This month, the Class of 2015 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy is preparing for commencement. Coast Guard Compass will be featuring a series of stories on individual cadets in the days leading up to their graduation as they prepare to head out into the fleet. Today we feature the story of Fulbright grant recipient, First Class Cadet Stephen Horvath.
Written by David Santos
The pace of life at a federal service academy can be a relentless uphill trek.
The goal is to employ a steady effort, and those who do well will not allow many disruptions in their stride. Stephen Horvath, a first class cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy about to graduate this month, is one of those rare individuals whose steady effort made the uphill trek look easy.
“He has the drive, intellect, and temperament to succeed,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ezekiel Lyons, Horvath’s Company Officer, supervisor and mentor for more than two years. “He has been a cadet that has consistently raised his hand to take on more responsibility at each possible opportunity.”
A Mechanical Engineering major, and member of the Men’s Cross Country Team, Horvath was recently granted a two-year Fulbright Scholarship. Shortly after graduation, he will begin a master’s degree program at the Lappeenranta University of Technology in Lappeenranta, Finland, to study renewable energy technologies.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States. Horvath selected the graduate program at LUT because the institution is a hub for energy research in Finland that will afford him the opportunity to immerse himself in the most current bio-energy research environment.
“In Finland, I will be studying biofuels and I would love to influence the way the Coast Guard uses them or views them in a maritime environment,” Horvath said. “Right now I am interested in a career in Prevention. In this field, I would be able to use the engineering degree that I will have within the Coast Guard either through maritime inspections or salvage operations. In the future I am also hoping to use my knowledge to help influence the laws and policies that the Coast Guard enforces.”
The San Diego native was also selected to lead the entire Community Service program for the Corps of Cadets in his senior year. In this position, he oversaw a team of 30 cadets that researched volunteer opportunities, took requests for volunteers from community organizations, advertised opportunities to serve, and provided food and transportation to cadet volunteers.
Groups of cadets were involved in everything from hosting Special Olympics events, and volunteering at firehouses and beach cleanups, to helping students in mentoring and tutoring programs in local schools. The collective efforts of the Community Service team helped the corps serve more than 8,500 hours of community service, and an additional 3,000 service hours at the Academy in the 2014 Fall semester.
“Mr. Horvath truly represents the spirit of service, the goal of intellectual curiosity, and the purpose of volunteerism,” said Dr. Alina Zapalska, Director of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Honors Program. “As he helps others, he too develops and benefits. I can only imagine how this intelligent and caring individual will process his diverse experiences and accomplishments—and what will be the ultimate result.”