| posted by Joe Hice |

NC State women assigned submarine duty

How cool is that.  Two NC State women will be among the first females to serve on submarines, the United States Navy announced yesterday.

Midshipman Megan Bittner, 22, from Chesapeake, Va., and Officer Candidate Karen Achtyl, 25, from Rochester, N.Y. will be commissioned as ensigns in the U. S. Navy on May 14. On May 15, the two students will graduate from North Carolina State, Magna Cum Laude. Bittner will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Green Chemistry and Engineering and a minor in Naval Science. Achtyl will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Business Management.

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Following their commissioning and graduation on May 15, Bittner and Achtyl will attend Nuclear Power School in Charleston, S. C., before being assigned their first submarine.

“I don’t believe the Navy could have picked two finer females to pioneer the entrance of females in the submarine community,” said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Timothy Nichols, executive officer of the North Carolina Piedmont Region NROTC consortium, which includes Duke University, the University of North Carolina and N.C. State.

“These are two outstanding midshipmen and the perfect candidates to be officers and leaders in the submarine force. They are both ready and eager to start their Navy careers.”

Both midshipmen had to go through an extensive interview process with the top Navy officer in the submarine force in Washington, D.C., Adm. Kirkland Donald.

Following are biographies for both Bittner and Achtyl

Midshipman Megan Christine Bittner hails from Chesapeake, Virginia. She is the daughter of CDR Lawrence P. Bittner USN (ret.) and Mrs. Tracy Bittner. Ensign Bittner grew up in the Navy. After a career as a surface nuclear officer, her father retired from the Navy in 2004. Ensign Bittner grew up primarily in the Chesapeake area. In high school she was the captain of the swim team and president of the chemistry club. She was accepted to North Carolina State University on a NROTC scholarship, and continued to swim on the Club Team while in college. Ensign Bittner distinguished herself as a top performer in the Wolfpack Battalion, eventually becoming the Midshipman Battalion Commander. She will graduate Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Green Chemistry and Engineering and a minor in Naval Science. For her outstanding leadership and academic achievement, she was the recipient of the CNO’s distinguished graduate award. She is commissioning as a Submarine Officer and has orders to attend Nuclear Power School in Charleston, South Carolina.

Officer Candidate Karen Rose Achtyl hails from Rochester, New York, and is the daughter of Joseph and Diane Achtyl. She enlisted in the United States Navy following high school, and completed a year of college at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania while waiting for basic training, which she reported for in May of 2004. She completed Naval Nuclear Power School in Charleston, SC and Prototype (Nuclear Power Training Unit) in Ballston Spa, NY before being chosen to serve as a Prototype instructor. She was selected for the Seaman to Admiral-21 (STA-21) program in February 2007. After graduating from the Naval Science Institute in Newport, RI, she reported to the NROTC program at North Carolina State University in April of 2007. As a member of the Wolfpack Battalion, she served in multiple billets, including Command Master Chief. She participated in study abroad to Lyon, France, studying chemical engineering and French. She was also part of the RAMP-UP program, funded by the university and the National Science Foundation, aimed at recognizing math and engineering potential in historically under-represented children. Through this program she worked in Wake County public schools for ten hours a week, teaching math and science. She will graduate Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Business Management. She is commissioning as a Submarine Officer and has orders to attend Nuclear Power School in Charleston, S. C.

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