CGA develops leaders in the STEM field

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March is Women’s History Month . In honor of the many contributions women have made to the history of our service, we bring you the stories of the female leaders of the Coast Guard. This week, we are highlighting female cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy who are using science, technology, engineering and mathematics to design and shape the service’s future.

1/c Cadet Brockway
Cadet 1st Cadet Jennifer Brockway, a native of Lebanon, Pa., in a chemistry lab at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. Brockway was recently placed on the Board of Trustees List, the most prestigious honor at the Coast Guard Academy, and is among the top 1 percent in the rankings of the more than 1,000 cadets who attend the academy. U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class NyxoLyno Cangemi.

Technology is at the core of the 21st century Coast Guard. With more than 1,800 boats, 250 cutters and 200 aircraft in the Coast Guard, the need for professionals who can both operate and work on these highly technical platforms is fundamental to the service.

At the focal point of the professional expertise needed to excel in technology is STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. One place where STEM is at the forefront for Coast Guard members is the United States Coast Guard Academy. Coast Guard members, armed with STEM can become operators, inventors and designers behind the systems used across the service.

“I chose engineering because I like the technical aspects of it as well as the results that engineers produce,” said Cadet 1st Class Meghan Sehringer, a civil engineering major. “I liked the idea of designing and constructing buildings, roads and other structures. I also picked it because of the environmental side and being from Colorado the environment was always extremely important to me growing up.”

Captivated by science from an early age, Cadet 1st Class Jennifer Brockway hopes to make her impact in the Coast Guard’s living marine resources mission.

“I have always loved science. I am fascinated by the intricacies of the design of Earth and how delicately life fits together here,” said Brockway. “My fascination started early on, when I was living in San Antonio, Texas, as a pre-schooler. My mom and dad occasionally took me to Sea World. Ever since, I’ve been passionate about marine biology.”

As officers in the fleet, academy graduates will use their STEM knowledge base to enhance their operational experiences. These engineers and scientists will be in a unique position, as they design and create cutters, boats, aircraft and systems they themselves will operate.

“The connectivity of all of our academic majors to the day-to-day operations of the Coast Guard offers a unique venue for our cadets to make their academy experience come to life,” adds Kurt Colella, dean of academics at the Coast Guard Academy, recently acknowledged by Forbes.com as the 9th best college for women and minorities in STEM. “Whether it’s studying the organizational challenges of the tragic earthquake in Haiti, or assisting with the mitigation of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a Coast Guard Academy education is real, relevant and at the forefront of serving those in need.”

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