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Crowley Awards United States Merchant Marine Academy Cadets Scholarships at the Connie Awards Dinner

(Jacksonville, Fla.; Dec. 12, 2010) – Crowley continued to reward exemplary students at maritime schools around the country this week, presenting Thomas B. Crowley Sr. Memorial Scholarships to four deserving midshipmen from the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at the Containerization and Intermodal Institute’s Connie Awards dinner in Newark, N.J.

The USMMA cadets Christina Becker, David Irish, Lesley Walz and Gregory Otto were recognized with Crowley scholarships for their strong academic records, leadership capacity and financial need. Sarah Cross, Crowley’s marine recruiter, presented the scholarships at the yearly dinner attended by hundreds of maritime and transportation professionals.

A native of Merriam, Kan., Becker has always been involved in school and extracurricular activities, including music and theatre. A true go-getter Becker worked various jobs through middle school and high school to help pay for these activities. As senior a high school senior, she dreamed of attending a service academy to further her education and make her family proud. Since being accepted at the USSMA, she has taken an active role in several regimental leadership positions at the academy, including company executive officer, team leader, squad leader and petty officer. Becker is a logistics and intermodal transportation major and in June 2011 will sit for her USCG Third Mate’s License.

Walz is currently finishing up her last year at the USMMA as a First Classman. During her four-year stint at the academy she has expanded her knowledge of the maritime industry, logging in more than 300 sailing days as a cadet aboard sea-going vessels and also a towboat on the Mississippi River. She has sailed aboard the Sea-Land Intrepid, M/V Jean Anne, M/V Charleston Express and the USNS Paul Buck, and has spent a month on the T/V Kings Pointer, the academy’s training vessel. Additionally, her several small group leadership positions have helped her excel in the school’s leadership program. After graduation, she plans to continue sailing.
A native and lifelong Philadelphian, Otto has achieved considerable success both in and out the classroom. He has maintained a 3.5 cumulative grade point average while participating in a variety of extracurricular activities, including serving as a boat skipper on the offshore sailing/power squadron teams, vice president of the martial arts club and the ethics and leadership program. Otto plans to sail as a licensed deck office in the merchant marine, before starting his own maritime company. 

Irish grew up in Lynnwood, Wash. and is among several in his family to have attended the USMAA. His father, a 1975 Kings Point alumnus and former Crowley assistant port captain in Seattle, and brother, a 2001 graduate now working as a chief mate for Alaska Tanker Company, both attended the school. Upon graduation, Irish hopes to work in the shipping, towing or blue water industries. His experience on the water includes stints on the Sea-Land Comet, a Maersk container ship that sails from California to Alaska and the Far East, and 138 days as an engine cadet on the Liberty Eagle, a bulk grain ship that sailed from to Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa. Irish is also team captain for winter and spring track and field teams.

Crowley scholarships are part of Crowley’s lengthy and ongoing commitment to education. Over the years, Crowley Chairman, President and CEO, Tom Crowley Jr., has directed the company to present scholarship dollars to deserving students at the maritime academies and other select institutions in the United States, Caribbean and Central America in the name of his father Thomas B. Crowley Sr., who guided the company to extraordinary heights before passing away in 1994.

Since 1984, Crowley has provided more than half-a-million dollars in scholarship funding for more than 200 students studying at maritime academies and other select institutions. In 2006, the program expanded to Central America and to date has provided financial assistance to more approximately 20 students in that region.

The Containerization & Intermodal Institute established the Connie Award in 1972 to recognize individuals that have made extraordinary contributions to the evolution of containerized shipping and intermodalism. For more information about the CII, visit

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