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SMART Center Releases First Video Highlighting Seagoing Career Opportunities for Women

8/10/2015

The SMART Center has released its most recent installment in its "Make the SMART Choice" career awareness video series - this one focusing on career opportunities for women in the seagoing sector of maritime and transportation industry. The video features Captain Carol Curtiss who made the remarkable and unprecedented achievement of being the first woman ever to earn both a Chief Engineer's license and an unlimited Master's license. The U.S. Coast Guard has determined that she is one of only three merchant mariners in the country to achieve both these distinctions. Today she is a both a maritime instructor at San Jacinto College and mentor for the next generation of women interested in a career at sea like Brianna Gonzales, a student at Texas A&M Galveston majoring in Maritime Administration.

"Carol is an incredible role model for women in maritime," says Barbara Murray, SMART Center PI and Executive Director. "Her life and career demonstrate that it is possible for women to both enjoy the challenge of a life in the merchant marines and to advance in a field that is highly technical."

Carol is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) in Kings Point, New York. There are six state maritime academies across the U.S. which are all supported by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD). Maritime academy graduates are licensed merchant marine officers, able to work in either the military or in the domestic or international commercial shipping industry.

"The Jones Act requires that goods and passengers transported by water between U.S. ports be done in U.S.-made ships, owned by U.S. citizens and crewed by U.S. citizens," explains Murray. "That means that as our current workforce retires over the next 5-10 years we'll need an entirely new generation of credentialed, educated sailors to take their place and facilitate domestic maritime transportation. These are great STEM-based jobs that pay a good salary, benefits and opportunities for advancement."