By David Thompson
Bowie State University solidified its relationship with the United States Coast Guard during a ceremony at the Center for Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Nursing during which President Aminta H. Breaux and Vice Admiral Peter Gautier signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to continue the College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative (CSPI) Executive Champion Scholarship Program at BSU.
The CSPI scholarship provides financial support for school and training for eligible students to prepare them for careers as commissioned officers in the Coast Guard. The scholarship covers tuition and fees for up to $20,000 for two years plus money for textbooks, a housing allowance, full medical benefits and includes a monthly salary of $3,600 while the recipient is still in school. After graduating from college, scholarship recipients then must successfully complete Officer Candidate School before reporting for duty with the Coast Guard.
“I’ve had a lot of great opportunities that the Coast Guard was able to provide me,” said ENS Assata Ward, a CSPI alum who graduated from Bowie State in 2022 and now serves as a response officer in Staten Island, NY. “It’s lived up to my expectations.”
Bowie State is one of 22 schools across the country that has an executive agreement with the Coast Guard through the CSPI program, which means a Bowie State student is guaranteed placement in the program if they meet the qualifications. The new agreement extends the commitment to BSU for an additional two years. The program started at Bowie State in 2019.
“It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to impact talented students through the CSPI executive program,” said LTJG Marlianne Hudson, the Coast Guard Action Unit Liaison for the CSPI-EXEC Program. “Bowie State has a guaranteed spot for them. While hundreds of schools compete for a spot in CSPI, Bowie State will always have one student who will make it for the duration of the MOA.”
Dr. Chimdimnma Esimai, who manages the program for Bowie State, called the scholarship a “fantastic opportunity” for Bowie State students and represents the university’s commitment to public service.
“It is an honor to be a part of this process,” said Dr. Esimai. “Not only will our students gain a huge financial advantage, but the training and mentorship potential is unparalleled. This partnership represents both BSU’s and the Coast Guard’s shared vision of serving our constituents well and leaving a tangible legacy for the future.”