Charleen Heidkamp ’19
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Major: Vessel Operations Technology
Extracurricular involvement: Resident Assistant, Alpha Phi Omega, Sexuality and Gender Alliance, Schooner Crew
What has been your favorite class at MMA?
On the science side of things, my favorite class has been Marine Zoology because going out into intertidal pools and collecting our own specimens, then taking them back to the lab to identify was such a unique experience. On the deck side of things, my favorite classes have been Seamanship Lab and Traditional Vessel Tech. I loved learning splices and knots in Seamanship. In TVT we learn a lot about tall ships, rigs, rigging, and how to do work on traditional sail vessels. This is awesome because I didn’t even know that tall ships still sailed as much as they do, until I came here.
What do you love about the MMA community?
I love that the MMA community wants to see students become successful. Everyone is supportive and wants to be a networking tool to get you to where you want to be in your future. If someone doesn’t have an answer to my question, they know who will. Being such a small school, members of the faculty, staff, and administration know students as individuals. We get more personal responses to interactions than you would find at a huge college or university and that’s very comforting.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to enjoy my 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 probably work on tall ships for a while and eventually try to get involved in the scientific community, pursuing work in marine conservation. I would love to be a mate on a research/conservation vessel.
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 program. 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 the multiple appealing opportunities for extracurricular involvement. I ended up switching to Vessel Operations & Technology after a year in the Marine Bio/SVO program without a huge setback and I hope to complete a minor in Marine Bio, since there are so many interesting classes here.
What would you say to a prospective MMA student?
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 MMA, you will have 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. Come open minded and strive for self-improvement every day.