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How Much This Place Has Changed Me

(Athletics, The Cadet Experience, Class of 2020, Engineering) Permanent link
Clara Beckert

Recently, the 4th class at the Academy, myself included, experienced an annual tradition called 101st night, where we become ‘swabs’ again for a few hours and it’s mainly compromised of a lot of yelling and a few push-ups. However, it was a sharp contrast to Swab Summer, when I felt like I drifted through the days terrified of everyone. This time I knew my cadre, and it was almost fun to get yelled at by them. As the school year continues, I realize how much this place has changed me. This time last year, I thought I had my entire life plan figured out, but after a tumultuous few months, I’ve changed my major, began a new sport, and found some new friends that I consider family at this point. I guess it’s all just part of the Academy experience though, discovering what you’re actually good at.

This fall, I started as a coxswain for the crew team, which if you’ve met me makes a lot of sense considering my size and love of being in charge. I’ve found it presents a unique set of challenges, as I never realized how difficult it truly was to be in charge of a boat with up to eight girls, and controlling everything that happens during a race. It’s a pretty good opportunity to develop some leadership skills that will come in handy in my future career.

I switched my major to Electrical Engineering fairly recently, figuring well, if I am going to be having a difficult next few years, may as well go for the major that I know will challenge and interest me in turn. So, in conclusion, the year is going pretty smoothly, just studying for boards and dreaming of carry-on at this point. And as always, if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email at Clara.I.Beckert@uscga.edu.

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Thinking About How Far We Have Come

(Choosing the Academy, Just for Fun, Class of 2020, Engineering) Permanent link
Amy Chamberlin

Hello future cadets! My name is Amy Chamberlin and I am from Wakefield, Rhode Island. I love to sail, hike, go on adventures, and hang out with my family and friends. I love dogs and have a Bichon Frise, named Alice. Attending a small college with engineering were two major focuses of mine. I knew that the Academy was right for me because I wanted to be challenged, close to home, and in a close-knit environment.

During the short time here at the Academy, I have learned much more about myself than I would have at any other school. Swab Summer was mentally and physically challenging for me, but when it was all over, I looked around at all of my shipmates, thinking about how far we all have come. The academic year has a very different “feel” to it, but in its own ways, it is still very demanding.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at Amy.M.Chamberlin@uscga.edu. Have a great day!

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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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First Phase: Eagle

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

The first phase of my 1/c summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye. I am sitting in the airport preparing to head out to Sector San Francisco after spending the first five weeks on USCGC Eagle. Eagle was a phenomenal experience. It is my third time being on board and honestly it keeps getting better every time I return. I chose to go for the engineering qualifications, as opposed to deck watch, and got qualified as an oiler and then an Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOW). This meant that I went on rounds of all the spaces throughout the ship to check on the various systems, did rounds in the engine room, and learned how to do all the collaterals for each. I also learned how to parallel generators, flush a reverse osmosis system, cross-connect different systems, and so much more. The crew on board are experts in their specialties and were so willing to teach cadets and help us learn more about actual applicable engineering skills.

Getting to stand watches for the crew made me feel like a valuable member on board, and while I am excited to see what this next phase brings I will miss being underway and being in an engine room. I am hoping to get to see some of the cutters out of San Francisco and nearby locations. Northern California is full of Coasties, which means reuniting with classmates and alumni that recently graduated. I am also looking forward to spending time with my grandparents who live nearby. Overall, firstie summer has been eye-opening and makes me realize how thrilled I am to hopefully become a student engineer next year as an ensign.

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Change is Possible

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

At the beginning of every new semester at the United States Coast Guard Academy, I always seem to expect that the previous semester and the new are going to be relatively similar. But no matter what year or season it is, I get a week into the new school semester and realize how quickly things change at the CGA. Last semester I had all engineering classes besides my Nautical Science III course. This semester I only have three engineering classes, and then I am also taking Atmospheres (a marine environmental science course), Personal Finance, Criminal Justice, and Personal Defense II. Overall, my workload, at least for now, seems to have slightly lightened. This gives me the opportunity to fill some of my time with what I choose.

So far, my days seem to go with school until 1500, workout until 1700, then dinner, Glee Club, meetings with the Guidon (the 2/c in charge of the 4/c cadets within Golf Company), and then more homework and bed. I applied for the privilege of being an MAA, or Master at Arms, for Golf and got it. This means that I work with the Guidon, one of my good friends, and the 4/c (freshman) to help develop them, while also working with the rest of the company staff to keep the company running smoothly and initiate new training ideas. What I am enjoying most about this semester is getting to understand how the Academy truly runs, and that the reason things get done around here a lot of the time is because cadets initiate and are it behind the scenes. It makes me realize that if you put the time and effort in, change is possible, and I can carry this lesson with me into my first unit after graduation.

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The Great Boat Race

(Class of 2018, Engineering) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

Another October breezes by at the United States Coast Guard Academy. I barely realized the month was over until, well, writing this blog in fact, because this is the first time I’ve taken a breath to reflect on the events of this past month. For this post I’m going to focus a little more on my major – Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. In my graduating class, there are only 23 of us. I really love that it is a small group. For our Principles of Naval Architecture class, our first truly nav arch specific class, we have a three hour lab every week. This week we started a three week long lab where we are going to create our own boat. This lab is called “The Great Boat Race” because for the last session of the semester we will compete against other lab groups to see whose boat has the best overall mission efficiency. The goal is to carry as many sodas (weight) as possible while still moving at a decent speed. We are using programs such as Orca3D to design the hull. At first we started looking at a double catamaran design in order to make our ship light and fast, but unfortunately due to dimension restraints on beam width we could not make two hulls fit with room for soda cans and space in between. So, we decided on a planning hull and we are in the midst of designing it right now. ShopBot is going to cut out our boat using a plastic material and then we will epoxy/paint it to get some aesthetic points. Fingers crossed the race will be a success!

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A Busy Second Class Year

(Extracurricular and Faith-Based Involvement, Engineering) Permanent link
Hannah Eshleman

Second class year has begun and the whirlwind of activities and events occurring at the USCGA is just getting started. This semester, I have 18 credit hours, but all except for four are finally engineering focused. I am really enjoying getting to concentrate on my major in McAllister Hall (the engineering building) for the majority of the day and learning about thermodynamics, fluid systems, naval architecture, and electrical circuits and machines. The workload is heavy, but I am interested in everything I am learning about, which makes it all worthwhile. My one class not in McAllister Hall is Maritime Watch Officer (a.k.a. Nautical Science III). I’m enjoying this class as well because it is extremely fleet-applicable and soon our labs are going to be moved from the simulators to T-boats down at waterfront.

Besides a lot of homework, my schedule has been busy with Glee Club. We have 30 performances this semester alone. Today we got the honor of performing God Bless America and America the Beautiful down at City Pier in New London. This performance was for a 9/11 memorial service held by the Groton Submarine Base. Getting to interact with a lot of Navy active and retired personnel, local police, and civilians on this day helped remind me how great our country is and how we truly come together, especially in times of need.

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As October Comes to a Close

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

The fact that October is almost over stuns me. This month has flown by. Between academics, fall ball lacrosse, and various singing groups, there is barely enough time in the day to get everything done that needs doing. My favorite class this year is Intro to Mechanical Engineering Design. Today, we finished working on our finger engines. The finger engine is composed of a flywheel, shaft, post, base, blades, lever, connecting rod, and crank. We made each of these parts out of aluminum or steel in the lab. The lab lasts for three hours once a week and the class is two times a week for an hour. In the lab, we get to use (for my first time!) lathes, mills, drills, horizontal and vertical band saws, and more fun power tools. It is by no means a boring class. Next week, we start making our unloader projects. We will work in a group for this project instead of individually. The planning process for the unloaders has been happening for several weeks, and now we get to make our plans and designs real. Hopefully, our designs will work to move rocks and pellets from one bucket to another with two degrees of separation.

Outside of academics, fall ball for lacrosse is coming to a close. We have a tournament this weekend, and then we start getting ready for the spring season with the strength training coach. Even in the last month, we have already started to work better together as a team as we get to know everyone more. For Glee Club, we had the Coast Guard Foundation dinner in NYC last week and go back to NYC for the Yacht Club dinner next week. Fairwinds (a girls’ singing group within Glee Club) finished working on a Mamma Mia medley, and I must say it is stuck in my head constantly, but I really love that we’re learning new music. As always, feel free to email me with any questions/stories/concerns/etc. Have a great day!

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