Cadet Spotlight: 4/C Aaron Jonah Smith (MENG - Huntingtown, MD)


Meet 4/C Aaron Jonah Smith, a Marine Engineering major who lives in Huntingtown, Maryland, a short distance from Washington, DC.  Aaron attended Plum Point Elementary School, Plum Point Middle School, and Huntingtown High School

When asked how her son developed his love of the ocean, his proud mom explained, “From the earliest age, Aaron visited the coasts, canals, and beaches of countries and islands around the globe.” 

Aaron’s family adventures took him to Panama, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Iceland, Japan, and the Netherlands.  His favorite recreational activity was spending time at the beach with family and friends. Aaron’s dad taught him to snorkel.  The pair loved exploring the coral reefs whenever they had the opportunity. In high school, his love of the water encouraged him to learn SCUBA, sailing, and take a course in Naval History at Huntingtown High School

Aaron’s grandfather was a commercial fishing boat captain in international waters and also had an extensive career on the Panama Canal. Aaron visited the Panama Canal multiple times while growing up and developed an early interest in maritime operations.

Aaron kept very busy during his summer vacations.  He attended summer camp at the United States Naval Academy, earned his basic sailing certification, and learned about maritime operations as an intern at the Calvert Marine History Museum located in Solomons, Maryland.  Aaron also participated in the Sea, Science and Leadership Program (SSLP)at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.  The goal of SSLP is to provide high school students with interactive, educational workshops that build confidence, challenge decision-making skills that develop and strengthen leadership qualities.

Watching and hearing about his grandfather’s and his uncle’s maritime careers, had a profound effect on Aaron. He treasured stories of his grandfather supervising tug and barge operations to maintain the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal. Aaron loved hearing about the challenges that his uncle faced while helping ships transit the locks and assisted many other areas of shipping operations.  These two great men helped lead Aaron to Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

Aaron would like to give a shoutout to students participating in the Follow The Voyage – Share the experience Program from Maryland and Washington DC.  He would also like to give a shoutout to students following from three of his favorite places to visit – Puerto Rico, Japan, and Spain.

Let's take a closer look at some of the places mentioned in Aaron's profile.

1.  Aaron attended a summer camp at the United States Naval Academy.   Check out the Academy's website!

2.  Aaron worked as an intern at the Calvert Marine History Museum.  Click on the video below to take a tour of the museum.

3. Aaron's grandfather worked at the Panama Canal.  Every four years, Massachusetts Maritime Academy's cadets transit the Panama Canal as part of their Sea Term.  The next scheduled transit is scheduled for the Academy is 2024.   

Would you like to see what it is like to be on a ship making a full transit of the Panama Canal?  Usually the trip takes 8-10 hours, but this video will take you through in just six minutes.  Hang onto your hat!  It's going to be a wild ride!


  • young Aaron on a boat with a lifejacket
  • Aaron looking at the Panama Canal
  • young Aaron standing by sailboats at the water's edge