First ever POP@CMA conference for women cadets draws authors, alumnae, and industry leaders to campus

(Vallejo, CA – February 2, 2012) – The California Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime), a campus of The California State University, will be holding its first ever conference designed by women, for women cadets at Cal Maritime. The conference, Pearls of Power 2012 (POP@CMA), will take place February 3-4, 2012 and will draw authors, alumnae, and industry leaders to campus for the highly anticipated two-day program.

The conference, which has received full support and endorsement of the president and senior management team on campus, is designed to create a platform of support for women cadets, which currently comprise 17% of the student population at Cal Maritime. The maritime and engineering industries have been and continue to be a growing fields critical to the American economy, both providing great pay, a wide variety of jobs as well as excellent opportunities for promotion. Yet, the maritime and engineering fields remain largely male dominated realms.

"POP is an opportunity for Cal Maritime to celebrate the pioneering spirit of women," said Dr. Vivienne McClendon, Director of the Center for Engagement, Teaching and Learning at Cal Maritime. "Our conference will link female alumni with current students, building a shared conversation and knowledge base for future success. The conference sessions will allow women to experience the power of community, providing a platform to frankly discuss the challenges of their college experience as well as later careers. We look forward to helping CMA women foster their sense of community and help each other to become leaders in the maritime world."

The conference is sponsored by Cal Maritime's Unity Council, a group of staff, faculty, and students devoted to advancing the academy’s commitment to diversity.

"POP is by far the best thing that has been planned for women on campus," said Elizabeth Machuca, a junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Cal Maritime. "I am excited to see the results and can’t wait to engage with many other females in the maritime industry. We don’t always get to hang out with other girls on campus, just because of the simple fact that we are all too busy. The Pearls of Power Conference is giving us the opportunity to communicate with others that have already experienced what we cadets are just about to run into in the industry. This event will benefit every female cadet in one way or another."

Friday's keynote speaker is Captain Deborah Dempsey, who was among the first women to attend and graduate from a state maritime academy. She was one of the first women to serve as Commanding Officer of a cargo ship on international waters. She writes about her experiences working in a traditionally male environment in her book The Captain's a Woman, which she co-wrote with Joanne Foster.

Saturday's keynote speaker is Sara Laschever, who has spent her career investigating the obstacles, detours, and special circumstances that shape women’s lives and careers. She has written extensively about women in literature and the arts, women in the sciences, women in academia, and women in business. She is the co-author of two ground-breaking books about women and negotiation with the economist Linda Babcock: Women Don't Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation–and Positive Strategies for Change; and Ask for It! How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want.

"By having this conference here at CMA it show us ladies that we have women support to help us strive for excellence," said Tiffanie Puente, a license-track mechanical engineering junior. "Women are resilient; they are not only leaders in the maritime industry but they also play the role of mothers, wives, girlfriends, bosses, and finally warriors. This conference will help our small community of women in gaining unity and providing us with the comforting message that we are not alone. I am looking forward to attending this year’s conference and hopefully the many that will follow."

In addition to the keynote sessions, the event will include a panel discussion featuring successful women alumnae, sessions on the importance of networking and mentoring, roundtable discussions of issues and opportunities facing women on campus and in the workplace, a "high-powered" tea, tips on dressing for success, and many other informative sessions. A full schedule of events is located at

Established in 1929, California State University Maritime Academy is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Located in Vallejo, California, the campus offers undergraduate degrees that prepare students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.