Program provides students with guaranteed job after graduation

CSPI students pose with FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg during dinner at the Reagan House

Kyle Nolan was born and raised in Pennsylvania where he graduated from high school in 2010. He then went on to receive his Associates of Arts degree at Indian River State College in Vero Beach, FL, in December 2013.

This is when he heard about the Coast Guard College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative(CSPI) at Florida International University and decided to apply. In Fall 2014, Nolan began his first semester at FIU under the program.

As part of the program, Nolan received a full scholarship for his junior and senior year at FIU. The scholarship included tuition, books and fees, a full time Coast Guard salary of up to $3,600 a month, housing allowance and medical benefits.

In return, Nolan attended U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) training camp during the summers and volunteered at numerous events at area high schools to spread information about the U.S. Coast Guard, including organizing a Mast Academy visit to Coast Guard Base Miami Beach.

Nolan soon became an advocate for the program and the opportunities it provided him. He was a volunteer facilitator during the Jack Gordon Institute Haiti Food Crisis Simulation, where local high schools were bussed to FIU and were able to develop critical thinking skills through the simulation.

Nolan also presented to the FIU engineering club and during Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities events to spread the word about the CSPI program and STEM opportunities in the U S. Coast Guard.

Kyle Nolan

This past spring, Nolan graduated from FIU with a 3.96 GPA and received his bachelor’s degree in international relations, a minor in political science and a certificate in national security studies.

Today, he is attending Officer Candidate School in New London, CT. Afterwards Nolan will attend flight school in Pensacola, FL, and will be placed in a full-time position at an operational air station. He hopes to one day continue his education at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.

“Kyle is an outstanding young leader within the USCG, as demonstrated by his accomplishments,” said  USCG Lieutenant Jordan Bogden. “Being accepted to the CSPI program is an extraordinary accomplishment within itself,  but Kyle was also recently selected as one of three primary selectees for the Spring 2016 Wilks Flight Initiative.”

Nolan is one of 90 students who have participated in the program nation-wide and was guaranteed a full-time position with an approximate salary $60,000 or more after graduation.

“We are so grateful to be able to partner with the USCG to give our students opportunities like CSPI,” said Saif Y. Ishoof, vice president for Engagement. “As a university we have a responsibility to provide our students with the necessary skills to get jobs and create great jobs, and programs like this are invaluable to our overall mission.”

The competitive program provides high achieving students with demonstrated leadership skills with endless opportunities to build a career within USCG.  During the school year, students participate in a minimum of 16 hours a month of Coast Guard activities and are supervised by the Recruiter in Charge (RIC) at their recruiting office. This includes wearing a CG uniform once a week while on campus and during their four weekly hours of Coast Guard duties.

During school breaks, CSPI students receive training and exposure to Coast Guard missions and units and can also participate in a cruise on a Coast Guard cutter.

“FIU, which is a Hispanic Serving Institution, is an ideal location for CSPI students to attend college,” said Bogden. “FIU is specifically a great location for CSPI students because of its proximity to USCG units in the South Florida area. More than 10 units are located within a 15-mile radius of the campus, providing students with maximum exposure to a variety of USCG missions and operations.”

CSPI is the Coast Guard’s only scholarship program and aims to improve the diversity of the officer corps by working with minority serving institutions to give these students an opportunity to go to college.

“I find it fascinating that the Coast Guard is funding a scholarship program that provides opportunities for young men and women to continue their education who would not normally be able to afford college,” said Lieutenant Pat Bennett, the nation-wide College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative program coordinator. “Something of that magnitude is life altering, and I am proud to be a small part of it.”

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