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Excited for a Busy Spring Semester

(Academics, Athletics, Extracurricular Activities and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Eshleman Photo Coming back from winter break this year was nowhere near as difficult as freshman year. I was excited to see my friends again after three weeks apart, and ready for the spring semester to begin.


This semester I am taking 19 credit hours. Two of these are attributed to my professional rescuer class where we get our lifeguard certification. So far this class has been a lot of fun. While I have never been a certified lifeguard, I have had many summer jobs working at pools/lakes being a pool “attendant” or working with rental boats, so it is a unique opportunity for me to actually get the certification. We currently are learning different rescue techniques for drowning victims, and while the class may seem silly at times since no one is actually drowning, I know the skills we are learning are useful for our future careers in the Coast Guard. My most difficult class so far is Dynamics. Luckily, many of Mechanical Engineering major friends are in the class/my company in Chase Hall, so, when collaboration is allowed, we can help to answer each other’s questions and mutually benefit from the process. While academics is keeping me busy between Dynamics, Advanced Engineering Math, Material Science, Professional Rescuer, American Government, and Morals and Ethics, lots of extracurricular activities are starting up as well. Glee Club just returned from a trip to Massachusetts where we sang over MLK Weekend at a high school, retirement community, and local church. Lacrosse season starts in the beginning of February, and I am hoping for little to no snow/cold so we can practice outside without freezing too much, even though I know this is unlikely. Spring semester is bound to be a busy, exciting semester.


More about Hannah.


ORCA Explained

(Academics, Class of 2017) Permanent link
Seaman Photo Hello! I recently had a prospective cadet email me with some questions about the Operations Research and Computer Analysis (ORCA) major, so I thought I would share part of my answer with anyone else who is wondering about it.


There are many classes specific to this major (mostly math). The major-specific classes I have taken so far are Multivariable Calculus; Linear Algebra; Differential Equations; Discrete Math; Linear Optimization; Probability Theory; Networks and Nonlinear Optimization; and Computer Modeling Languages. And I'm currently taking Information Systems, Mathematical Statistics, and Probability Models. I realize that might just sound like a bunch of words, but email me if you are interested in knowing what some of those classes are all about and I can go into more depth.


Aside from the major-specific classes, there are quite a few general requirements everyone must take throughout the four years. Major-related courses start your 3/c or sophomore year but a lot of times you can still switch majors during 3/c year because certain programs have a little overlap (many of the majors have to take Differential Equations, for example). Your 4/c or freshman year, everyone takes the same classes (Calculus 1 and 2, Chemistry 1 and 2, History, English, etc.). The purpose of that is to develop well-rounded people because, as officers, even if we are doing engineering jobs, the stuff we learned in English will help us in the fleet whether it is writing evaluations or something else. In addition, it allows you to see your strengths and helps with picking a major that is a good fit for you. Your 3/c year is when your classes are tailored to your major and then 2/c year is when you are really taking fun major-related classes. We also have to take general requirements throughout the four years. Those are classes like Physics, Navigation, Morals and Ethics, Criminal Justice, Government, and Maritime Law Enforcement. Everyone has to take Chemistry and Physics because every degree the Academy offers is a Bachelor of Science.


As far as ORCA goes, it is essentially all about using math and computers to make things more efficient, even with limited resources. Therefore, we take math optimization classes and learn how to program with Java to be able to solve certain problems that are brought to us. This major is very Coast Guard applicable since the Coast Guard performs so many missions, but also does not receive very many funds to do them. So an operations researcher would use their background in math and computers to schedule employees and distribute billets; allot aircraft to different stations; and find the shortest amount of time it would take a cutter to reach 10 buoys that need to be tended and go back to home port (important to save crew morale and fuel). In short, the application of the major is to find ways to maximize mission effectiveness and efficiency through logistics.


Your first billet after graduating is not major-specific; it can be attending flight school, serving as a student engineer or deck watch officer on a cutter, or working at a sector. Your billets afterward are really when you would start using your major. Also, the majority of officers go to grad school as well, so you could do a multitude of jobs in the Coast Guard or private sector depending on what your master’s is in.


I really hope this was helpful in answering any questions you might have had about ORCA. As always, if you have more questions, do not hesitate to email me.


More about Rachel.


A Whale of a Time

(Academics, Just for Fun, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hosley Photo Hello everyone and happy New Year! We just got back to school for MAP week, which is a week of re-adjustment to the Academy, which includes military and academic trainings. I am more than excited to be back and loved seeing all my friends again, although the adjustment is never easy.


Anyhow, I worked all winter break on my directed study project, which is a literature review for the Mystic Aquarium on stress physiology in marine mammals (just a Marine and Environmental Sciences major thing). Essentially, I have been reading what feels like a million very complicated and ‘sciency’ papers about endocrinology and stress in whales, dolphins, and sea lions. I can’t wait to present my findings to the aquarium in a couple of weeks, but I am so, so nervous!


The study has been a bit of added-on work this past semester, but it is more than worth it. I have had the incredible opportunity to visit the aquarium a few times, as well as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute out on Cape Cod. Additionally, my work for the aquarium has allowed me to get in the enclosure with the beluga whales! It really has been a dream come true. In November, I worked with a few scientists from Woods Hole doing acoustics, or sound testing, on Kela, who is Mystic’s female beluga. The experiment was very successful and a lot of important data was collected concerning the whale’s brain activity and ability to hear/interpret sound. I can’t wait to see what this semester has in store and look forward to continuing my work with the aquarium and the whales. Don’t worry, I “whale” be sure to keep you all updated…haha!


Please check out the picture of myself in the enclosure with one of the beluga whales.


More about Cece.


School Starts Again

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Dow Photo With fall semester 2015 in the books, and a well-deserved winter leave for the corps come and gone, it is time once again for school to start. Last semester as an engineering 3/c, I took Multivariable Calculus, Mechanics of Materials (both are engineering-specific), Physics, Ships and Maritime Systems, Navigation II, and Professional Rescuer. This semester is not much lighter with Differential Equations, Physics II, American Government, Dynamics, Engineering Material Science and Lifetime Sports. One great part about the Academy is that although some of the classes are very difficult and really challenge you, there are always other students here to lend a helping hand.


One part that is different than almost any other college is that the first week back is called Mid-Year Administrative Processing (MAP) week and while classes have not started yet, this week is one of the most important. This week is devoted to moving rooms (we switch roommates every semester here), as well as attend meetings and trainings for all of the cadets and faculty on order to prepare for the upcoming semester.


With the start of spring semester, I get excited because softball is right around the corner! Sports are the best way to blow off steam and get out of Chase Hall for a few hours after the school day ends. As a varsity sport, we get to go down to Florida during spring break to play games and get used to playing on a dirt field (New Englanders know that couldn’t happen in March up here!). We get to bond as a team and enjoy the nice Florida weather especially after the cold winters on the Thames. It is one of my favorite parts of the Academy (and the Coast Guard!); all the opportunities we are given and places we can go explore and represent the Coast Guard at the same time.


More about Emily.


Reflecting on Our Blessings

(Academics, Athletics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Haerr Photo Hey, everyone!


Since my last blog post in September, I have finished out the fall semester of my 3/c year and have moved on into the spring semester! It’s been quite the adventure. Cheerleading this past fall semester was exciting as we mastered new stunts and dances, and our squad is now starting to cheer for basketball season. Civil engineering classes were challenging yet rewarding. We had an exciting Mechanics of Materials class, and in the lab portion we were able to test the strength of many day-to-day materials with these hefty machines. I also joined the Equestrian Club, which provided a great external outlet for me and my friends as we got to go to a stable here in Connecticut to ride some horses!


This semester, the Class of 2018 will be preparing for Cadre Summer. Many of us are anticipating being cadre to the Class of 2020 and cannot wait to teach them how to succeed here at the Academy and in the fleet as well. I will also be participating in the varsity Crew again this spring, and I cannot wait to get back on the water with the girls. It’s moments like horseback riding or being out on the water in a boat that make you step back and reflect on all the many blessings we have here.


More about Kathryn.