Turlock High School graduate Garrett Weston has gone bicoastal. As one of two students selected at California Maritime Academy for the prestigious Admiral Douglas H. Teeson scholarship, Weston spent the past semester taking part in the Williams-Mystic Program where learning spanned far beyond the textbook.
Recipients of the Douglas H. Teeson scholarship attend the Williams-Mystic Program in Mystic, Conn. administered through Williams College, which provides a comprehensive and interdisciplinary look at marine studies. Courses included marine policy, maritime history, literature of the seas and a choice between marine ecology and oceanography, as well as two field trips. During Weston’s semester, 19 students mainly hailing from small liberal arts universities on the East Coast, spent time sailing, studying and expanding their knowledge of marine studies.
“There were a lot of science majors that wanted to see how their science applied to a history and culture. The program was so interdisciplinary between the history, science and policy,” said Weston.
Weston’s experience was precipitate by a wide range of volunteer and internship experiences that prepared him for the Williams-Mystic program. Having interned in Congressman Jeff Denham’s Modesto office and served as chief of staff of Cal Maritime’s Associate Student Government, heading to Connecticut provided Weston with another opportunity to grow.
“I knew that getting involved by volunteering would be important for good life, work and relationship experience. As I started to get involved, it was kind of addicting and really rewarding going to different places in Vallejo and getting to know the community and knowing that what you’re doing is helping a bigger cause,” said Weston.
When Weston isn’t devoting time to extracurricular activities, he spends his time focusing on school work. As a Global Studies and Maritime Affairs major Weston typically spends more time studying marine activity than sailing, but the Williams-Mystic scholarship afforded him more time on the water. While the program is based in Connecticut, students gain hands-on experience through two field seminars which include a 10 day voyage from San Diego to the Channel Islands and a two-week program in Hawaii. The change in atmosphere and hands-on learning experience contributed to a change in Weston’s perspective on his future.
“I think my goals changed in that I am more okay with doing something that pays less or is less prestigious for something that is more fun and I enjoy, that really became more aware to me this semester. I’m more aware of the bigger picture and that no matter what industry you go into you can make a bigger impact than you think,” said Weston.
Weston will bring this new approach back to Cal Maritime as he returns to finish his junior year. With plans to intern as a deckhand at the Oakland Harbor next summer, Weston is also considering topics for his senior thesis which may prove to be a bigger task than he originally thought.
“I’ve been exposed to so much this semester and developed more interests that it is hard to focus on one thing,” said Weston.