An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News Stories
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

USNA Civilian Professors Participate in DV Embark aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

by Jennifer Cragg, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs
07 September 2023 Twelve U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) civilian professors who had never set foot on an aircraft carrier had an opportunity to experience landing onto the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and embarking aboard for an overnight stay, Aug. 29.

USNA Civilian Professors Participate in DV Embark aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
SLIDESHOW | 1 images | USNA Civilian Professors Participate in DV Embark aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower USNA Civilian Professors Participate in DV Embark aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
During their underway visit, the embarked guests visited more than 20 spaces, met with the Eisenhower’s leadership, as well as members of the ship’s crew.

The faculty at USNA fill a unique position in molding future Navy and Marine Corps officers. Throughout a midshipmen’s time at the academy, about half of their professors and mentors are civilian faculty. By providing a brief exposure to life at sea, the professors gain a first-hand look at life aboard an aircraft carrier while gaining an understanding of what the fleet will be like for their students.

Karyn Sproles, Dean of Faculty Development and Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning, USNA, was one of the 12 embarked guests.

“So many of our professors just really don’t have a deep understanding of what our students will go on to do after they graduate from the Academy,” Sproles said, who has served as the dean of faculty development for the past eight years.

“Experiences like this really help them connect with the students that they are teaching because they can see what they are educating our students for,” Sproles said. “They basically see their futures when they take a trip like this. It gives them a real connection with the students.”

Scott Hottovy, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, was another participant who gained first-hand experiences of aircraft operations at sea.

“It is important to see what my students will do after they graduate, it is also important to see the people that they will be in charge of,” Hottovy said. “It is good to talk with the enlisted and their needs and best communicate to my students.”

Hottovy’s father served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and was stationed on an aircraft carrier. He had always wanted to gain an understanding of what his father experienced during his naval service.

“My father lit up when I told him that I had an opportunity to embark aboard an aircraft carrier,” Hottovy added.

Participating in an embark opportunity also helped the professors to better understand their role and how they fit into the larger mission of educating the next generation of leaders.

“Every once in a while there are moments in a faculty member’s life where you get this deep understanding of what it is that we are educating our students to do,” Sproles said. “You gain that inspiration because of moments like this. This embark really helps us all understand how we fit into the larger mission. USNA has a powerful sense of purpose beyond anything I have experienced at other institutions, and the embark shows us that mission in action.”

Another embarked guest, Craig Whitaker, professor in the Chemistry department, arrived at the USNA in 1997 and has wanted to embark aboard an aircraft carrier.

“I have been trying to embark on a carrier for 23 years,” Whitaker said. “There are so many subjects that we teach in chemistry that overlap and our students are later exposed to in the fleet. Just to see what we are teaching in the class relates to the fleet, everything from corrosion to nuclear reactors, boiler water.”

As an added bonus to the embark experience, and as luck would have it, Whitaker had the opportunity to catch up with one of his former research students who graduated from the USNA in 2019.

“He was eating dinner in the officer's mess when we went in there. Very fun to see him in his professional life after the Academy as a helicopter pilot assigned to the Eisenhower,” Whitaker added. “He was a great researcher.”

Naval Air Force Atlantic is responsible for six nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, 54 aircraft squadrons, 1,200 aircraft and 43,000 officers, enlisted and civilian personnel based on the East Coast of the United States. It provides combat ready, sustainable naval air forces with the right personnel, properly trained and equipped, with a focus on readiness, operational excellence, interoperability, safety, and efficient resourcing.  |  |  Navy FOIA  |  DoD Accessibility/Section 508  |  No Fear Act  |  Open Government  |  Plain Writing Act  |  Veterans Crisis Line  |  VA Vet Center  |  FVAPDoD Safe Helpline  |  Navy SAPR  |  NCIS Tips  |  Site Map  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Webmaster | Information quality | Public Use notice | Useful Links
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic  |  1562 Mitscher Ave., Suite 300  |   Norfolk, Virginia 23551-2427  |   Contact AIRLANT 
Official U.S. Navy Website