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DOT Chief of Staff Visits USMMA

KINGS POINT, N.Y. - On Friday March 28, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Chief of Staff, Sarah Feinberg visited the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point. Following a briefing by Superintendent, Rear Admiral James A. Helis, Ms. Feinberg joined the Admiral for a quick tour of the campus. “We were very happy to have Ms. Feinberg visit USMMA.  She reiterated Secretary Foxx’s ongoing commitment to the Academy.” Ms. Feinberg said, “At USDOT, we take our responsibility for USMMA very seriously. I enjoyed seeing firsthand the facilities and the capital improvements that are underway, and it was a pleasure meet the student body and hear directly from the midshipmen about their experiences at the Academy."

Ms. Feinberg toured the campus and became familiar with many of the courses and opportunities that are offered to midshipmen.  Captain Elwood Baumgart, Professor of Marine Engineering, demonstrated the Engine Simulator and explained how each engineering student completes a minimum of 300 days at sea and earns additional Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) competencies on the simulator.   Then Captain John Hagedorn, Professor of Marine Transportation, invited Ms. Feinberg aboard the Full Mission Bridge Simulator.  Ms. Feinberg was on the bridge during a simulated exercise aboard a vessel transiting New York Harbor.  Captain Hagedorn explained how the USMMA Sea Year experience and simulator experience make USMMA graduates fully prepared to take responsibility for a vessel immediately upon graduation. Dr. Jerry Doumas, Head of the Department of Math and Science, later showed Ms. Feinberg more traditional classrooms and labs.

After visiting the academic spaces, Ms. Feinberg visited the midshipmen living spaces.  She was escorted through the barracks by Midshipman Katherine Franchois, the Regimental Operations Officer, and the Midshipman Connor McGowan, the Regimental Commander.  MIDN Franchois said, “I was happy that Ms. Feinberg took the time to come to Kings Point and endure the rainy weather just to see the changes and strides the Academy has been making in the past year. It shows us, the midshipmen, that the DOT and Maritime Administration really do care about us and our education.”

The culmination of Feinberg’s visit was lunch with Regiment of Midshipmen.  The entire Regiment welcomed Ms. Feinberg just before she joined them for lunch.  Dining together gave Ms. Feinberg the opportunity to learn first-hand about the experiences of midshipmen at USMMA. “. MIDN McGowan, said, “Touring of our barracks and having lunch with Ms. Feinberg was a great experience. I enjoyed being able to share with her just some perspective and insight as to what is the daily life of midshipmen at Kings Point. I feel tremendous pride for our school whenever there is the chance to explain to any guest the many aspects of USMMA, whether the structure of the Regiment of Midshipmen, the unique organization and rigors of our academics, or the improvements we have seen at the academy in our time here. The Chief of Staff was interested in hearing about our concerns as midshipmen, what we would like change, and what has been most improved. I think most midshipmen would agree that it is great when external parties which have so much effect on our school take such an active interest as Ms. Feinberg did.”

Updated: Friday, April 4, 2014