Q: How have you been spending your time since graduating from K?
A: Since graduating from K I have started working at the Navy Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, South Carolina. I signed on in June and went to Officer Development School in October. I got to my command in December and have been working ever since.
Q: Can you tell me a little about what your position is and what it entails?
A: My job currently entails getting qualified to become a Nuclear Instructor at the Power School on base. The process of getting qualified essentially consists of taking several exams over a variety of topics, giving practice lectures, and doing a series of boards in which I have to explain subjects to my superiors in order to prove my knowledge.
Q: What inspired you to join the Navy? Did you consider any other job opportunities?
A: I joined the Navy because I wanted a job that guaranteed me responsibility, challenged me in my field of interest, and allowed me to serve something bigger than myself. I know that sounds like a recruitment advertisement, but so far I have found all of those criteria to have been met. I also considered a job for Teach For America in Chicago and a job with the Peace corps in Tanzania. Both alternatives were good choices, but the Navy just seemed like way too cool of an opportunity to miss out on.
Q: How have you been adjusting to life in Charleston, South Carolina? Is it radically different than Kalamazoo?
A: Life in Charleston has been great so far. It is a really fun city. It is very different from K.
Q: How applicable has your K education been to your position with the Navy?
A: I majored in chemistry and French at K and, to be honest, my job with the Navy is more math, physics, and engineering oriented. That being said, I think the education I received in the chemistry department at K allows me to understand certain topics on a different level than my engineer counterparts.
Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not at work?
A: I have been trying to stay really active and have made an effort to explore as much of Charleston as possible. That being said, I think the most valuable thing I gained from K was the friends I made, and it has really sucked to have moved so far away from them. The caliber of those people is something rare.
Q: Can you tell me about some of your future plans? What’s next?
A: This question is hilarious because people just finished asking me that when I graduated and now they are asking it again! I have four years of active duty in Charleston and after that I really don’t know. There are several opportunities within the Navy I can laterally transfer into, or I can choose to separate from the Navy and find a job or use my G.I. bill to further my education. I like to think that my options will be open and that my time in Charleston will have been a good first step towards whatever path I choose.