Cadets Make History for Diversity

The number of women and minorities in incoming class could be a historic high.

By Brian Coleman, Brynn Gingras and LeAnne Gendreau
|  Monday, Jun 27, 2011  |  Updated 11:02 AM EDT
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Petty Officer 2nd Class Nick Ame/U.S. Coast Guard

MIAMI -- The crew of a Coast Guard Station Miami Beach, Fla., 45-foot Response Boat-Medium patrols off Miami December 21, 2010. The RB-M features twin jet-drive engines and a climate-controlled cabin.

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The new class of U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London had barely stepped on campus before making history.

The incoming class of about 290 incoming cadets might be the most diverse class in academy history, according to academy officials.

More than one-third, 34 percent, are from minority groups and 34 percent are women. 

As of July 2010, 29 percent of academy's cadets were woman, 17 percent were minority and 43 states and 15 foreign nations were represented. 

"Our challenge, of course, has been to increase our minority numbers to better mirror what you see in American society and this year we’ve been really successful with that representation," Chief Warrant Officer Kimberly Smith said.

This is a historic year for the academy. Sandra L. Stosz recently took charge of the academy. She is the first female superintendent of any of the military service academies.

The academy has about 1,030 cadets in its four-year program.

The cadets who reported on Monday are beginning an intense seven-week training program known as "swab summer."

Students graduate with a bachelor of science degree and an obligation to serve five years in the U.S. Coast Guard.

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