MMAPA 3rd Quarter Meeting
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Blinn Hall, MMA

Meeting called to order at 1830 (6:30 pm)

MMAPA Board Members Present: Leanne Avakian, Ann Marie Seier, Carol Eccleston, Marie Rossi, Marianne MacLeod, Marilyn Cyr, Deirdre MacInnis and Kim Farber.

General Membership:                  11 members present and 8 Board Members, 5 Cadets, Alumni, parents, friends & families and 2 MMA Staff, 19 Chinese Students with many others via video/telephone/conference.

Welcome Address:  President Leanne Avakian welcomed alumni, parents & friends both present and via video/phone conference.  Members of the Executive Board introduced themselves.

Capt. Brad Lima VP of Academic Affairs – Multicultural & International Affairs

He introduced 19 Chinese Cadets studying at MMA Spring semester.   There are two schools that MMA has an exchange program with. They are Shanghai University & Dalian Maritime. MMA Sophomores travel in their spring semester. Their classes are taught in English in China. Capt. Lima explained what happens with exchange students and the process they undergo upon arrival to MMA. Chinese Cadets experience a 5 day orientation, a shorter version similar to what the incoming freshman learn in 2 weeks.   Cadets go through PT which most do not like at first, but get used to quickly.   The exchange students introduced themselves using their Chinese name and then their English name and talked a little about themselves and what has impressed them to date at the Academy and their experience in the USA.  These Cadets study for one semester and all their classes are taught in English.

Ann Marie Seier, MMA PA, Vice Pres. shared a story. Her son was able to go to Shanghai University as an alternate. He loved the experience and had a lot of fun with many stories to share. She highly recommended the experience.

Capt. Lima – VP of Academic Affairs. – Changes in the Curriculum

He explained his experience in his role and the upcoming changes in the curriculum.

– Usually all freshmen have to go on Sea Term, however, starting this fall, 2015, students will choose a      major before they start.

– Not all freshmen will have an At-Sea experience.

– There is a hand-out for anybody who didn’t make their Sea Term experience and still need to have it.

– This is a transitioning program and they will be afforded the opportunity to do an extra co-op or do an              extra 3-credit course. The course will be taken during an academic semester, so there will be no extra fee.

– Next year’s freshman class is anticipated 450 students.

–  All coast guard license tracked students will be on the ship.

PQ=Parent Question

Capt. Lima asked if anyone had any questions.

PQ-Can they change their major afterwards?   Yes. Courses can transfer over. Over last 8 years academic standards have been raised. Engineering students will need a C- in Algebra/Trig.   Retention rates are great. 98% of cadets are employed within three months after graduation.

PQ-Is there a threshold i.e., GPA for kids to come in?   Yes, but it is set on a sliding scale. As long as you meet the admission standards, you can be accepted. MMA sends approximately 650 acceptance letters. Not everyone will choose to come here.

PQ-Will there still be a Mini-Cruise during orientation?   Yes.

PQ-Will it be a week long?   Right now MMA is trying to make it balance without trying to get students in here any earlier. There is a very tight window to squeeze in everything that is offered throughout the summer. All incoming freshmen will go on the mini cruise.

PQ-How many spots are in the exchange program?   25 cadets with 4 cadets at Dalian Maritime. Cadets usually try to get one semester of Chinese language before departure.

PQ-Can any major go on this trip?   Yes.

PQ-Regarding Graduation – Do you have percentages of seniors that are on track to graduate vs. go with a rule of one, or do they have to stay?   50% will graduate on time.    12% will fall into anywhere from the “one course to another year” category. As long as they are not more than one course or one co-op of graduation, they can still participate.   If students are out of cycle, they have to be patient.

The Coast Guard hands out the license, not MMA.

PQ-What is “rule of one”?   This means you can participate in graduation as long as, as of that date, you are not more than one course or co-op shy of your degree.   It allows students who, for whatever reason, didn’t get all their academics completed, to attend graduation, and can be in uniform, cross the stage and receive an empty diploma. Everybody that satisfies graduation requirements up to December will be in the May cycle.

PQ-Do cadets get academic advice?   Yes, they cannot get their courses for the next semester without seeing their advisor. Some students take 18 credits in a semester, 12 is considered a full load, but they could be a course shy. There may be prerequisites that have to be satisfied so this could be a problem for the cadets to take courses. Sometimes graduation is delayed by a semester. There has been a 70% graduation rate over the last six years.

PQ-Is there any way we know if our cadet is on academic probation?   A letter is sent home addressed to the cadet. I strongly suggest keeping communications up with your cadet.

With no further questions, we thanked Capt. Lima for coming to our meeting and sharing this important information with us.


Capt. Ed Rozak – Commandant of Cadets   With Cadet support, Capt. Rozak shared a slide show from the beginning of on-load through the end of the Sea Term 2015.   Everyone enjoyed it and had the opportunity to learn more about what their cadet experienced. He wanted to point out 2 important facts that made the 2015 Sea Term a huge success.

  1. The Medical Staff/ Health Services

“We want to leave MMA healthy otherwise 700 people are sick in 3 days!”

As planned our Medical Staff did a great job as this is the key to a happy and healthy Sea Term! There were only six cases of the flu. Preventive measures are taken seriously to keep this problem down to an absolute minimum.  No reported cases of day biting mosquitos (that carry Chikungunya). No GI series reported for anyone on board. Last year (Sea Term 2014) there were well over 300 cases.   An illness can travel through an entire ship in a very short time. Pre-screening is a big factor and helps reduce the risk.   When the ship is in port – mosquito spray and sun block are properly used. Everyone is sanitized before coming back on board the ship. Education and preventive measures are the key.

  1. Cadet Transfers – This year, for the first time, there was a switch – out in San Juan, PR.   It was nerve wracking as the Academy had never done it before and there were lots of moving parts in this delicate process. We had 138 cadets for the second group, here at the Academy. They were checked in and educated on different topics and flown down to San Juan on a private Charter Flight with Jet Blue. 137 cadets flew back. It was absolutely flawless! Mike Kelly and company did a great job back here and Ed Pinero and Steve Kelliher did a great job in San Juan. Job well-done!

Sea Term 2015 was a huge success. There were 580 students and only one cadet was sent home, which really doesn’t count due to that person had some medical issues prior to getting there and was sent back home upon arrival in San Juan.

Receptions were held at ports. Local FEMA Group II out of New Jersey and New York came on board. They had a tour and were briefed on our training ship.

Weather for the entire trip was excellent. However, the ride home was a little bumpy but certainly gave the Cadets the full experience of the various weather conditions on the open ocean.

“Sunday at Sea”   When the ship has a “Sunday at Sea”, Chartwells, our contracted food service provider, served the following volume of food:   2,000 hamburgers, 800 hot dogs, 40 gallons of baked beans, 40 watermelons, 725 strip steaks, 300 beef briskets, 94 pineapples, 500 ears of corn and 75 gallons of ice cream.

PQ-Where is the ship going next year?                  The cycle has us going down south through the Panama Canal and an equator crossing. There are a lot of things that can happen between now and then.

PQ-Any idea what the cost per day when at sea is?    Fuel-wise every day – cost of fuel this year, because we didn’t really go anywhere, was a little over $400,000. Fuel cost is typically somewhere between $900,000-$1,000,000. The switch-out caused to us to stay close. We were in port for 5 days in San Juan. In the past we are only in port for 3 days.

PQ-Did the ship run some at-sea tests on way home?    Yes, we had a MARAD representative onboard and did a speed test for 8 hours. Speed test and vibration analysis. The ship was going up to 22-23 knots – “flying”… It’s pretty cool to go that fast. It was noted for those who were following our voyage.

PQ-Cadets were handling engine room?    We piped it and hoped a lot of cadets took advantage of seeing this opportunity.

PQ-Was the ship getting tossed around during the speed test? No.

Ship will go on a sea trial after going into dry-dock.

PQ-Do you know where it will go?   It has not been decided yet.

With no other questions from parents, President Avakian thanked Capt. Rozak for his Sea Term experience and knowledge with parents tonight.

Lt. Cdr. Ed Pinero, Company Officer for Sixth Company                      MMA Yearbook discussion & answer parents’ questions.  He introduced two individuals present tonight who will speak about exactly what is in the yearbook and how to purchase a yearbook.

Editor 3rd Class Genevieve Devine – She explained the yearbook committee composed of students, and what they do. The MMA yearbook is called “The Muster” and is about 140 pages. It is a $25,000 project that students manage, along with the support of an advisor from Jostens.   They will try to sell the Muster also to other underclassmen. The SGA purchases a book for all Seniors. There are a lot of great pictures taken throughout the year included in the book. Chris Spellman, Jostens Representative, was present to speak and answer questions.

Cadet Devine is one of two editors at MMA for the yearbook. She had a slide show to share with parents; 12-15 members on the committee, mostly 3rd and 4th class cadets.   The cover is the Recognition Pin. She showed how senior portraits are laid out and what other pages would look like.   There is a discount coupon for the MMA book store available to anyone who purchases a yearbook.

PQ-When do seniors get their yearbook?   Graduation pictures need to go in so it takes a little time to get this stuff in. Seniors should receive their copy in late September/October. Seniors get it shipped to their home address, which they submitted when they completed the yearbook survey information.

PQ-Can you still buy an ad to place in it?   Yes, the Jostens representative will be talking about that. There is a website – where parents/cadets can submit photos and possibly be included in the yearbook. They can easily be uploaded into the yearbook software. There is also an app on the smartphone. – if anyone has any questions.   Money from yearbook sales goes towards reducing the amount of cost for the yearbook.

PQ-Her son ordered yearbook when he sat for picture – can he get a coupon?   Yes. Send an email and it will be sent to them.

Chris Spelman, Jostens Representative                   Chris described how the yearbook is put together and to explain about the ad campaign to senior parents. The deadline was extended from March 1st to April 1st. He had forms for any parent who needed one tonight.   The goal is to raise $4-5,000 to defray prices. More volume brings per unit cost down.   A slide-show was presented on how to do an ad.

PQ-When a parent uses certain comments, are there any copyright violations?                 Yes, we do check for them. If you use lyrics from a song, for example, as long as only 2-3 lines are used and you included the author or a reference, you should be OK.

Logo’s – cannot use an Olympic logo – will get kicked back.

Presidential seal – owned by U.S. – don’t use this.

They will review everything and let parents know if there is a problem.

PQ-pictures are reviewed also?    Yes.

PQ-how are ads put in the book?    As they come in…random, based on size and where it fits.

PQ-Do you have companies take out an ad?  Yes there are business ads that can be purchased. Never been done at MMA but could be done. – app and website – directly upload your photos to share with yearbook staff. They will always be there.

With no other questions from parents, President Avakian thanked Mr. Spelman for attending the meeting and sharing this important information.

Michelle Badger, Director Of Advancement    She wanted to share 2 items of interest:

  1. The Phon-a-thon – It is a cadet-hired work study and non-work study program where cadets call alumni and network. 26 students on staff and probably looking to hire an additional 10-15 cadets this semester. This is a great resume builder. Everything is now automated. Applications are due March 13th at noontime. Email Michelle at for more info.
  2. Senior Class Campaign The kick-off is March 18th.

Senior Class Networking Dinner, with invited alumni. It is a business casual dinner. This is one of many programs offered to seniors, designed to educate them on life after they graduate. Etiquette discussion and networking skills and preparing for meals with potential employers are addressed.

Last year Adm Gurnon jumped into Buzzards Bay when students reached 50% participation and $2500. This year, an alumnus has offered to donate $5,000 to the campaign if the students are able to raise $5,000 and get 50% participation from the senior class. Family, faculty, staff, other students can donate. This year, Capt. Rozak and Cmdr. Kelliher will jump into Buzzards Bay if the goal is reached. May 18th is deadline. They will present a check on May 20th.

Liz Benway, MMA Human Resources – HR 101 – will teach cadets what is necessary to apply for a job.

Important Dates:

April 2nd“How to work a room” presentation. Two staff members will help seniors learn how to act,   how to start a conversation, etc. when attending any type of networking event. Leading up to:

April 9thCareer Fair

April 23rd“How to spend, save, share and invest your first paycheck”, presentation.

May 5th – “Buy your first house”, Seminar by Santander Bank, Insurance Company & others.

PQ-Can something go on the parents’ website with all the dates?   Yes. This information will also be included as part of the meeting minutes, which are posted on the MMAPA website.

All seniors who make a gift of $20.15 – will get a mug/pint glass with the design from their ring and banner on the glass.

PQ-Do cadets get all these dates via email?        Yes, they know about it. Signs are all over campus. Evite also was sent out for kick-off on March 18th. She will send out a reminder. Cadets need to rsvp with their name.

With no other questions for Michele, President Avakian thanked her for attending our meeting and sharing this important information.

MMAPA Business Meeting

SECRETARY REPORT – M. MacLeod/K. Farber – Review and accept meeting minutes from December 3rd, 2014. Motion made, 2nd, no discussion, voted on unanimously.

TREASURER’S REPORT – M. Cyr & D. Eccleston – Motion to accept Treasurer’s Report as presented, 2nd, no discussion, voted on unanimously. Report handed out to Board and members with Beginning Balance as of December 3, 2014 ending Balance as of March 11, 2015.


She shared upcoming dates:

  • Spring Open House – Saturday, May 2nd, 9am-12pm – need volunteers;
  • Welcome Aboard – Saturday, May 16th, 8am-4pm – for incoming freshman and their parents – need volunteers;
  • Sea Bag Week –                 Monday-Friday/Sat. in August, with additional information when this event gets closer;
  • Fall Open House – Sept, Oct, Nov – 9am-12pm – need volunteers.

HOSPITALITY CHAIRPERSON Report – Dee MacInnis     The “Return Dinner” went exceptionally well. The TS KENNEDY arrived 24 hours early due to winter storm weather conditions.   That allowed some cadets to attend.  120 people bought tickets, 80 people attended. Special thanks for venue, The Bay Pointe Club in Onset, for changing the start time schedule from 6:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Those attending could get home before the winter storm really kicked in. Dinner was fabulous!  Many people donated their tickets so cadets could attend the dinner with their family. We look forward to next year’s plans!


MMA Board

The election of officers will be held at the end of this next meeting and all positions are open. Three Board member positions will vacate as their cadets are graduating. Positions are: (2) Co-Secretary & (1) Vice President. Anyone interested in joining the Board should email President Leanne Avakian.

A motion to adjourn 2015 hours (8:15 pm).

Next Meeting: 4th Quarterly Meeting

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – 6:30 Blinn Hall

Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Academy Drive, Buzzards Bay

Respectfully submitted:                                by Marianne MacLeod and Kim Farber, Co-Secretaries