Paying Attention to the Details

Salome Veolia

There may not be a course dedicated to mastering this skill, but the “how tos’ ” of this expertise permeate almost all academic offerings at the Academy.  It is one of many things that set MMA grads apart from others.  Fast-paced work environments, complex tasks and evolving technologies can often make it a challenge to pay attention to detail. But overlooking details can be costly, detrimental to the quality of your work product, or in some cases, even dangerous. 

2010 Marine Safety and Environmental Protection major, Salome Maldonado believes that attention to detail was one of the most important things she learned at the Academy.  “I work for Veolia North America’s Energy Division, a large company dedicated to environmental remediation, waste management and recycling, drinking and wastewater treatment and energy production. We are a private utility that owns and operates the heating and cooling district in Boston and Cambridge, MA. I’m assigned to the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Department, responsible for the training and safety of about 100 people, most of whom are in Boston. I am also accountable for the management of the environmental permits we have to maintain in order to operate the Boston steam generating plants. On any given day, I work on site safety inspections tasks and training sessions, to procedure updates and development, to the occasional emergency response, and lots and lots of paper work and filing. A big part of my job is bringing together the operations and maintenance departments to address safety issues or prepare for big projects and outages,” she recounted.  “I would be lost without knowing how to deal with details,” she added.

“It is also one of my favorite skills and the one I use the most,” she went on. “ I do not like to leave questions unanswered. I like to prepare for everything. At MMA I also learned to be a follower before becoming a leader. So, in those times when I felt like I was lost, I listened. When I couldn’t figure something out, I asked questions and when I needed to get something going and was confronted with resistance, I became relentless. I am not the most outgoing of people but I learned not to be shy when I need to get something done. Going to a school where the women were a minority also helped. I now work mostly with men who are older than me. Having learned to work with men as equals made it a little bit coax them to work with me and follow the rules. The communication skills I gained when I was a squad leader and Regimental Officer have definitely helped me be a better public speaker and to communicate clearly and with intention,” Maldonado finished.

This savy young grad learned early on that the details of picking a college is not just choosing a major and classes from a catalog.  It’s reading between the lines and finding a set of life skills that will serve you well as you go forward.