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Sea Education Association

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Student Stories

Mattie Fails

Mattie Fails

SEA Semester Class:

C-233 (Ocean Exploration)


Salve Regina University


Global Business and Economics, Business Administration

SEA Semester Research Focus:

Scientific Research - Micro and Macro Plastic Pollution

Why did you choose SEA Semester?

I chose SEA Semester because there are no other programs like it. It is by far the best organization for sailing and education at the same time. I had heard nothing but great things from past alumni and those who knew about the program. The financial assistance given to me by SEA Semester made it affordable option, because I never would have been able to attend otherwise.

What were the strongest aspects of SEA Semester?

The strongest part of the SEA Semester program is the combination of a shore component and a sea component. I had an incredible time learning while on shore in Woods Hole. I took classes that I never got the chance to take while I was in college. It was so awesome to finally be interested in the classes I was taking. The way that all of the classes intertwined was very well thought out. One day we would learn about the Coriolis Effect in Oceanography, the next we would be learning about how the Coriolis Effect produced weather in Nautical Science and lastly how the weather and climate affected the Caribbean in Maritime Studies. Each class was important to the other ones. This continued to the sea component. Everything that we learned on shore became even more important at sea. It was a great feeling to put in use those skills that we had learned such as celestial navigation or research. The second strongest aspect of SEA Semester was the group (or family) that we developed. Living and learning together in close quarters helped us work together as a team and we could always rely on each other. It was a completely natural process when we eventually moved together on the boat. Without living together on shore, I don’t know if we would have become the Cramer Community that we were. I made friends that I will keep for a lifetime.

What were the most challenging aspects of SEA Semester?

The most challenging part of SEA Semester was learning time management skills. There was a heavy work load while we were on shore and the work load only increased when we got to the ship. Once we were on Cramer, we had to make time for school work in between our watch schedule, class, sleeping and eating. Being on the ship was a challenge in itself. There were many things that I never thought I would be able to do such as navigate a boat, climb aloft, or cook for 30 people. The best part about the challenges of the program is that you learn to do things you never thought you could accomplish.

Words of advice for future SEA Semester students?

My words of advice for future students would be to enjoy absolutely everything while they can. SEA Semester is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I find myself longing to be back on Cramer or in D house, more than once a day. I made incredible friends throughout the program, whom I consider almost family.