Feature Stories 2022: Mike Coute: A pathway to career success

Mike Coute, with tautog
Photo courtesy of Mike Coute.
Feature Stories 2022: Mike Coute: A pathway to career success
Mike Coute: A pathway to career success

Mike Coute talks about how earning an undergraduate degree at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and a master’s degree at the School for Marine Science & Technology has prepared him to succeed in New England's burgeoning field of offshore wind development.

UMASSD: Mike, you recently earned your undergraduate and graduate degrees with a focus on marine science and environmental protection. Will you discuss your experiences at both the School for Marine Science & Technology and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy?

MC: “Hands-on learning at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and SMAST provided me with the opportunity to engage in applied learning. I enjoy fieldwork, and the emphasis on applied learning at both institutions directly translated to workforce application and competency on the job.”

UMASSD: How have your undergraduate and graduate studies complemented each other?

MC: “I studied Marine Safety & Environmental Protection (now Marine Science, Safety, & Environmental Protection) at MMA and I minored in marine biology as well. By going from a strong foundational undergraduate experience at MMA, I felt very prepared for the workload and material presented in graduate school. I was able to take my broad understanding of coastal ecology, fish biology, and seafaring experience and directly apply it in the classroom, in the lab, and out on the water with SMAST.”

UMASSD: What do you believe are the benefits and outcomes as a result of attending both institutions?

MC: “MMA prepared me to enter the workforce immediately. After completing my undergraduate studies, I worked for a research-based aquafarm in Falmouth, MA (Ward Aquafarms) and then worked for Dana Farber Cancer Institute before finally deciding that I wanted grad school to be my next step. I recently completed my master’s degree at SMAST and I am happily employed by the University to continue working on surveys for the proposed Vineyard Windfarm.

I believe wind energy is here to stay in Massachusetts, and more companies and opportunities will continue to emerge for people who have a passion for the ocean, the environment, and conducting quality scientific research.”

UMASSD: Would you recommend the accelerated pathway program to prospective students?

MC: “Yes. I believe that renewable energy, fisheries managers, educators, and communities throughout New England will come together to make sure we manage offshore wind operations right the first time. This is an exciting opportunity to be a part of a growing industry that will have funding and job opportunities for decades to come. SMAST faculty and students rub shoulders and share jobs with state officials, and this creates an opportunity for engaged students to work in the fisheries management sector away from wind energy. I would also recommend this accelerated program as a way to get a higher education degree seamlessly following an undergraduate degree.”

Learn more about the UMassD & Massachusetts Maritime Academy accelerated program.