Inside USD

Unprecedented Future Has Depth

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Roe-PhotoKimberly Roe, a graduating senior at the University of San Diego, has been selected as one of the first women to ever be assigned to submarine duty for the United States Navy.

A mathematics major in the College of Arts and Sciences, an Honors Program participant and a Midshipman in the San Diego Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC), Roe has achieved extensive academic and personal success while at USD.

A native of Sioux Falls, S.D., Roe came to USD interested in the NROTC program because of its reputation for excellence and opportunities the program offered its young cadets.

“Joining NROTC was too good an opportunity to pass up,” Roe said. “The officers always gave us a reason to keep going, to keep pushing ourselves. The ability to make a difference was always there.”

Congress only passed the newly established program, allowing women to be assigned to duty on a Navy submarine, last month. The program will welcome women aboard beginning fall 2011. Roe said she’ll spend the next year in training before learning where she will report. So far, 20 women have been selected to serve on submarines — 11 from the Naval Academy and nine, including Roe, from NROTC programs across the U.S.

Captain Bill Ault, commanding officer for the San Diego NROTC and a professor of Naval Science said, “Midshipman Roe is an outstanding candidate for submarine service. She excelled as both a student and a midshipman during her time at USD and her record of achievement will undoubtedly lead to future successes in submarines.”

Roe credits strong leadership in the NROTC and her academic studies, in math as well as minors in English and Naval History, for her success. Diane Hoffoss, a USD math professor, has been one of her academic mentors. Roe credits Hoffoss for motivating her to forge ahead in such a tough degree field.

“Kim has never shied away from a challenge,” Hoffoss said. “She works hard at every obstacle until she overcomes it. I admire her quiet tenacity. I am so proud to see the strong woman that she has become, and I’m sure she will continue to impress people who have the good fortune to get to know her in the future.”

Roe will serve as a nuclear engineer aboard a submarine. She expects to change stations every two years and so, too, will her duties and responsibilities. She’s hopeful for a tour of duty in Hawaii where she did some summer training last year.

While Roe did acknowledge that what she’s doing is an unprecedented opportunity, she seems more focused on the task ahead. “This is a really important step for women. I hope it goes well and that, in time, it really becomes no big deal.”

— Melissa Wagoner

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