Stories from Students

Josh Smith, California Maritime, 2015

Being a member of AUP benefitted me in numerous ways.  I credit AUP with helping me get selected for the Coast Guard’s Maritime Academy Graduate Direct Commission Program (MARGRAD).  It helped me gain exposure with Coast Guard operations and allowed me to prove to the MARGRAD Selection Panel that I was the person they wanted.  AUP provided me with a fun way to serve the community by conducting vessel safety checks.  I learned a lot, gained insight on the Coast Guard, and gained valuable experience which has helped me as a new Officer.  If you are interested in a career in the Coast Guard, or if you are looking to serve your community and gain valuable leadership experience, I highly recommend AUP.


Throughout the summer, I was able to help edit portions of the Coast Guard White Paper. During this process, I gained firsthand insight of how important strategy is written in the federal government. I also gained personal experience in writing a white paper when I was able to write a comprehensive piece on the importance of maritime security blogs for Coast Guard knowledge management.

Stephanie Hutton, Penn State, 2014

I enrolled in the Auxiliary University Programs (AUP) and was instantly given a vast amount of opportunity to train and learn what the program has to offer students.  I started off my summer with a fast paced week of operations training at small boat Station Milford Haven, Hudgins, Virginia. The week consisted of training in open water survival, search and rescue procedures, underway patrols, and so much more.

Jonathan Roth, William and Mary, 2015

I assisted in filming that same Public Service Announcement (PSA) at Coast Guard Station Chicago with a local NFL player and crew members from Station Calumet Harbor. Shortly after, I put together the PSA in post-production and was responsible for distributing it to military and civilian media sources, including the homepage. 


I learned a wide variety of information ranging from crisis and incident management to leadership management.  I had the wonderful opportunity to visit many places that are important to the country and the Coast Guard.  FEMA Headquarters, the National Response Coordination Center, the Coast Guard National Response Center, the National Command Center, and the DC Fire Department in Columbia Heights were a few places that I visited.


As a chemistry student at the College of William and Mary, I spend a lot of time in lectures and labs learning specific principles of how atoms and molecules interact with each other. However, it is rare for someone studying in the hard sciences to be able to step back and view the social importance of many scientific problems. As an intern this summer at Coast Guard Headquarters in the Office of Marine Environmental Response Policy (CG-MER), I was given the chance to apply my knowledge to some of the most pressing issues faced by the world today.

Lauren Crawford, UNC Chapel Hill, 2014

From my first moments aboard, the crew was welcoming and immediately toured me around the vessel. It was fascinating to look down into the engine room and to experience what it was like to man a watch at the quarterdeck. Everything that I had learned about in the classroom setting became real.

Victor Bruno, Cal Fullerton, 2010

If there is one thing that I learned while working in AUP, it is to always be ready to adapt. Situations change frequently, both in your professional life and personal life. Sometimes a “normal” patrol could end with you saving a life. Being a volunteer is not for everyone, but sometimes you have to sacrifice a tiny bit to succeed in the end.


ENS DeCastra graduated from Officer Candidate School in 2013 to become an active duty officer in the United States Coast Guard.  "The advantage I had going into basic training was being a member of Auxiliary University Programs. AUP did two main things to help prepare me for basic training. The first is that AUP taught me most of the required knowledge before I went to basic training."