For over 100 years, Massachusetts Maritime Academy has been preparing women and men for exciting and rewarding careers on land and sea. As the nation's finest co-ed maritime college, MMA challenges students to succeed by balancing a unique regimented lifestyle with a typical four-year college environment. As a member of the cadet corps you will live, study, sail, work and play in an atmosphere that encourages you to be your best.
Name: Emma Sullivan
Class Year: 2020
Major: Emergency Management
Minor: Homeland Security
Activities: MMA Emergency Medical Services (EMT certified)
Athletics: Track and Field
Experiential learning: Habitat for Humanity, Eustis, Florida (2017)
As an Emergency Management major, you participated in the Habitat for Humanity experiential learning trip. What kinds of work did you do?
At Veteran’s Village worksite, we helped build homes for veterans and their families, and learned firsthand how an organization such as Habitat for Humanity works. We also received a security briefing by Walt Disney World to learn about the different security measures they take to ensure the safety of their employees and guests.
What was a memorable moment?
The Walt Disney World briefing. It was amazing how much time, money, and resources are put into protecting the cast members and guests of the entirety of the Walt Disney enterprise.
Why do you feel this kind of learning is important?
An interactive learning experience such as this is vital to the emergency management curriculum because of the important lessons in leadership and teamwork. These lessons are essential for the future, and yet they can’t often be taught in the four walls of a classroom.
What was your top takeaway from the experience?
I’ve learned about the vast possibilities that exist with a career in emergency management. I had the chance to explore everything from the private to the public sector, a variety of different emergency management operations around the country, law enforcement opportunities, environmental opportunities, public health opportunities, and so much more.
What have you most enjoyed at Mass Maritime?
The people. After going through orientation, you become incredibly close to those within your Company. When I go into Mess Deck, there is always someone to sit with and eat. At night if I struggle with my homework, I can find someone who can help me out. If I have a bad day, there is always a door for me to knock on when I need someone to talk to. Your Company becomes your second family; you know they have your back.
What is your advice for future MMA students?
Don’t listen to yourself. I had doubts about whether or not I could make it here, but I refused to listen to them. There will be moments in life when you feel like you can take on the world, and there will be moments when you will think you are ready to quit. If you chose to ignore the doubts and trust in yourself and in your decision to come here, your confidence will be restored.
How would you describe MMA in one word?
Why did you choose to attend MMA?
Mainly for the opportunities that would prepare me for a career in emergency management. I was excited by the different programs such as MMA-EMS, the firefighter training programs offered with local fire departments, and the Habitat for Humanity Winter Experience. I also liked the fact that MMA is a regimented school and that values of discipline, knowledge, and leadership are instilled in all its cadets.
Why did you choose to major in emergency management?
I believe in living a life in serving others, helping others, and being an inspiration for others. I believe we rise by lifting up those who have fallen. A degree in emergency management opens the door to a wide variety of opportunities for me to help do that in careers such as disaster response, law enforcement, public health, and state, federal and local areas of emergency management.
What was orientation like?
I don’t remember waking up and being nervous the day I left for freshman orientation, but I began to feel anxious during check-in. When I was ordered to report, I was immediately running to the gym, squaring corners, reciting the Chaffing Gear, and receiving my sea bag. It was overwhelming, but I wasn’t scared. During the two-week orientation (with early morning wake-ups by the Cadre!), I was instructed in water survival training, rowing and sailing, and basic instruction in firefighting. The Cadre led marching practice, intramurals and classes, and taught the basics of surviving Academy life. I did a three-day mini-cruise to New York to get familiar with life aboard the TS Kennedy.
Standing in front of my family at orientation graduation, I had an overwhelming sense of pride in both myself and my shipmates for what we had accomplished. I no longer felt alone, as I did on the first day. I knew that my shipmates and squad leaders would always have my back.
What have been challenges at MMA?
I think it is a challenge for any new college student to start a new chapter in their life. It’s a big step to pack up and leave behind the family and friends. New beginnings are often scary, and it’s a whole lot scarier when you have squad leaders disciplining you.
How has MMA helped you grow personally, academically, and as a future professional?
I have grown a considerable amount since coming here. Orientation forced me to learn how to work with those around me regardless of the situation. I didn’t know a single person at this school, let alone anyone my platoon, before I came here and therefore had to work on my teamwork and communication skills. I had to learn how to ask for help when I need it, and to not be afraid to admit my weaknesses or struggles. I have acquired a great sense of self-discipline since coming here, which has both benefited me personally and academically.