HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi
University of Southern Mississippi undergraduates Jeremy Kirksey of Semmes, Ala. and Grant Tingstrom of Bay St. Louis, Miss. are joining the U.S. Navy after graduation. Both are students in the College of Science and Technology (COST).
Kirksey, a senior double major in mathematics and physics, will participate in the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program (NUPOC). NUPOC is a program for students with a technical background in engineering or math. Students who apply to the program go through a rigorous screening process.
Once students are accepted, they continue college with no service obligations to the Navy until graduation while getting a monthly stipend, and upon completion of school they will start Navy training. Kirksey said "To me, there is no greater honor than to join any branch of the military."
After learning more about the program, Kirksey decided this was the route he wanted to take. He soon learned about the referral program and recruited his classmate, Grant Tingstrom. Tingstrom, a senior also majoring in mathematics and physics, said "The experiences and training opportunities provided by the Navy seem to be unparalleled by anything else."
Once Kirksey graduates in May 2017, he plans to enroll in the Navy Nuclear Power School, and six months later will go to submarine school to become a nuclear officer on the submarine in charge of a nuclear reactor.
According to Tingstrom, he plans to take a road trip in May before he heads off to training. Both students must finish their initial commitment of five years, and will then have the opportunity to continue their career in the Navy or start a new path.
"Southern Miss has done a great job of preparing me to go into the workforce and further my education," said Tingstrom.
Kirksey was an OC1 (Officer Candidate First Class), but was promoted to OCC (Officer Candidate Chief). Tingstrom will be an OC1.