March eNewsletter: Alumna Spotlight Jamie Mattos ’12

Alumnae Spotlight Jamie Mattos ’12

As a third year student at the California Maritime Academy majoring in Global Studies and Maritime Affairs I’ve completed the most interesting requirements for my major so far, finishing an international experience and a very interesting internship.

I chose to study in Vietnam mainly because the country is Communist and predominantly Buddhist. It was the country that was most foreign to me and I wanted to be completely out of my comfort zone. Traveling 16 hours to Saigon and then traveling north to Hai Phong with 25 other students and two teachers was a life changing experience. Learning about the Vietnamese culture and visiting several Vietnamese ports and businesses expanded my knowledge of international trade, port management, port security.

While in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) we visited the War Remnants Museum which is entirely dedicated to the Vietnam War. It was a culture shock to learn about the Vietnamese perspective of the war. It was the first time I had ever been presented with a non-American viewpoint about a war and I appreciated it greatly. We also visited the Cu Chi tunnels used by the Vietnamese at that time and journeyed to the “Hanoi Hilton” where John McCain was held as a POW.

Although I remain faithful to God and I am a proud Catholic, it was spiritually enriching to visit Buddhist temples all over Vietnam. I was impressed to see the self-discipline Buddhist monks. Visiting ancient palaces felt like going back in time. I experienced Vietnamese culture and cuisine from street vendors and became an excellent haggler in Vietnamese markets. One of the most amazing experiences was taking a boat ride down the Mekong River. There I learned about the issues of over-fishing, deforestation, and illegal wildlife trade. We took a three day boat cruise in Ha Long Bay, the newest of the Seven Wonders of the World, and visited Cat Ba Island and Hai Phong, where I found a whole new interest in the conservation of langur monkeys and environmental policy pertaining to fish farms. I also made many life-long friends at VIMARU, the Vietnamese Maritime Academy. I hope to visit them in Vietnam again someday.

Shortly after returning from Vietnam, I completed my internship working as the manager of Pirates Cove Cafe located on my school’s training ship, the T.S Golden Bear. I spent for 62 days on the ship as we sailed on the Pacific Ocean from Honolulu, Hawaii, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Lahaina, Hawaii to San Diego. This internship taught me so much about managing a business. I gained skills in marketing too. I also attended on- ship classes to learn a little about celestial navigation, meteorology, and basic ship knowledge. When in port I jumped ashore and visit different sites and tourist attractions. I visited the Japanese Suicide Cliff in Saipan. Hundreds of Japanese ended their lives there rather than surrender at the end of WWII.

Traveling to Managaha, a small island in a protected area near Saipan I snorkeled for the first time.In Guam, I visited the Chumorro market and ate foods from all over Southeast Asia and then drove to the top of Ritidian Point Naval Base. While at sea I passed by the Challenger Deep, located in the deepest point in the Pacific Ocean. Our longest haul in our travels the 20 day trip from Lahaina, Hawaii to San Diego. Being at sea, in the middle of the Pacific, with no land in sight reminded me of God’s goodness. It also reminded me of the lessons that OLP instilled in me. I want to be a woman who makes great changes in this grand world in which I live.

I am excited to share my experience. I feel so strongly about Cal Maritime. They want more women to enroll. . As far as I know, I remain the only OLP graduate to attend. Like many OLP students, I attended Catholic school from kindergarten through high school. When I was looking into colleges, I knew I wanted to attend a smaller school to keep the same close feeling that I had always had. Cal Maritime is part of the CSU system and only has about 1,000 students enrolled.

Many people ask me about my experience of going from a Catholic all-girls school to a public school that is 87% men. OLP really prepared me for the extreme change. I am keeping my morals, good reputation, and academics in check. Many of my male peers have even complimented me on how I carry myself with confidence and class. I have OLP to thank for that. OLP girls are the perfect prospective students. My hope is that more OLP girls will find an interest in Cal Maritime. The maritime industry has so many opportunities for aspiring engineers, business leaders, port managers, admiralty lawyers, deck officers, environmental advocates, and maritime security consultants. The opportunities are endless for women in the maritime industry. My name is Jamie Mattos and I am proud to be an OLP alum.