By Barr Turner ’17
Even thousands of miles from the familiar iron gates and brick edifices of Webb Institute, the sense of community among Webb students and alumni remains strong. Webb graduates and students experienced this at the annual Webb Europe Alumni meeting, graciously hosted this past February by Mark Martecchini (’79) and his wife Laurie at their home in Rotterdam. The event, organized by Leah Sosa (’08), brings together members of the Webb community currently living in Europe. This year, that group included students on winter work assignments, recent graduates completing master’s degrees, and alumni with established careers in various European countries.
Europe’s vibrant maritime industry and wealth of higher education institutions make it an attractive place for Webbies to settle after graduation. This year’s meeting was attended by Webb graduates currently living and working in the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK, and Italy. Additionally, two recent grads are currently completing graduate degrees at European institutions: Delft University in the Netherlands and ETH Zurich in Switzerland.
Three current Webb students were also able to attend the meeting, as they were fortunate enough to complete internships this winter in Europe. This year, students held internships at STX Shipyard in St. Nazaire, France; Lloyd’s Register in Trieste, Italy; and the ship management company Hammonia Reederei in Hamburg, Germany. In recent years, Webb students have held winter work positions at Maran Gas Maritime Inc. in Athens, Greece; Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT) in Paris, France; ZF Marine Krimpen in Zaag, Netherlands; and Stolt Tankers in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Over drinks and dinner, the meeting’s attendees shared their experiences in Europe and reflected on the opportunities that Webb has made possible for them. A common theme was the unique and rewarding nature of living and working abroad. Cody Owen (’15) shared his experiences as a student in the Offshore Engineering track of the European Wind Energy Master program, which is comprised of a consortium of universities in northern Europe. As part of this program, Cody has studied at DTU (Denmark), TU Delft (Netherlands), NTNU (Norway), and is currently completing his master’s thesis at TU Delft. Gilberto Besena, who spent a semester at Webb in 2015 as part of an exchange program with the University of Southhampton, remarked that he was impressed with the great sense of community and group culture among Webb graduates. Gilberto currently works in the sailing yacht industry in Genoa, Italy.
Overall, this event was a great opportunity for Webbies in Europe to reminisce on fond memories of Webb and discuss the rewards and challenges of working, living, and interning abroad. A wonderful time was had by all. In typical Webb fashion, the evening wrapped up with a few pints at a local bar.