This episode features Laura Springer, a 2004 graduate from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. In this episode, you’ll hear how Laura’s time at the Academy helped her hone in on her intuition and trust her feelings; how a key moment during 9/11 completely altered the trajectory of her career; why she’s not 100% sure Kings Point would be a good fit for her daughters; and how she’s built a successful career in the Coast Guard while also being married to a classmate and raising a family. I encourage you to listen to the interview in its entirety as the conversation gets super interesting towards the end of the interview when Laura reflects upon whether or not she’d make the same decision to attend an Academy if she could do it all over again. Enjoy the show!


  • Learning to trust her instincts and feelings.
  • Understanding the importance of seeing people that look like her in the industry.
  • Struggling with the amount of times the Coast Guard moves people.
  • Concerned about the toxic culture around drinking and eating.


  • 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?

11:04 PART II:

  • What made you choose a Service Academy – and what made you specifically choose the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy?
  • Having a grandfather that attended the Academy during WWII. 
  • Did you talk about the Merchant Marine at all growing up?
  • Was swimming a big part of your college selection process?
  • How did the people in your life take your decision to attend an Academy?
  • Did you have any sense of what you were going to do post graduation?

21:46 PART III:

  • What was that first day and first summer like for you?
  • How was the transition into the academic year?
  • Wanting to leave the Academy.
  • How long did that feeling of wanting to leave the Academy last?
  • If you had to sum up your time at the Academy in one word, what would it be?
  • What were some of your highlights from your time at the Academy?
  • Experiencing 9/11 during her time at the Academy. 

21:46 PART III:

  • What were some of your lowlights during your time at the Academy?
  • Learning to trust her feelings and instincts.
  • How many females were in your class?

32:00 PART IV:

  • Did you feel like you were in survival mode during your time at the Academy?
  • How did you choose to go into the Coast Guard from the Merchant Marine Academy?
  • Being a Marine Inspector in Hawaii.
  • Marrying a classmate.
  • Becoming a Marine Casualty Investigator in Seattle. 
  • Doing Emergency Planning and Disaster Response for the Coast Guard.

41:50 PART V:

  • How did you feel as a woman in the Coast Guard?
  • The Coast Guard being supportive of her athletic endeavors as an Ironman and triathlete. 
  • Experiencing Toxic Command Climate.
  • How do you currently feel about your decision to attend an Academy?


  • Going to grad school through the Coast Guard.
  • What lessons did you learn at the Academy?
  • If your daughters wanted to go to the Academy, would you encourage it?
  • What’s next for you?
  • 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?


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