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After a rigorous yearlong application process that culminated in a personal interview with Admiral John M. Richardson, Cord Stasolla ’15 (Morrisville, Pa.) has been accepted into the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) program.

Cord Stasolla ’15 in Acopian Engineering Center

Cord Stasolla ’15 in Acopian Engineering Center

Stasolla has been preparing for this moment his entire life. Influenced by his grandfather, who served as an Army medic during the Korean War, and his father, who is a nuclear engineer, Stasolla joined the Army ROTC program his first year at Lafayette. The NUPOC program is a perfect fit, allowing him to pursue his interest in cutting-edge nuclear technology while serving his country.

Applicants must pass comprehensive security checks and medical exams as well as technical interviews with Navy nuclear officers. Stasolla’s mechanical engineering background helped him tackle the tough calculus and physics problems the officers gave him during the phone interviews, earning him a trip to Washington, D.C., to complete in-person technical interviews and speak with Admiral Richardson, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program, who personally selects all prospective officers.

“To put interviewing with Admiral Richardson in perspective—and this is what they tell us prior to the interviews—it is the equivalent of being interviewed by Steve Jobs for a position at Apple,” says Stasolla. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous as I was standing outside the admiral’s office waiting to be interviewed. He asks questions to determine whether you would be an effective officer and leader. Only two or three minutes after the interview, you are told whether you have been accepted.”

Stasolla also traveled to Naval Base San Diego this summer to tour a cruiser and submarine. After discussing the Navy and its nuclear program with officers, he decided to pursue submarine training.

“It amazes me. These submarines receive all their propulsion power from onboard nuclear reactors and can travel millions of miles for around 20 years without ever having to be refueled,” he says. “As an engineer, I am very excited to work with this cutting-edge technology.”

Stasolla is now considered active duty military with orders “to finish school” with a 3.0 GPA and no grade lower than a C. Immediately after graduation, he will begin Officer Candidacy School (the officer equivalent of basic training) in Newport, R.I., for 12 weeks.

Stasolla will begin an academic curriculum recognized as one of the most difficult in the world, competing with top nuclear programs at Harvard and MIT. He will attend Naval Nuclear Power School in Charleston, S.C., a 24-week graduate-level course of study in nuclear engineering with an emphasis on the reactors that power ships and submarines. He then will attend a 26-week Nuclear Power Training Unit, often called Prototype, in either Charleston or Ballston Spa, N.Y., where he will apply his academic work to a fully operational nuclear reactor. The final part of his academic experience is the 12-week Submarine Officer Basic Course in New London, Conn., where officers learn about submarine operations.

After his training, Stasolla will report to an assigned submarine as a fully trained nuclear officer. He has committed to a three-year sea tour, alternating between three-month deployments to oceans around the world and three-month port assignments.

Mechanical engineering graduate David Krisovitch ’86 completed the program and served with the Navy as a Nuclear Propulsion Officer. After leaving the Navy, Krisovitch founded and is president and CEO of Microtool Precision Manufacturing in Hanover Township, Pa.

Categorized in: Academic News, Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, News and Features, Students
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  1. Marissa Liebman, Lehigh Valley Army ROTC says:

    Congratulations Statsolla! Proud to see you going into the service of this nation, even if it isn’t with the Army. I know you’ll hold yourself to high standards and set the bar for your peers. Good luck out there 🙂

  2. The Meer Family says:

    Way to go Cord!

  3. Lafayette parent says:

    Congratulations on this outstanding achievement, and thank you for your service to our country. It is a fortunate thing, indeed, that Lafayette College is represented by the likes of you.

  4. Neighbor USMC retired spouse says:

    This is a great accomplishment and we are all very proud of you.

  5. Wendy Stasolla says:

    I’m so proud of you, my dear nephew!!! This is an amazing accomplishment as well as a huge opportunity for you. You earned this, congratulations! xo, Aunt W

  6. Neighbor, USMC Ret. says:

    Congratulations. You have volunteered for an exclusive and difficult duty. Your sacrifices have only just begun. Thank you for continued service to our country.

  7. Swirlie says:

    Congratulations Cord!!!!! Words can’t fully express how proud I am of you and for you.
    Love Ya,

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