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Florida Poly offers first in the nation pre-Naval STEM program

Students can receive scholarships before becoming an officer in the Navy.

Florida Polytechnic University is offering a new program for students to earn a degree before going on to serve as an officer in the U.S. Navy.

The school’s new Nuclear Propulsion Pipeline Program is the first of its kind in the nation, and provides science-minded students with financial support and military guidance to enter the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and Naval officer training. Students at other schools can apply to the U.S. Navy Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) Program, but that doesn’t begin until a student’s junior year. The Florida Poly program accepts students in their freshman year and provides a scholarship, training, and support.

“This is a unique opportunity, especially because our students are thoughtful innovators and scientists, who are brilliant and have a high sense of purpose,” said Ben Matthew Corpus, vice provost of enrollment at Florida Poly. “Our collaboration is taking our mutual goals to the highest level of academic, military, and energy science.”

The Florida Poly program launched this semester and currently has 12 students. In the fall of 2021, students in the program will earn a $5,000 scholarship in their freshman and sophomore years. In the second term of their sophomore year, those chosen for the NUPOC program can receive $26,000 in compensation from the U.S. Navy. That increases to $53,000 each for their junior and senior years. An additional $15,000 signing bonus is also possible.

Students in their junior year are also eligible for military health care and life insurance, and receive a military ID allowing them access to gym facilities and shopping at military bases.

“Florida Poly’s program is a reflection of the University’s commitment to providing tangible benefits to its students and graduates,” said Commander Donovan Rivera, commanding officer of Navy Talent Acquisition Group Miami. “It’s clear that Florida Poly wants to provide the greatest scope of relevant opportunities to its students — from more traditional career opportunities to challenging and unique opportunities within the military.”

Students in the program also receive mentorship from peers and military members, covering physical fitness, nutrition, career development, academic counseling and Navy familiarization.

Elisa Rexinger, a junior majoring in computer engineering, said her acceptance to the Florida Poly Nuclear Propulsion Pipeline Program is providing a path to a rewarding career.

“I was inspired to apply after learning how I could use the engineering skills I’m learning at Florida Poly in a way that serves my country in projects far more significant than I could imagine,” Rexinger said. “The academic curriculum and personal support offered by Florida Poly has been invaluable in preparing me for a Naval career.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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