Cummins new marine agent for Calhoun County

March 10, 2008

By Cindie Powell

PORT LAVACA, TX — Rhonda Cummins began her duties as Calhoun County’s new County Extension Agent – Coastal and Marine Resources for Texas Sea Grant Extension at the beginning of March.

“I am so excited to be back in Calhoun County,” Cummins said. “When I decided to leave here to pursue a master’s at Texas A&M University, I was looking for a career that would allow me to combine my experiences as an educator with my love for boats and water. Having the opportunity to work for Sea Grant and AgriLife is a dream come true.”

Cummins, who is scheduled to receive her master’s degree in Marine Resources Management from Texas A&M University in May, has a bachelor of arts degree in English from East Texas State University. She has an extensive background in secondary education, having taught mathematics at Texas high schools and middle schools for more than 10 years, including more than three years at Calhoun High School. She also holds a Master’s license to operate 200-ton passenger vessels (US Coast Guard Master 200 Ton License) under motor, steam and sail and is a licensed Able-Bodied Seaman. Cummins served as an education officer, purser, able seaman and chief mate aboard several different sailing vessels on the Pacific and Great Lakes, giving dockside tours, teaching sessions on 18th century merchant ships and sailing, and conducting educational field trips at the various ports of call. She also was the captain of the Galveston Historical Foundation’s 81-passenger tour vessel, conducting educational and historical tours of Galveston Harbor for school groups and the public.

“We are excited about having someone with her background and experience for Calhoun County,” said Dr. Robert Stickney, director of the Texas Sea Grant College Program. “Rhonda combines a solid background in education with maritime experience that will be of great help not only to Texas Sea Grant, but to the residents and visitors to Calhoun County, in her new position. She is, in my estimation, a perfect fit with the county.” 

Cummins replaces Dr. Bill Harvey, who retired last year.

Texas Sea Grant Extension is a cooperative effort of the Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service (formerly Texas Cooperative Extension), and commissioners’ courts in participating counties. Its network of agents who are trained to deal with coastal and marine issues at the county level is patterned after the highly successful agricultural cooperative extension model. 

Texas Sea Grant is a component of the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is one of a network of 31 university-based programs in coastal and Great Lakes states. Through a partnership of industry, government and higher education, Sea Grant sponsors and promotes programs aimed at the understanding, wise use and stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources to develop and maintain a sustainable economy and a healthy environment.

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Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.