Graduate Scholarship Recipients

Wilbur N. Landers Scholarship Recipient - Alyssa Bennett 

Alyssa Bennett has been interested in studying the ocean and structures since a young age.  In middle school she became active in science fairs and began to conduct experiments into modeling the effects of piers on coastal erosion.  In high school she continued pursuing her research, building various wave tanks in her back yards to conduct experiments and competing at national and international science fairs.  However, as the years passed her interests shifted away from fixed structures and towards floating vessels.  In 2011 she started her Bachelors of Science Degree at Texas A&M College Station in the field of ocean engineering.  There she was an active member in SNAME and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) among other organizations and vigorously participated in outreach events for young engineers.  She continued to expand her interests in naval architecture through her undergraduate research involving the propulsion of autonomous underwater vehicles and her internship with ConocoPhillips in the summer of 2014. 

Alyssa graduated in the spring of 2015 and will be pursuing her Master’s and PhD in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at the University of Michigan starting the fall of 2015.  She looks forwards to continuing her pursuit of research and support of future engineers through outreach. 

Tommy L. Richards Scholarship Recipient - Russell Forthuber

Mr. Russell Forthuber, PE graduated Magna Cum Laude from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 2009 with a B.S. in Marine Engineering Systems Design.  After graduation, he sailed on Excelerate Energy's steam powered LNG tankers through the MEBA Union for two years as a 3rd Assistant Marine Engineer.  During this time he was in charge of the operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of various mechanical systems onboard.  He stopped sailing in 2012 because he desired to gain deeper design experience and also wished to work towards his Professional Engineer's license.  Russell took a role as a Project Engineer at Young Engineering Services, a small mechanical engineering consulting firm located in Santa Cruz, CA which specializes in heat transfer and fluids system designs in the commercial industry, a role which his background fit well with.  In the fall of 2013, he took a leave of absence from work to sail once more onboard Excelerate's tankers.  While aboard, Russ analyzed energy usage against actual demand of all fluids systems in the engine room.  He collected sufficient data to quantify the amount of fuel used by inefficiently designed auxiliary systems. 

After returning to work at Young Engineering Services he co-founded Forthuber & Kingston Marine, a marine energy efficiency consulting firm, to help ship-owners capture these savings which amounted to approximately $1 million/year across a fleet of 10 ships.  This venture led him to the conclusion that the largest impact on reducing emissions and complexity in the marine industry would be through the use of autonomous vessels which use renewable energy to propel themselves.  He is currently attending MIT's Leaders For Global Operations program, a dual MBA and SM in Mechanical Engineering program which he is focusing on sustainable energy and ocean engineering.  This scholarship is important to him not only because it helps to defray the tremendous cost of his education, but it also serves to validate Russell's hypothesis that there is a space for renewable energy and autonomy in vessel operations and taking up that space would improve safety, reduce emissions, and reduce the cost of shipping products. 


William M. Kennedy Scholarship Recipient- Michael T Buelsing 

Michael Buelsing recently began his second year of a two-year Ocean Engineering Systems Management (OESM) track at MIT’s Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program. As part of the OESM track, Michael is pursuing both an S.M degree in Mechanical Engineering and an M.B.A. from the MIT Sloan School of Management.  

After receiving his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of San Diego, Michael worked for four years at Navatek Limited, a marine design firm in Honolulu, Hawaii specializing in the research and development of advanced hull forms and specialty watercraft. While there, Michael was involved in the design, fabrication and on-water testing of numerous slam-resistant vessels and vessel ride enhancement systems.   

Michael is both honored and grateful to be selected as a recipient of the William M. Kennedy Scholarship.  Upon graduating in May of 2016, he will be pursuing a career in marine transportation or ship design and construction. 

Alan C. McClure Scholarship Recipient- James Landreth 

Lieutenant James Landreth is a nuclear engineer who is passionate about probabilistic risk assessment, sensitivity and uncertainty quantification, and automation.  Landreth graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2008 with a degree in Naval Architecture.  Commissioned as a nuclear submarine officer, Landreth completed four strategic deterrent patrols onboard USS ALASKA.  Landreth currently serves in Charleston, S.C. at the Nuclear Power Training Unit as the lead assessor for propulsion plant operations.  In conjunction with his naval service, Landreth is pursuing his Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of South Carolina.  He lives in Charleston, S.C. with his wife, Ashlee, and daughter, Taylor Grace. 

David A. O'Neil Scholarship Recipient- Anthony D. Nigro 

After graduating from Chaminade H.S. in Mineola, NY in 1987, Anthony Nigro received a B.E. in Marine Engineering and a Third Assistant Engineer U.S.C.G. license from the State University of New York Maritime College, Bronx, NY in 1991. Upon graduation Anthony sailed as Third, Second, First and Chief Engineer aboard numerous Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) contracted vessels. Prior to retiring in 2012, Anthony was the permanent Chief Engineer of the MV Maersk Kentucky, a 56,800 horsepower container vessel, employed by Maersk Line Limited, Norfolk, VA. Anthony has gained experience on all types of vessels: tanker, container, car carrier, RO/RO, break bulk, LASH and passenger ships from steam and motor propulsion to newer technologies such as the electronic, common rail, Wartsila RTFLEX slow speed diesel engine. During his 21 year career at sea, Anthony contributed in Somalia Operation Restore Hope and Operation Iraqi Freedom and earned the Merchant Marine Expeditionary Award. Anthony holds a USCG Chief Engineer license of Steam, Motor and Gas Turbine Vessels, Unlimited horsepower. 

Anthony is presently employed as an Assistant Professor of Marine Engineering at the USMMA in Kings Point, NY where he has the unique privilege of educating and training young men and women for careers in the Maritime Industry. His subject areas are lower and upper division engineering courses, including: Introduction to Marine Engineering, Marine Engineering I, Marine Engineering 2, Internal Combustion Engines, Strength of Materials, Materials Engineering Laboratory and Chemistry for Marine Engineers. With the Maritime Industry constantly evolving; Anthony believes it is necessary for an engineer to continually pursue education. This is evidenced throughout his career with many courses taken at the M.E.B.A. Calhoon Engineering School. Since Anthony has retired from his career at sea, he is now able to fulfill his long time goal of obtaining a Master of Science in Marine Engineering. Anthony is presently enrolled in the MMarE program at the USMMA, Kings Point NY and is expected to graduate in 2016. Anthony has been an active member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers since 2012 and resides in Manhasset Hills, NY.