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: Calvin Rookard Jr.
Class Year: 2020
Major: Marine Transportation
Activities: Fishing Club President, Yearbook Committee
Why did you choose to major in Marine Transportation?
I grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland, surrounded by water. Ever since I was a kid, I was always interested in navigating a boat. Later in life, I had the opportunity to hone my boating and nautical skills through a position as dock master, where I got to learn from highly experienced sailors (active and retired merchant mariners, active ship captains, individuals involved in the maritime industry). They helped me to develop a new plan to make a career out of the passion I had for the water. My friend, Josh Kilmon, helped me to finalize my decision to attend (2013 graduate).
What was your first-year sea term like?
There was a lot of curriculum tied into hands-on learning. Deck watch/maintenance curriculum was focused on navigation, weather, and ship security. Engine watch/maintenance curriculum taught the basic functions of the ships energy and propulsion systems, and maintenance aboard a ship. I was exposed to the real functions and responsibility of a merchant mariner on a ship.
What are your career plans?
After graduating, I plan to ship out consistently (work as many different types of ships as possible) to upgrade to a Master’s License. I ultimately want to land a job with the Chesapeake Bay Pilots Association.
How has the academy helped you grow?
The regiment has taught me some things about myself that I needed to clean up: attention to detail in uniforms, time management, regimental standards, and other functions that will place me at an advantage over other job candidates from non-regimented programs.
What’s your advice for future students?
Attending Mass Maritime is worth it. As you are making the decision, factor this in: It will be hard. It will push you to the max, and you will question yourself as to why you chose this academy. But it gets easier. You will work hard for four years, then graduate with the chance to make top dollar. Don’t lose sight of your goal.
What is one word you would use to describe MMA?
How did it feel when you first stepped foot on campus for orientation?
I was a little nervous in the beginning because I didn’t know what to expect. Orientation was mentally challenging: waking up every morning for PT, followed by a quick shower then a day full of classes educating us about the industry. While doing that we were required to learn and memorize the critical parts of the ‘youngie gear,’ then presented before the regimental leaders. But after, I had the sense of pride being a part of the academy. The military lifestyle made me feel like I was a part of a distinct breed of individuals who all sacrificed their freedom and free will to attend a strict military academy. I know that it was worth it.
What is one of your favorite courses and why?
Coastal Navigation: It covers the functions of a mate on a ship, which I will carry on for the rest of my career.
What have you most enjoyed about MMA?
I have enjoyed almost every part of it, but I have particularly enjoyed meeting new people who have the same passion, different walks of life, different perspectives, and different techniques.