After the conclusion of the Manhattan Project with the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945, many of the project’s officials turned their focus to other uses of nuclear energy. At the time, a captain in the United States Navy by the name of Hyman G. Rickover envisioned the possibility of harnessing nuclear energy to propel a submarine.
“Birthed from this vision along with several years of research and development was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, forever revolutionizing the United States Navy’s submarine force as the most technologically advanced and capable naval force in the world,” said Captain Daniel Arensmeyer, USN, commanding officer for the Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs at Rensselaer.
Today, 61 years after the commissioning of the USS Nautilus in 1954, two midshipmen from Rensselaer’s Naval ROTC program—MIDN 2/C Wesley Price and MIDN 2/C Amanda Gallo—are striving to further enhance the capabilities of nuclear power through their endeavors with its research and development.
Price is one of the top midshipmen in the program both here at Rensselaer and in the nation, according to the NROTC programs rankings. Pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, he is also one of less than 20 upperclassmen at Rensselaer with a cumulative 4.0 GPA. As a result of his hard work and determination to master the elements of mechanical engineering, he was one of only three midshipmen in the nation selected for a 10-week summer internship with the United States Naval Reactor Program. The program is one of the most prestigious engineering programs in the U.S. Navy—a joint venture between the United States Navy and the U.S. Department of Energy to develop nuclear power. Later this month, Price is set to interview with Naval Reactors for service selection.
The ROTC programs are elective offerings for students who desire commissions in the armed forces. Gallo, who is a nuclear engineering major, has been awarded a summer internship as part of the U.S. Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Internship program. She will be studying at the Brookhaven National Lab in nuclear science with Nicholas Brown, a scientist in the Nuclear Science and Technology Department. The internship will revolve around Monte Carlo simulations to optimize material combinations for the first layer of shielding in a reactor core. Currently, Gallo, who is also a senior, holds a 3.5 cumulative GPA, and is scheduled to interview for service selection in the U.S. Navy submarine community in fall 2015.
“The receiving of internships by MIDN 2/C Price and MIDN 2/C Gallo in the nuclear power industry represents the highest levels of accomplishment for NROTC midshipmen,” Captain Arensmeyer said. “Their success now provides them with even greater opportunities in their future endeavors and also instills great pride upon not only themselves, but the RPI NROTC as well.”— MIDN 2/C Zac Amicucci