By Beth David, Editor
A Fairhaven resident has been elected president of the Student Government Association (SGA) at the Massachusetts Martiime Academy. Rachel McNamara was installed in the position on Wednesday, 5/23, at an official Change of Command ceremony. She is the first female elected to the position in the institution’s 127-year history.
Ms. McNamara is entering her senior year and is pursuing a degree in International Maritime Business. She was Vice President of her freshman class, Orientation Squad Leader and has been Social Chair on the Executive Board for the past two years. Ms. McNamara served her experiential learning in London, England, and was selected to assist underclassmen for this summer’s trip to Norway.
According to the MMA’s website, SGA is the students’ voice in Academy affairs.
The MMA SGA has been elected to create the best environment possible for student life. It is a representative of the student body, and is an independent entity from the regiment of cadets. It is the liaison between the administration, regiment, outside organizations, and the student body.
Ms. McNamara said that the SGA at Mass. Maritime is different than at other state schools. In addition to being the president of the student body, she will also have regimental responsibilities, such as overseeing the assembly, inspecting underclassmen, upholding academy standards and traditions, and participating in disciplinary hearings.
Cadets at the school live on campus and undergo inspections, and formations, and other military style activities.
She will oversee a budget of $300,000, and will supervise and delegate to about 60 assembly members on a variety of committees for student activities.
“I am confident I can do a good job,” said Ms. McNamara, citing her experience as Social Chair overseeing a $90,000 budget.
As for being the first woman to be elected, Ms. McNamara said she does not think too much of it, but did say, “It’s an incredible honor.”
“It’s just a mark in history,” she said. “I was elected by my peers, not because I was a woman. But it’s definitely an honor to go down in history.”
When she was a freshman, the student body was about 10% female, she said. Now it is more, but by how much, she could not say.
“I have never had an issue,” said Ms. McNamara, with being in the minority of women. “It’s easy to be respected as a professional and an individual here.”
The women at the school are there to work and focus on their careers, she said, and the work is hard. There’s a saying at MMA: “It’s a terrible place to be, but it’s the best place to be from.”
“Being a female here has not been a challenge whatsoever,” she said, and encouraged other women to attend, if that is something they are concerned about, don’t be. “There’s no reason to be afraid or discouraged. It’s a very welcoming environment. Everybody who puts the work in is going to be respected.”
Ms. McNamara’s parents are Michael and Kerrie. Mike is on the Fairhaven School Committee, and Kerrie is a Real Estate Agent. •••
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News at: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Y6V5ARRYH689G
Click here to download the entire 6/7/18 issue: 06-07-18 Graduation