WARREN, Ohio (NNS) -- Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Academy of Warren School Teacher Nicole Mountain, from Clarksburg, Pennsylvania, was the only person selected this year to become an Oceanography Officer (OCEANO) in the United States Navy.
Mountain, who currently lives in Niles, Ohio, graduated Saltsburg High School in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2008. She attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and graduated in 2013 with a degree in Earth and Space Science Education and a degree in Geology.
STEAM Academy of Warren is a free public charter school that serves grades K-8 in the Warren community. Mountain has been teaching at the school for two years and is currently teaching science to 6th- through 8th-grade students, as well as 8th-grade history. She is scheduled to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island, after the school year ends June 4.
"When I was in 11th grade, I took the ASVAB, the Navy called me soon after," Mountain said. "I was unable to join then due to braces, but I always wanted to study the ocean and felt as if the Navy had the best options to challenge my mind and help me grow."
According to Mountain her family was supportive of her decision to join the Navy, though some did not understand why she wanted to leave teaching because of how involved she was with the school. She stated that her students had been the greatest supporters of her following her dream of naval service.
"The Navy has always been a dream of mine," Mountain said. "I would do anything to protect my students, and the Navy is one way I could pursue my dream and still protect them. I love teaching, I love my job, coming in every day to smiling faces and hugs and watching 'light bulb' moments, but I need to follow my dream when I can instead of regretting it my whole life. I can always go back to teaching after my time in the Navy is over."
Mountain stated her recruiter, Lt. Nicholas Billock, and officer processor, Louise Fiszer, provided a lot of help in preparing everything she needed to be selected, and that she has great respect for everyone at Navy Officer Recruiting Station (NORS) Cleveland.
"Mountain fit the mold perfectly and prior to the board, I connected her with the OCEANO community to ensure a perfect fit," said Billock.
Billock stated that Mountain and the OCEANO Community Manager Lt. Cmdr. Christi Montgomery spoke at length after the selection and found out that they had the same educational background and shared the same passions and talents.
"Selection to a program leading to a commission in Naval Oceanography is very competitive," Montgomery said. "Prospective candidates must have completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, preferably with majors in science, meteorology, oceanography, mathematics, physics, engineering, hydrography and geology. A cumulative grade point average of 2.2 is required, but 2.8 is preferred, with required completion of a calculus series, and a calculus-based physics series. Upon commissioning, officers can expect extensive classroom and on-the-job training in the operational and tactical application of the meteorology and oceanography disciplines, to include graduate education at the master's level at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California."
Montgomery stated that Navy Oceanographers serve in a variety of settings aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, destroyers, global combatant commands, fleet headquarters, naval observatories and research labs.
"The criticality of environmental-battlespace awareness compelled Navy leaders to invest in the creation of specialized community of officers devoted to honing expertise in the fields of oceanography, meteorology, geospatial information and services, hydrography, and precise time and astrometry," Montgomery said. "The oceanography officer community and designator was established in the mid-1970s, and today, continues a 40-year tradition of providing the best support and environmental awareness to Navy operators around the world."
There are approximately 350 active-duty Navy oceanography officers in the Navy today operating around the world providing precise and timely knowledge of operational and tactical battlespace from the depths of the ocean or the outer reaches of space to mission commanders.
"The Navy oceanography community is always looking for diverse and physically fit candidates with strong academic records in science and technological fields, and demonstrated leadership experience in employment, volunteer service and team sports," Montgomery said.
For more news from Navy Recruiting District Ohio, visit www.navy.mil/local/nrdo/.