Charleen Heidkamp ’19
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Major: Marine Biology & Small Vessel Operations
Extracurricular involvement: Drill Team, Alpha Phi Omega, Ultimate Frisbee Club, Power Crew
What has been your favorite class at MMA?
So far my favorite class has been Basic Sailing with Cullen Teel. Even though I started the Academy with zero experience on boats, he doesn’t make me feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. The class is, after all, “basic” sailing. People come into that class from all different backgrounds and exhibit many different skill levels. Because of this eclectic mix, it is an interesting environment to learn from each other as well as our instructor. It also gives everyone a good opportunity to relax and enjoy the water.
What do you love about the MMA community?
Starting with when I arrived in Castine for an Open House in October of 2014, I was really comforted by how friendly everyone is. If I had a question about anything, I could ask anyone without worrying. I love that people on this campus help each other to be the best that they can be.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to enjoy my five years at MMA and be the best version of myself that I can be, constantly striving for self-improvement and the betterment of my community. I hope to be involved and successful within this community and use my experience and the education I gain here as a stepping-stone to reach my future goals. After graduating, I will be pursuing work in marine conservation with the ultimate goal of working in whale conservation. I hope to pilot my own research vessel someday.
Why did you pick MMA?
I was originally considering MMA because it is the only academy in the United States to offer the Marine Biology and Small Vessel Operations majors in one 5-year program, along with a regimental program that I could opt to be a part of. What really made me choose MMA was the beauty of Castine, the friendliness of the people I’ve met here, the support of the students and faculty, and multiple appealing opportunities for extracurricular involvement.
What would you say to a prospective MMA student?
It is important to know exactly what you want and to go for it. If you think that MMA has what you want, do the research. Talk to students and faculty on campus. Find out if this is the best place for you! At the Maine Maritime Academy, you will have so many amazing new opportunities. Be prepared to do the work and put in the effort to earn your place in the world. My best advice is to have a positive attitude and stick to what you’re passionate about.