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APSU sophomore first accepted to Navy's Nuclear Instructor Program

An APSU student has been commissioned as the first member of the U.S. Navy's 2007 Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program (NUPOC).

Daniel Hogue, son of Michael and Tammy Hogue of Cumberland Heights, was selected to become a NUPOC instructor Friday, Jan. 14, during formal interviews at Nuclear Reactor Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The process consisted of two interviews during which nuclear engineers assessed Hogue's teaching abilities, and a final interview with one of the Navy's top-ranking admirals, who delivered his decision at the conclusion of the interview.

As a sophomore, Hogue was the youngest candidate to be interviewed, competing against students from universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Naval Academy for opportunities to serve aboard submarines or surface ships, as nuclear power school instructors in Charleston, S.C. or as Naval reactors engineers in Washington, D.C. Since less than 25 students are chosen to become instructors, the physics major was elated when he was awarded one of the coveted positions.

“I had a grin from ear to ear when I walked out of the Admiral's office,” says Hogue, who spent his entire Christmas break preparing for the interviews.

“My accomplishment really hit me when I was sworn in that night in front of the flag. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.”

As part of the program, Hogue automatically receives enlisted rank as petty officer first class and a $2,500 per month stipend. Still, the levelheaded 19-year-old says his lifestyle will not change.

“I'll still come to the science building on weekends to take care of my fish and finish work, and I'll continue to work during the summers,” Hogue says.

Laughing, he adds, “My dad keeps telling me I owe him 19 years of back pay for rent.”

Once he graduates with a degree in physics, Hogue will complete Officer Indoctrination School in Newport, R.I. He then will relocate to Charleston, S.C., serving a four-year commitment as a nuclear instructor.

Until then, he must maintain a 3.3 GPA—no problem for a student who sustained a 4.0 so he could apply early for NUPOC.

“I've always been interested in the military for the leadership skills and experiences it provides, but I didn't know what I wanted to pursue,” says Hogue. “The NUPOC program is made up of some of the brightest people in the nation, so I wanted to be part of it as soon as I heard about it."

The Naval Propulsion Program was established under the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in 1948 to discover whether atomic power could be harnessed for submarine propulsion. Research in pressurized water technology under the program became the basis for all subsequent U.S. nuclear-powered warship designs. Today, nuclear energy powers the Navy's submarines and most aircraft carriers at high speeds for years without refueling.
—Terry Stringer