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Cadets Consider Their Own Beliefs with The Elenchus Fellowship

Stefanie Senkow
October 18, 2018

Elenchus FellowThought-provoking, engaging, sometimes controversial, yet always inspiring. That’s what cadets can expect from the Academy’s fall lecture series, the Elenchus Fellowship.

“The Elenchus Fellowship seeks to challenge our cadets’ thinking and beliefs. We ask them to engage in introspection about what they hold to be true,” said Camilla Bosanquet, Class of 1997 CGA graduate, retired Coast Guard Commander, former CGA military faculty and founder of the program.

Now in its 11th year, the Elenchus Fellowship invites a national leader to the Coast Guard Academy to interact with cadets, specifically Government majors, in an intimate setting, discussing hot-topic issues, humanitarianism and ethics.

“Cadets get this rare opportunity to be face-to-face with an often very candid public figure and ask honest questions and get honest answers,” said CGA Department of Humanities professor Dr. Richard Zuczek.

The Elenchus Fellowship has been held by a Secretary of Homeland Security, a U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a former Member of Congress, and a national broadcast journalist. Elenchus Fellows often have government, media and academic ties.

“It’s very cool of the Academy to invite these individuals to speak with us because we can think about our leaders more critically and not just blindly follow orders as we progress in our military rankings,” said First Class Cadet (1/c) Megan Jolivette.

In some instances, the Fellows go above and beyond their speaking engagement and take it upon themselves to give cadets an exclusive, first-hand glimpse into their work.

“One year, following her lecture, our Elenchus Fellow invited cadets to her guest quarters on campus to watch the presidential debate,” Bosanquet recalled. “She alternated between asking the cadets what they thought about each candidate’s responses and live-chatting with the inner-circle team of campaign advisors for her party’s presidential nominee!”

And although the Elenchus Fellowship may become just a memory to a graduating cadet about to embark on his/her Coast Guard officer journey, the program’s message holds true to real Coast Guard values.

“As Coast Guard Officers, we must have a broad understanding of the world. The Elenchus Fellowship affords the Academy community an opportunity to reflect upon the ‘why’ behind our service’s core values. Coast Guardsmen and women at every rank naturally engage in introspection; thinking deeply about our humanitarian obligations makes us better, stronger, and more capable first-responders,” said Bosanquet.