This episode features Tracy Mehr-Muska, a 1996 graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. In this episode, you’ll hear how the Academy really challenged Tracy’s identity in a variety of ways; how several complicated situations ultimately resulted in her having to pivot her career out of the Coast Guard far earlier than she had initially planned; and how she eventually was able to translate the lessons she learned into meaningful work as a pastor with a special focus on working with people nearing the end of life. Enjoy the show!


  • Having an idealistic view of what the Academy and military life would be like
  • Feeling like her identity was challenged in a variety of ways at the Academy
  • Dealing with sexual harassment
  • Feeling powerless 
  • Making the decision to leave the Coast Guard before he commitment was up
  • Regret and shame over her decisions
  • Building a life that utilizes the lessons she learned in a meaningful way


  • Can you tell everyone where you’re from? What school you went to and when you graduated?
  • Can you give everyone 1-2 lines about who you are?

1:52 PART I:

  • What made you choose a Service Academy – and what made you specifically choose the U.S. Coast Guard Academy?
  • Was it common at your school for people to consider going to an Academy?
  • How did your family respond to your desire to attend an Academy?
  • What did you think you’d be doing post graduation?
  • Participating in the AIM program prior to attending.
  • How was the application process for you?

7:15 PART II:

  • If you had to sum up your time at the Academy in one word, what would it be?
  • Tell me about your first day and first summer.
  • How was the transition into the academic year?
  • Do you feel like you made good connections during SWAB summer?

15:30 PART III:

  • What were some of the highlights of your time at the Academy?
  • Did any experiences give you clarity about what you wanted to do post-graduation?
  • The highlight of great friendships she made with other women in her class.
  • Let’s dive into some of the lowlights.

26:15:48 PART IV:

  • Do you think you went into the Academy a little idealistic?
  • Did you desire to stay at the Academy ever waiver?
  • What was the plan as you approached graduation?
  • Her short stint in the Coast Guard and her decision to leave.

38:48 PART V:

  • What happened when you decided to suddenly get out of the Coast Guard?
  • Finding a work environment that valued what she brought to the table.
  • Going to seminary full time.


  • What happened when you got out of the seminary?
  • What’s next for you?
  • How do you currently feel about your decision to attend an Academy?
  • Do you have any parting words for listeners? Perhaps a key message to your fellow Service Academy sisters?
  • What’s one random fun fact about you?
  • Where can people reach you?


Twitter: @MehrMuska



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