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.
He's Been There
1/C Nathan Moreira was a self-described “goof” in high school. The Academy’s first Regimental Commander of color, Moreira’s path from North Providence, RI to Buzzards Bay finds him at the pinnacle of leadership positions at Mass Maritime. But four years ago, he barely gave the school a second look as the thought of wearing a uniform within a regiment was the last thing he could ever see himself doing. “I thought I knew everything…I knew nothing.”
Raised in a single parent household, he’s the second youngest of four siblings - all of them sisters - and brings to his position a perspective that many may never have considered, or experienced. And while he did not see himself on Taylor’s Point, his mother did, but the transition was extremely difficult. “Orientation was a battle.” he recalls, “and I had serious doubts about staying, I wanted out.”
For a kid who many might agree had a couple of strikes against him before even stepping on campus…it would have been easy to jump ship. But he stayed, “pushing through” those doubts, wherever and whenever they came. “It’s the first few days…then the first few weeks…then the first semester, the first year. And somewhere in there I realized that likely the toughest part was behind me.”
It’s that journey which informed Moreira’s beliefs about what he and his staff will do this year, most importantly during Orientation when the new charges are learning the ropes. Leading “from the back”, Moreira refuses to micromanage, allowing those who work directly with the cadet-candidates the latitude to get the job done, and make sure it gets done well. Because in the end if the cadet-candidates succeed, then the leadership knows it has as well.
“Parents come here that first day and they give us their kids…70 in a company…and they want us to teach them the rights from the wrongs, not just about MMA, but about life. We realize that we have to do things differently to stay relevant. These kids aren’t just taking marching orders, they’re asking questions. As leaders entrusted with their care, we need to be very aware of the fact that there are different ways to inspire and motivate.”
The regiment is about common goals and overcoming obstacles together as one unified team, building trust and rapport throughout the process. “However,” says Moreira, “our job now as leaders is to also find out what makes them tick…where they’re from…what they’ve been through. Because as we all know…everyone has a story, right?”