James Pizaro 22has been a passionate environmentalist since middle school. At Stony Brook University, he discovered that there was a way to not only greener planets, but bluer oceans.
James is a Long Island native and chose Stony Brook for its proximity to his house and positive impression. School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences – SOMASHe was applying for colleges and left it on him.
At Stony Brook, Pizaro, anEnvironmental studies Economicsdouble major is an independent researcher under Associate Professor Kamazima Laiza. He studies the effect of climate change and vessel traffic in the Arctic. Juan Carlos Conesa, a professor at the University of Long Island, has also studied the effects of a carbon tax upon Long Island consumer decision-making. College of Arts and Sciences Department of Economics, and was a research assistant for Henry Bokuniewicz (a distinguished service professor at SoMAS) investigating tides and erosion.
After completing an internship in environmental advocacy, Pizaro joined USCG (USCG) and enlisted in the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative scholarship program (CSPI) in June 2021.
Pizaro stated that the Coast Guard shares environmental responsibilities and responds to pollution incidents along the coast. It also supports scientific and international enforcement of fisheries laws. It was a great way to get a job that will help me grow professionally and positively impact the nation and environment around me.
This past summer, Pizaro spent eight weeks in USCG’s basic training in Cape May, New Jersey. Since then, he has been shadowing Coast Guard personnel from the New York area to learn about law enforcement, pollution response and container ship inspections. He also learned lifesaving techniques.
He said that boot camp was challenging, but that I gained a lot from it. You learn to pay attention to details, to give 100%, to hold yourself to a higher level, and to take care of those around you.
Pizaro stated that his job is to excel academically, prepare for Officer Candidate School and pursue professional development in Coast Guard.
CSPI officer trainees have a four-hour commitment to Coast Guard work each week. This leaves them plenty of time to study, said Pizaro. They also cover tuition fees and books and offer a full-time wage with a housing allowance and food allowance. They also provide 100% medical, dental, and vision coverage. This program does not require you to work extra hours to pay the bills.
Pizaro will complete college on a USCG full scholarship. After graduating, he will attend the 17 week OCS in New London (Connecticut), where he will be commissioned an officer in Coast Guard and likely assigned somewhere in the United States.
He said that he hopes to become a marine environmental response officer, which will include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, natural disaster response, and maritime search and rescue. Long-term I plan to pursue the Coast Guard’s advanced education options, such as paying Coast Guard officers to go to graduate school to earn a masters. I am also interested to explore opportunities to run response and station stations. The Coast Guard gives me the opportunity to do good both for myself and others. It offers a competitive salary and education opportunities.
Pizaro, who is about to begin his last semester at Stony Brook describes his experience as very positive.
He said that I have received a top-quality education at a low cost and that the Coast Guards scholarship program has made it possible for me to continue my education free of charge. I have been able connect with professors who care about students and have made connections. I may not have been eligible for CSPI if my college was not Stony Brook. Only students from different colleges are eligible.
Pizaro stated that the SoMAS faculty had played a significant role in my development and pointed me towards some great opportunities.
Pizaro looks forward to finishing his Stony Brook degree and offered some wisdom for underclassmen and students.
He advised that you should try your best to say yes to all opportunities presented to you and to find as many opportunities as possible. Make connections with local businesses and professors; get involved in the Career Center; take part in research; create a LinkedIn profile; and make the most out of everything Stony Brook offers. Instead of just cruising through classes, get involved in your education. You’ll get more from it.
Students who are interested in applying for the U.S. Coast Guards College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative: Contact a recruiter at www.coastguardscollege.comGoCoastGuard.com/CSPI.