It has been many years since I left the Coast Guard. Do you want to hear from me?

Yes! While perspectives of members who have left the Coast Guard in the past 10 years, within the first 20 years of service are a focus, responses from individuals who served at any time, for any length of time, will facilitate essential comparisons with and provide valuable context for those findings.

If I participated in the RAND Women’s Retention study or an earlier version of this project, should I complete the survey?

Yes! While the RAND 2018 focus groups and surveys distributed to USCGA staff and reservists by previous USCGA capstone teams have contributed to this study, you need to complete this survey for your experience to be reflected in the findings.

What is the relationship of this study to the 2019 RAND Women’s Retention study?

The 2019 USCG RAND study investigated issues that impact retention in the Coast Guard via focus groups with active-duty women and women in extended active duty (EAD) and Active Duty Operational Support (ADOS) positions. This work identified many factors that influence women’s tenure in the Coast Guard, many of which apply to all members. The current project extends the RAND study by soliciting experiences with the retention factors identified in the RAND focus groups from all Coast Guard members – those of all genders, members who have left the Coast Guard as well as those currently serving, reservists as well as active-duty members. Taking a survey approach enables comparisons among retention factors and between members of different groups (by gender, between enlisted members and officers, across rates/specialties, by tenure) that can help leaders prioritize various retention efforts.

Why are men included in a study based on the findings of a women’s retention study?

The items in this survey are based on the findings of the 2019 RAND women’s retention study. While some questions, such as those related to breastfeeding or berthing, apply only to women, the vast majority of findings from the RAND study are not gender specific. Basing the current study on the findings of the RAND study informs policy recommendations that make the Coast Guard more inclusive for all members, while ensuring attention to those that impact women, who leave the Coast Guard at higher rates than men.

Is this an official Coast Guard survey?

This study is being conducted by cadets at the Coast Guard Academy under the direction of their faculty advisors. While key takeaways will be shared with senior Coast Guard leaders, this is not an official U.S. Coast Guard survey and data collected will not be distributed beyond the Academy. The study has been approved by the USCGA Institutional Research Board and the Department of Homeland Security Privacy Office.

Can I share this survey with others?

Yes! We are trying to get the word out to everyone who is serving or has served on active duty or in the Reserve. Please contact for sample email invitations and social media posts.

Who else has contributed to this project?

This project is the product of the dedicated efforts of three successive teams of capstone cadets.


Capstone Team 2020-21The 2020-21 team included LTJG Bridget Boyle, LTJG Luke Childress, LTJG Brenna Farrington, LTJG Mary Ellis Goins, LTJG Sabrina Hackett, and LTJG Zach Stone.




Capstone Team 2021-22The 2021-22 team included ENS Lauryn Banks, ENS Matthew Fritz, ENS Ariyanna Jurkowski, and ENS Georgia Parker.





The 2022-23 team is grateful for the previous teams’ work that has made this year’s study possible.

1/c Jack Coughlin

1/c Kerry Naso

1/c Grace Loose

1/c Montgomery Rickey

1/c Tyler Ma

1/c John Walsh

Dr. Elise B. Jones
Assistant Professor, Management Department
CDR Matthew Williams
Permanent Commissioned Teaching Staff, Mathematics Department

Sponsor Family Application

Thank you for submitting your application to be part of the Sponsor Family Program. Your application will be processed in the upcoming week. Coast Guard Academy’s policy on background screening now requires all adults (everyone 18 and older living in the home) who volunteer to mentor, teach, coach or sponsor cadets, whether on or off Coast Guard Academy grounds, to be screened every 5 years. They are required to provide personal information (name, birth date and social security number) for the purpose of conducting a criminal background check.

The Security Officer at the Coast Guard Academy, CWO2 Gina Polkowski, is overseeing this process. Her email is:

Sponsor Family designations fall into several different categories. Below are the guidelines to help you determine how best to meet the background screening requirement:

  1. If you are Coast Guard active duty you do not need to apply for an additional Background Check. You will be vetted through the Coast Guard system by CWO2 Polkowski.
  2. If you are a Civilian working for the Coast Guard you do not need to apply for an additional Background Check. You will be vetted through the Coast Guard system by CWO2 Polkowski.
  3. If you are non-Coast Guard Active Duty, you are required to provide proof of your current security clearance or National Agency Check that is to be emailed by your Command Security Officer (CSO)/ Security Office to CWO2 Polkowski at
  4. If you are non-Coast Guard civilian who has a current security clearance or National Agency check, you are required to provide proof of your current security clearance or National Agency Check that is to be emailed by your Command Security Officer (CSO)/ Security Office to CWO2 Polkowski at
  5. All civilians in the families who are 18 years or older and do not have a security clearance or a National Agency Check are required to be vetted through Mind Your Business, the third party vendor hired by the Coast Guard Academy for the vetting process.

After you complete your application, please e-mail the Sponsor Family Program Coordinator at In your e-mail, you must include the e-mail address and phone number of every adult living in the home. The Sponsor Family Coordinator will then initiate the background check process and you will receive an email with further instructions.

Important things to note:

There is a Sponsor Family Training that is a one-hour training which we ask sponsors to attend once every four years. This training is designed to give you an overview of the program, what is expected of you as a sponsor, and what you can expect from your cadets. This training will also help familiarize you with the cadet regulations onboard CGA. You will be notified via e-mail once the training is scheduled.

The matching process of swabs to families will occur during July and August. Please bear with us and remain flexible through this process. There will be a meet and greet scheduled on Campus, typically in late August. This will give families an opportunity to formally meet their cadet if they have not already done so. Details on this will also be via email.

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