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Massachusetts Maritime Academy - Stakes are high at MMA job fair Admissions - Stakes are high at MMA job fair

Energy ran exceptionally high in the Massachusetts Maritime Academy's gym Thursday afternoon, where hundreds of graduating seniors wearing dress blues mingled with well-known companies such as Raytheon, General Dynamics and General Electric at the school's biannual career fair.

Representatives from over 100 companies and government agencies came from near and far to scout out potential employees. This week's event was the largest in the school's history, according to the organizers.

Andrew Smith, a 22-year-old marine engineering major from Marstons Mills, like most MMA students, expects at least one full-time job offer by his graduation in June. On Thursday, Smith took a lap around the gym and mingled with several company reps, but really has his eye on the Alvin Group at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he said. Smith was an intern with the group and hopes to land a full-time job there.

"Typically marine engineer majors are only expected to complete one internship. But because I was academically ahead, I took two," Smith said. "(The Alvin Group) was a wonderful internship."

The academy, which enrolls about 1,350 undergraduates in seven niche majors, was recently ranked No. 3 on Forbes Magazine's 2014 list of U.S. public colleges with best return of investment, according to MMA President Adm. Richard Gurnon. Within six months of graduation, nearly 100 percent of MMA students are employed full time, Gurnon said. Many companies will interview and hire students within 24 hours of the career fair, he said.

Maryanne Richards and Marie H. Huhnke, directors of MMA's Career and Professional Services, organize the fall and spring fairs every year.

About 30 percent of graduates are hired by a company that they interned or co-oped with and 20 to 30 percent are hired through connections they made at the career fairs, Richards explained. The rest, she said, usually find jobs through a tight-knit network of alumni.

That's how Rachel Johnson, a 2013 MMA graduate from Chatham, found her job as a safety and environmental protection specialist at G&H Towing. Last year, the Times shadowed Johnson as she walked around the fair searching for a job. This year, she is back again. Only now, Johnson is on the other side of the booth and recruiting for the Galveston, Texas, company.

"I got in touch with an alumni who works at the company," she said. "I interviewed with them in June, was offered the job two hours later, and moved to Texas a month after that."

Johnson is now seeking out more MMA graduates to make the move down South.

The president attributes post-graduate employment success on the academy's STEM curriculum, a regimental system of teaching and uniformity.

"In America, everyone wants to be an individual," Gurnon said. "But companies want to be a team. And students learn that here."

Johnson knew in eighth grade that she would attend MMA and said that she couldn't be happier with her decision. As for living in Texas, that took some adjusting, she said.

"It's growing on me," she explained. "It is definitely much different than the Cape."


Article written by: Haven Orecchio-Egresitz/ Cape Cod Times

Click here to read the full article on the CCT website!

View more photos from the career fair by clicking here.

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last updated 4-7-2014 by nsantos@maritime.edu