Cadet Named to Higher Ed Board

Cadet Bianchi

In an ongoing string of feathers in the Massachusetts Maritime Academy cap, we can now add another in the form of 2/C, Charles “Zach” Bianchi, who was recently selected from among some 20 candidates from across the state’s universities and colleges to serve on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) as the student member for the 2020-21 year. He is only the second ever cadet from MMA, and the first in thirty years since Robert Coughlin '91 served in the same capacity.

The Newton, MA native’s ties to Taylor's Point go back to his grandfather, former MMA Athletic Director, Bernie “Crusher” Gilmetti. Though there was no pressure to attend MMA, Bianchi soon found his way here as a freshman mid cycle transfer after realizing that MMA was where he needed to be. And after settling in, it did not take long for him to get noticed.

Regimental Commander Dominic Vaccari ‘21, who was Bianchi’s Squad Leader for that orientation saw it right away. “I met Mr. Bianchi during Spring Orientation 2019 as one of his Squad Leaders. Immediately I recognized that he has a natural inclination for hard work, helping others, and is passionate about the Academy and our mission. When I heard about this position opening, my peers and I thought of his name first,” Vaccari recounts.

In what was a very competitive process involving student representatives from across the Commonwealth's Student Advisory Committee members, Student Government (SGA) Presidents, and Trustees, Bianchi and others were interviewed in early October and among other things asked to voice their opinions on some of the Board’s highest priorities, including the Equity Agenda and other issues. “I felt pretty good about how I had done, and when the interviews had finished, all of us who’d been nominated were in a ZOOM breakout room waiting, supporting one another’s efforts, it was great,” said Bianchi.

Zach was sworn in virtually, and has already gotten his feet wet in his first BHE meeting this past month as he brings the issues from the student perspective to the Board. “While I am not here as an official representative of the Academy, I am in the sense that my MMA experience and perspective impacts what I am doing in bringing the issues from the wider Student Advisory Committee to the BHE. I love MMA, and this is a great way for me to be able to give back while the Academy gets some great exposure.” Bianchi's term will run through April 2021.