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Summer Internships at USCGA

Taking Hands-On Experience To The Next Level

Stefanie Senkow
May 29, 2018

Summer Internships at USCGAA cadet summer is unlike any other. While most college students take these leisure months to unwind, first class cadets at the United States Coast Guard Academy are winding up, as they embark on extraordinary internship programs that challenge their minds, sharpen their skills and prepare them for future success.

Marine & Environmental Science major First Class Cadet (1/c) Kiera Harrison is one of two cadets participating in a first-of-its-kind internship in Springfield, VA with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). 1/c Harrison is currently evaluating ship detection data for real Coast Guard operations for this organization that gives policy-makers, war fighters, intelligence professionals and first responders a decisive advantage.

1/c Harrison became fascinated with geographic information systems (GIS) while taking an introductory class at the Academy. “In the class, I used ArcGIS mapping software to study Superfund sites and their proximities to nearby rivers in order to see if there were any correlations between the water sources and cancer cases in the surrounding communities,” said 1/c Harrison, prior to starting her internship.

Government major 1/c Ethan Goldcamp joins 1/c Harrison at NGA, and although his major is different, he is exploring geospatial science as it relates to his course of study.

“Geospatial science is also applicable to areas in government like policy-making, and I’m excited for the challenge to try something new,” said 1/c Goldcamp before leaving for VA.

Nearly two weeks into their NGA internship, both cadets have experienced so much.

“We have had the opportunity to meet the Coast Guard intelligence officers who are stationed in NGA. We were briefed on how they provide support for all of the Coast Guard missions and how the information they provide can be helpful to Coast Guard units around the world,” says 1/c Harrison.

“In addition to being an incredible hands-on experience for our cadets, these summer internships lead to Coast Guard Academy faculty involvement and expanded opportunities for research collaborations,” says Marine & Environmental Sciences Professor Karina Mrakovcich.

Mrakovcich also mentions that some of these programs extend into more in-depth research projects undertaken by 1/c cadets after the completion of their internship.

1/c Kayla Ishida’s summer internship travels will take her to the Pacific Ocean this July, where she will be volunteering at a marine science camp, educating the community and working with local government leaders to raise awareness on topics such as climate change.

“I’m really looking forward to the cultural experience and making a contribution to the community,” 1/c Ishida commented when asked what appealed to her most about this venture.

In addition to her leadership role, 1/c Ishida will also be applying her GIS knowledge to a research project detailing the predicted effects of sea level changes on the economy and structures of Ebeye Island.

Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering summer internship coordinator Commander John Goshorn confirms that cadets are eager to get out of the classroom and see how it all comes together in the real world. Between the insights students gain towards future career paths and the networking connections made within the various Coast Guard communities, the Academy’s summer internship experience is unmatched.

“Cadets in these highly competitive internships will jump right into solving Coast Guard challenges; from reviewing commercial vessel stability documents, to outfitting Coast Guard vessels with vibration monitoring and sensing equipment, or better understanding industrial operations by walking the production floor of the Coast Guard's newest ship acquisitions! The fleet demand for cadet interns is always high, as cadets bring unique vision and outside-the-box approaches to difficult problems.”

1/c Hannah Waddell is at the Project Residence Office in Lockport, LA where the new Fast Response Cutters (FRC) are being built. She is learning how new cutter designs are actually built and delivered to the fleet.

“There are very few opportunities to be able to interact with and learn so much from the people who have seen and done the most in the fleet. I have the opportunity to help with inspecting the work on cutters, see the different levels of construction on close to 10 separate FRCs, and help deliver a new cutter to Key West where the Coast Guard will officially receive it from Bollinger Shipyard. The main project of the internship is redesigning the laundry facility onboard. This is a project that uses my naval architecture and marine engineering education to create a possible improvement to the operational Coast Guard fleet,” says 1/c Waddell.

From using geospatial intelligence for ship detection, to predicting climate change patterns in the Pacific and redesigning ship mechanics, summer internships at USCGA take hands-on experience to the next level.