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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 25, 2021

Coast Guard Academy Class of 2021 Future Leaders: Ready, Relevant, Responsive

For the Class of 2021 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the past year has been a surge of activity. With commencement just behind us, we highlight some of the outstanding cadets who are future leaders in the Coast Guard. 

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. delivered the keynote address during graduation ceremonies at the Coast Guard Academy Wednesday, May 19, 2021. This was the second time President Biden has addressed a graduating class at the Academy, the first was as vice-president in 2013.

Josiah Davis
First Class Cadet Josiah Davis, a native of Saline, Michigan, has been awarded one year of graduate school at Florida A&M to complete at the NCAA Division I level for track and field before reporting to his five-year military commitment for the Coast Guard. 

He is a three-time All-American for the Coast Guard Academy and national champion in the distance medley relay at Saline High School and a two-time national qualifier in the 400 hurdles. 

In his free time, Davis enjoys hanging out with classmates and writing and playing music with friends. In addition, he participates in the Coast Guard Academy Spectrum Council.

"The Coast Guard Academy has provided me with a wealth of experiences, knowledge, and friendships," said Davis. "I'm absolutely excited to be competing collegiately and after I'm hoping to break into the world of prevention and inspections within the Coast Guard.”

After graduation from the Academy, the government major will attend graduate school at Florida A&M studying public administration.

Davis' grandfather was an officer in the Coast Guard and his sister Jaime attended the Coast Guard Academy as well. He is ready to carry on that tradition.

Salena Bantz
First Class Cadet Salena Bantz, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship Award, which will allow her to pursue a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at Tampere University (TU) in Tampere, Finland.

After graduating from the Academy, the electrical engineering major will study smart energy grids, wind and solar technologies with the goal of creating more effective solutions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better meet growing energy needs.

She plans to conduct research with the university’s Smart Grid Research Group to design power grids that overcome the shortcomings of the traditional electric power grids. In her award application, Bantz argued, “The uncertainty and intermittency of wind and solar generation are major complications that must be addressed before the full potential of these renewables can be reached. The smart grid promises a solution.”  

“I look forward to discovering different aspects of Finnish society, studying the language, and exploring the country’s natural and historical treasures,” Bantz said. 

In her free time, Bantz plans to work with the Fulbright Finland Foundation to advance partnerships among engineers and other professionals in Finland and the U.S.  In addition, to further cultural understanding she plans to work with Finnish high school students to educate them about U.S. culture while encouraging them to pursue careers in STEM. 

Bantz is ready to further her knowledge and leadership roles in an increasingly relevant battle for environmental protection.

Andre Horner
First Class Cadet Andre Horner, a native of Centerville, Virginia, is charging into active duty after graduation.

An operations research and computer analysis (ORCA) major and linebacker for the Coast Guard Academy Bears football team, Horner is headed to the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, a National Security Cutter homeported in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Being involved at the Academy with the football team, Genesis Council, and the Asian Pacific American Council has allowed me to make lifelong friendships along with unique experiences,” said Horner. “At the Academy, I have been very fortunate to come across so many amazing opportunities and people,” Horner said.

Before attending the Academy, he was in the Coast Guard Academy Scholars Program (CGAS) that helped him develop the necessary foundation for success as a Coast Guard Academy cadet. He attended the Navy Prep School (NAPS) in Rhode Island and most participants who successfully complete one year of focused preparation receive a full appointment to the Academy as a member of the next entering class. 

Horner is ready to be a part of the most modern and one of the most responsive assets in the fleet. 

Ready, relevant, and responsive, the Class of 2021 is prepared to lead through the challenges of today and into tomorrow. 

Founded in 1876, the Coast Guard Academy is one of the smallest of the five U.S. service academies and ranked among the nation’s most prestigious and selective institutions of higher learning.