semester. I think that I am really finding an interest in the Arctic and I can see myself pursuing studies in that region after my bachelors.


Well, we are watching a movie and my phone might die but I just wanted to let you know about my crazy cadet life!


More about Lucy.


Decisions, Decisions

(Overcoming Challenges, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2016) Permanent link
Stowes Photo It’s midterms here at the Academy, which means staying up late writing papers, studying for tests, and catching up on homework. However, just like any other day, academic work is not the only thing on our minds. For firsties, the center of discussion is on ensign billets. Last week, we had morning training on the billet selection process, and I swear I have never seen more of my classmates awake and attentive during training than that morning. No one wanted to miss out on a critical date or any piece of information that might keep them from getting their dream billet.


I learned quite a bit that morning; however, I believe it can be boiled down to five important lessons:


  1. Be realistic in your selections. Our billets are determined primarily by our class rank. For co-location, the engaged cadets are assigned according to the lower class rank. To the number one cadet in our class, congratulations; that person is going to get his or her first choice unless there is some kind of extreme situation. For the rest of us, we have to determine which picks are realistic for us to get based on what the people above us in rank want. As a result, I have to talk to other cadets to see what they are selecting so that I can design a reasonable billet list.
  2. Everyone in our class wants the same billet. This is actually a joke lesson I have learned from talking to people in an attempt to gauge what people above me want for their first assignment. Apparently, no matter what I tell people I am interested in, at least 30 other people want it. If I am thinking about a buoy tender, tons of marine environmental scientists want the same thing. If I want flight… good luck (I don’t, luckily). If I want a fast response cutter (FRC) in South Florida, think again (this is actually what I want). I think this whole discussion is funny because obviously there are going to be a fair amount of people that want the same general units. There are nearly 190 of us commissioning and only so many billets.
  3. Advice should be taken with a grain of salt. A career path/unit that worked for someone else might not be the best fit for me. Everyone has different skills and preferences. I would rather do what makes me happy and worry about the career part later.
  4. There is no bad billet. I don’t think there is a single bad billet in the Coast Guard. Some of them might be less desirable, but we are a great service. If there are bad billets, it is because the command is not good.
  5. Needs of the service. Ultimately, our assignment may come down to needs of the service. I’m not bothered by that, though. I am happy to serve in the Coast Guard.

I have hinted at my ideal billet/career already. I want to go to an FRC, one of our brand new cutters. I want to go to South Florida because I want to be in the mix of all of the migrant and drug interdictions, as well as search and rescue missions. I will be happy if I get the FRC in Miami because I like the location there better than any of the other FRCs, but I would also be happy to get a different FRC or unit in Florida. My second choice is a ‘210 out of Florida. I say those two picks now as if I am 100% settled on them; I am not. I have so much more work to do asking questions of my mentors and professional resources. Luckily, there is no shortage of good advice in my life.


I am very excited and somewhat nervous to get started with my career. It should be awesome. We’ll see how excited versus stressed I am in five months when it is billet night at last…


If you have any questions, email me at


More about Hunter.