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Crunch Time and Thanksgiving

(Academics, Class of 2018, Marine and Environmental Sciences) Permanent link
Cece Hosley

Well, it is finally that time of year again and I can’t wait! Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday. I can’t wait to finally relax, see all of my family, and of course eat Thanksgiving food; but before the holiday leave period rolls around we have a couple weeks of crunch time. That is when, all of the sudden, you are just overwhelmed with major projects, tests, and papers that the teachers have to squeeze into their class schedules before Thanksgiving leave. This week has been a total whirlwind and I still have two days left to get through before leave. It has been especially hard now that a lot have my friends have already gone home early on recruiting leave, Chase Hall feels a little extra lonely and quiet. Plus they also love to send me pictures of them relaxing at home or with the new Starbucks holiday drinks in their fun fall civilian outfits, how insensitive! Just kidding really, we’re all just a little antsy to get home to our families.

I am very lucky to live so close to the Academy, but since some of my classmates aren’t as lucky they can’t travel home for this holiday. I always extend an open invitation to anyone who can’t go home for Thanksgiving; no one should miss out on the good food in my opinion. Now, the only thing standing in the way of me and that turkey is a five-page paper on the subject of a world without mangrove forest habitats in Southeast Asia for my fisheries biology class and a massive rough draft poster presentation for our marine GIS project (or geospatial information systems). For our GIS project we are correlating NOAA sighting data of right whales to the acoustic detections of the DMON buoy located off of Martha’s Vineyard that I have been working with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on for my directed study as well. The importance of the project is crucial for the conservation of the species and will be presented to District 1 and hopefully Headquarters so that the Coast Guard will take on the buoy project and continue with this valuable research. The whole project is very interesting, but also very complicated so it has taken a ton of focus, research, calculations, and mapping to put it all together so far. Anyway, I should probably get back to working on that… Happy almost Thanksgiving everyone!

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[MES]sing Around

(Academics, Class of 2018, Marine and Environmental Sciences) Permanent link
Cece Hosley

Hello everyone and happy fall! I wanted to take this opportunity to blog about my major (the best major) here at the Academy and that is MES or Marine and Environmental Sciences. Within my major, I focus on two of the three intended tracks which are biology, physical oceanography and chemistry (I study biology and physical oceanography). I may be a little bit biased but I promise I am not exaggerating when I say that MES majors have the most fun at the Academy. We are constantly in the labs doing hands-on dissections, or out trawling for fish on the Thames River. Any other major will admit that they are jealous of the countless field trips we have to the beach, the Inner Space Center at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, or the Mystic Aquarium. I also find that learning about the environment that we will be operating in and around as officers is not only beneficial, but absolutely essential to our futures.

The one thing about being an MES major that makes me a little bit different is my directed study program, which goes on outside of class. My directed study is focused on stress physiology in marine mammals. More specifically I am working with Mystic Aquarium to determine if saliva samples collected from the exhale of whales will be indicative of stress levels present in hormones like cortisol and aldosterone that are present in blood samples. Every Thursday afternoon I head over to the aquarium’s labs located on the UCONN Avery Point Campus in Groton, Connecticut. At the labs, I work on a variety of tasks for the project including the analysis of samples (from 9 different Beluga whales captured and released in Bristol Bay, Alaska) in the flow cytometer; as well as archiving blood samples from past veterinary records for the Belugas at the aquarium along with stranded animals that the aquarium has rehabilitated or blood samples received for other studies. Along with my lab work, I also get to travel over to the aquarium to collect the actual samples as well, which involves working with the whales, always an absolute dream come true!!

Along with my work with the Aquarium, I also work with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) out on Cape Cod. WHOI currently has a buoy deployed off of Martha’s Vineyard that contains a hydrophone and satellite system to record and transmit noise picked up in the vicinity. The noise we are looking for is whale calls. Based on the songs the buoy hears, we can identify the species of the whale in the area, which is especially important for the conservation efforts of the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. The website designed and created by WHOI is in the process of being turned over to me and a couple cadets for constant analysis and publication regarding the resulting species in the area.

Another thing I was lucky enough to participate in this past summer, which was associated with my major, was the discovery of the S.S. Coast Trader, a shipwreck off the coast of Vancouver, along with the team at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and on the Nautilus (a research vessel operated by the graduate school at URI). There is so much more I could say about my major, but I know no one has the time to read all that. Anyway, in conclusion, I could not be any happier with my major and the incredible opportunities I’ve had thus far here at the Academy. I will continue to happily [MES]s around here at school with my fish, my whales, and of course my homework and I hope to keep you all updated! Don’t hesitate to email me with any and all questions.

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Lax, Lax, Re-Lax

(Academics, Marine and Environmental Sciences) Permanent link
Cece Hosley

Hello everyone and happy snow day! That’s right today is February 8th and here at CGA we had our very first snow day of the 2016 winter season! All excitement aside, it provided for a great extra day to get some homework done and just relax a little bit. Speaking of “lax,” last week marked the beginning of spring sports season for the greatest sport on earth, lacrosse! I am thrilled to be in season again, although conditioning is pretty tough and these days we tend to have to shovel the field before practice... We practice six days a week and have been working on fitness like crazy to prepare for our upcoming games. Although playing a sport is a pretty big time commitment, I love the girls on the team and there’s no other way I would rather spend my afternoons here at the Academy. Playing a sport also gives us a much needed break after the academic day and before starting on homework. Lacrosse also provides some incredible opportunities in terms of team development, leadership lessons, and travel. This spring break we will be going to Colorado to visit the Air Force Academy and play a few games against teams in the area. I am super excited and hope we will have a little bit of time to hike and explore. During one of our recent practices, we had to stop playing so that the President of the country of Georgia could cross our field, along with his escorts and secret service. Believe it or not, the team actually got to take a picture with him! He was such a nice man and even mentioned how he had heard of us and our world famous lacrosse skills.

Also, as promised, here is an update on my whale project: so I was very nervous to present to the Mystic Aquarium staff, but I did and they loved it! I explained all of the research that I had done and even provided everyone with an annotated bibliography of the papers I’d read (there were about 10 people in attendance!). The research and development team then asked me if I could come up with some research proposals on my own for ideas I had or the type of work I want to pursue with the whales. So far I am thinking serum cortisol levels in saliva (sounds fun right?). I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the aquarium and I look forward to learning and working more with them in the future, especially the whales! Go books, go Bears, go lax! And again please feel free to email me with any questions you may have.

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Last (Hectic) Fall Semester

(Academics, Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

Today marks the last day of finals and the end to my last fall semester at the United States Coast Guard Academy. As I got to the end of this day, I finally realized that classes were done. I think it hit me so late because life has been so hectic this semester. It has made time fly. I have experienced so much in just these past couple of months. Academically, I started my Capstone project to design a medium icebreaker focused on scientific capability with little insight. Right now we are about to submit an executive summary of everything we have worked on throughout the semester. Working with my Capstone design group has been an eye-opening, challenging, and rewarding experience. Thankfully the people on the team are some of my closest friends at the Academy. We’ve had some late work nights, but I believe we have produced quality work and I’m so grateful for a group that is not only made up of my best friends but also works together well because sometimes that is difficult to find.

Outside of academics, Glee Club has had its usual busy fall schedule. Tonight we are performing at the Lessons and Carols service at the Chapel, which I think is one of the most beautiful performances we do. The candles, Christmas carols, and lighting of the tree afterward all puts me in the holiday spirit. It is a great way to end the fall semester and get excited for winter leave….which, speaking of, reminds me of how excited I am for the break! I plan to go skiing in Maine and Montana, find some good trail running in Florida, read some fun books, and hang out with family and friends. A whole lot of relaxation to ensue! Then come spring semester, I will be working in Golf leadership to create as best an atmosphere as possible for my company as well as finishing up senior year on a high note. There is a lot to look forward to, and I wish a happy winter holiday to everyone out there!

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I'm Designing an Icebreaker

(Academics, Class of 2018, Engineering) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

This semester has been a whirlwind. We were assigned our Capstone groups for the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering major almost as soon as we returned to the Academy after summer training. I am part of a group of four who are working on creating a medium icebreaker with a focus on scientific research. For the first couple weeks, we concentrated on creating our design philosophy, and now we are moving on to actually developing our icebreaker using Rhino, a computer program that allows us to build a ship hull. Initially, I experienced some major struggles using the software, but thankfully after many hours in the ship design lab, I am slowly becoming more proficient at the program, and it is amazing to see ideas come to life.

Our Capstone group has also undertaken a yearlong interview/photo/social media initiative with the Public Affairs Office following our project. Last week, we were interviewed in the Henriques Room in Hamilton Hall. We were given the opportunity to speak with the Public Affairs personnel about our project and plans. Getting interview experience and public speaking practice, I believe, will help me immensely next year when I become an ensign, and getting to hear my groupmates talk about their outlook on the project was eye-opening as well.

Well, I realize this post has been almost entirely about academics but, presently, that is what my life is most centered around. Don’t get me wrong, military trainings, Glee Club, Fairwinds, friends, and athletics are still an essential part of my daily routine, but like me, completing our Capstone project is what most first class cadets are focused on. Have a great week, and feel free to email me any questions about anything! Hannah.M.Eshleman@uscga.edu

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Excited for a Busy Spring Semester

(Academics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

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 my 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.

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Alaska Here I Come!

(Academics, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

We started April off with the excitement of switching back to Tropical Blue uniforms from Standard Dress Bravos. The weather is finally getting warmer and I felt the sun on my face for the first time in ages. April marks a lot of exciting things for fourth class. We just received wardroom “carry-on” so we do not have to square our meals anymore. Everyone in the Class of 2018 has passed boards, so full carry-on is hopefully on its way. It is crazy that fourth class year is almost over. This summer I am headed to Ketchikan, Alaska for five weeks at a small boat station, then on to Eagle for six weeks after that. I am excited to get fleet experience. Alaska is surprisingly not as cold as one may think in the summer. Ketchikan is in the 60s during the day. It is also the salmon capital of the world and surrounded by a national forest, so in my free time I would love to go hiking, fishing, etc.

Right now I am focusing on finishing out the year strong with the last round of tests/finals approaching. This semester has been insanely busy between playing water polo, Glee Club, military obligations, and a heavy workload. When I think back to how far I have come since R-Day ten months ago, the amount I have learned and accomplished shocks me. I am super excited for this summer and my next few years at the CGA. As always, feel free to email me with any questions! Hannah.M.Eshleman@uscga.edu

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Finals, Break and Returning to the Academy

(Academics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2018) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

So the first semester has come and gone. It is hard to believe that I am 1/8 of the way through my journey at the USCGA. Although I may have never thought on R-Day that I would make it this far, it has been one heck of a roller coaster ride. Finals approached right before winter leave. One difference I noticed between civilian college and the USCGA is that finals week is a lot more enjoyable at the Academy! While civilian college students cram to learn months’ worth of materials in one night, cadets here (including myself) use the free time during the day to study, but not having sports, extra military obligations, clubs, or classes makes finals week a bit more relaxing than the normally hectic work days.

Once finals were finished, I booked a train out of New London and went back home to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was great to be home. I saw family from all over the country and spent a lot of time relaxing and enjoying the time with old friends. I have heard that coming back to the Academy after winter leave is not enjoyable for fourth class, but honestly coming back was not difficult since I knew all of my friends are like family here and I would get to see them once I walked back in through the doors.

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