Weighing the Choices

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by John9805, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. John9805

    John9805 Member

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    My DS is struggling with his options right now. I wanted to throw this situation out to this forum.

    He has an appointment to the USMMA. He has a NROTC scholarship to TAMU. (Received TWE from USNA / on the wait list for USMA)

    He is interested in obtaining a Nuclear Engineering degree. He is concerned that USMMA does not have this major. What are his options after graduation from USMMA with Nuclear Engineering minor? What possible options does he have?

    He visited has visited USMMA and TAMU. One of his main "cons" with USMMA is that it is so small.

    Thoughts? Thanks.
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I can see why he is somewhat torn. I'm not sure why he is concerned with USMMA being small. I would think that would be a plus with access to professors and all that. USMMA is tough.

    As I recall TAMU provides free room and board to contracted midshipmen. If that's right then financially there is no real difference... and from a major perspective you have to think TAMU, and for a desirable major from a Navy perspective you have to think TAMU. I know the USMMA folks on the forum will think this sacrilege, but I don't see why USMMA is even in the running especially if he's concerned about it's being small. What am I missing? Why is your son still considering USMMA? What haven't you told us? Could it possibly be the unique education that USMMA provides? :smile:
     
  3. John9805

    John9805 Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    TAMU does not provide free room and board. That presents a financial difference that must be considered...

    Why is he still considering USMMA - because we are asking that he weigh the options... that he seriously thinks about the opportunities presented from both USMMA and TAMU... the "pros" and "cons" of each.

    We see the "pros" to the small campus. He has it as a "pro"... but he has added that to the "con" side too...
     
  4. 4 kids

    4 kids New Member

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    Are you from Texas?

    If you are from Texas you know that A&M has a terrific, supportive alumni base (and I am speaking as a graduate of their instate rival)... they take care of each other. If he wants to go to a big college with all the bells and whistles of big time college (big time sports, lots of resources, less regimented life), he should stop considering and take the scholarship at A&M. A&M also has the benefit of almost limitless choices in majors if he decides nuclear engineering is not for him.
    On the other hand, if he wants to live a highly regimented life (pretty much 24/7) with what becomes a band of brothers and sisters, (of those who survive the demanding curriculum), and train to be a sailor, he should go to USMMA. My son is class of 2016, and he wants to be a marine engineer, and that is why he is at USMMA, but the demanding regimental system combined with the academic rigor make everyone who goes there question their choice at one time or another. If you don't really want to be there in the first place, the odds of you not lasting are even higher (and then what became of that ROTC scholarship?).
     
  5. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    No nuke minor

    There is no Nuclear Engineering minor at KP.
     
  6. EDPKP81

    EDPKP81 Member

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  7. EDPKP81

    EDPKP81 Member

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  8. mperri215

    mperri215 USMMAPrep18

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    Why is he concerned with the size of the school? By having a close environment with the faculty and shipmates he can definetly expect great tutoring options and a close nit community in case he needs help with something. Odds are he will change his choice of major regardless of how motivated he is at the moment for nuclear engineering. If he intends on serving in the military world or merchant marine or even the civilian NOAA sector, USMMA is best because it will prepare him in that route and assure him work upon graduation as well as connections with other people in those fields.
     
  9. EDPKP81

    EDPKP81 Member

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    USMMA Mission Statement:

    "To educate and graduate licensed merchant mariners and leaders of exemplary character who will serve America's marine transportation and defense needs in peace and war."

    If this is what you are looking for, then KP is the place for you.
     
  10. bugsy

    bugsy Member

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    I had a similar concern

    John, I had a similar concern when my DS was selecting academies. We both wanted him to gain an engineering degree that would prepare him for any engineering industry. We were concerned that the maritime focus would exclude him from other areas of engineering. In other words would he gain a strong foundation in engineering that he could apply elsewhere if he choose. I talk to professional engineers, aircraft structural engineers and civil engineers. All where unanimous after reviewing the curriculum. They wished that graduate engineers had the hands on experience that my son would gain from KP. One said it best. Should I hire the engineer that studied how to inspect a weld or the engineer that knows how to weld.
    Your son will have both. And DS is thrilled with his choice. Returned from sea duty more motivated than ever to apply himself to systems engineering.

    I would think Learning about and applying the knowledge to steam turbines will make your son a more marketable nuclear engineer than one unable to apply the trade. Unless he wants to focus on the pure physics of nuclear power in which case he probably would enjoy a university environment.
     
  11. TwinsDad

    TwinsDad Member

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    Nuclear Engineering Options!

    First of all for nuclear engineering, I would avoid West Point since any training he received would not be practiced on active duty.

    The Naval Academy, or Naval ROTC as well as the USMMA are excellent choices as are any good technical school with good coursework in calculus, chemistry and physics. The Navy of course operates a fleet of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers and is always in need of nuclear engineers. It is imperative for those who want to go into the nuclear program to have better than a 3.2 cumulative GPA.

    My son went to SUNY maritime college and studied Marine engineering. While he did not have any nuclear courses he did have a 3.40 cgpa and studied Marine engineering. In the nuclear program they are looking for Marine engineering majors, chemistry majors and math majors. In mid-October of his senior year he went to a job fair at school and received an offer from KAPL (a division of Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation) to begin working immediately after graduation. While receiving a full engineering salary and moving expenses, he was sent to school for six months at the Navy nuclear school in Charleston South Carolina. This was followed by nine months of training on an actual working nuclear prototype the a Saratoga Springs New York. He is now out of college just under two years and he is teaching Naval officers how to operate a nuclear power plant while continuing to study for advanced ratings. The salary is unbelievable and he loves his job. I forgot to mention that he is a civilian instructor.

    At nuclear school he found out that about half his class of 100 were graduates of the US Naval Academy. He knew two USMMA KAPL civilians as well as a chemistry major from Brigham Young University and a math major from Virginia Tech also civilians. The rest of the class were Navy ensigns from various ROTC programs and the fleet.

    No prior nuclear engineering was required. What was required was fantastic grades and heavy exposure to engineering level math, chemistry, and physics. What also helped was experience with steam turbines. Upon completion of classroom and prototype training, the naval officers begin their careers either on submarines or aircraft carriers. The civilians continued their career in either a design division, or as teachers in the deployment divisions. They actually operate a working nuclear submarine prototype which is land based.

    At SUNY maritime college, approximately 40% of the Naval ROTC May 2013 graduating class received nuclear billets. Also, it would seem that about 3 to 6 Marine engineering graduates go into the civilian nuclear fields.

    I would suggest that you strongly consider Naval ROTC for nuclear should your son wants a military career. This would not stop him from reapplying to the Naval Academy next year but he really wanted to go there. I would not worry about studying nuclear engineering at the bachelor degree level. Over 90% of the nuclear program participants did not have prior nuclear training. I would further suggest that you look into the guy states Navy website on nuclear where they go into details about paying for college up to over $150,000 for very bright students to complete their college education.

    Good luck to your son as it is a very bright future for him but he should be prepared for 12 hour study and or work days with seven-day weeks and rotating shifts.
     
  12. AMF

    AMF Member

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    Take the above comment one step further..."or the engineer who actually welded"
     
  13. KP2013Momm

    KP2013Momm Member

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    The hands on training coupled with the Academics at KP creates a very well rounded engineer.
     
  14. nucwarrant

    nucwarrant Member

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    A little background on myself to hopefully give some value to my opinioin. I did 20 years in Navy nuclear power (submarines and aircraft carriers). Started as an enlisted sailor right out of high school. Got a commission as a chief warrant officer at the half-way point. Picked up a nuclear degree along the way. KP masters in marine engineering after I was out of the Navy (Most do KP then the Navy career. I feel like Merlin going through life backwards). I'm a NRC licensed senior reactor operator (which some equate to a masters in nuclear).
    If his goal is to work in the civilian nuclear industry a KP marine engineering degree followed by doing his obligation as a nuclear trained officer will get him a lot farther than simply coming out of college with a BS in nuclear engineering. Best he'll start at with a BS in nuclear is $45-65K. As a nuclear trained officer with a KP BS in marine engineering he's looking at $85-125K and it goes up from there.
    A BS in nuclear gets you is about 5% of the knowledge needed to operate a nuclear power plant. After the heat source (the reactor) the rest of it is just a steam plant. A BS from KP in marine engineering more than preps you for that 95%. Naval nuclear power school will give him the 5% he'll need to fill in the gaps.
    A final warning if he is interested in civilian nuclear power. The abundance of natural gas in this country is really impacting the nuclear industry. If your son puts all his eggs in one basket (nuclear) he may find that there's not much of an industry to work in some day. With a marine engineering degree he'll be marketable in many more areas.
     
  15. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Pay attention in welding class ... the first two questions I was ALWAYS asked upon reporting to a new ship.

    1. Can you make coffee
    2. Can you weld

    A yes answer to both (and backing it up with action) will go a long way to getting a good evaluation.
     
  16. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    The difference between the Marine Engineering and Mechanical Engineering degrees is not that much. In my former life as a government employee I had not problem qualifying for the Mechanical Engineer job series.
     
  17. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Absolutely. Being able to weld can get your uh, tail out of some pretty tight situations at times. A good knowledge of welding also came in handy when I started working ashore for Class; where I spent a fair amount of time qualifying welders and carrying out welding inspections.
     
  18. kpmom2011

    kpmom2011 Member

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    My son was a Marine Systems Engineer major. He is now a Civil Engineer. So yes the degree transfers. :) But only Kings Pointers have the fantastic Alumni Group to support them around the world in their endeavors.
     
  19. RelativeBearing

    RelativeBearing New Member

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    My sea partner was a Marine Engineering Systems major with a minor in Nuclear Systems, so yes, you can do exactly that. Opportunities after graduation include going Navy Nuke and working on nuclear powered vessels. Then, you can move shoreside and work at a plant if you don't want to stay the full 20.
     
  20. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    I wonder if it is any easier getting into the Navy nuke program without the infamous Rickover interviews.
     

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