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Saul Krasner Memorial Science Lecture Series
LT Paul Blodgett, USN

“STEM Education in Leadership and Decision Making” 

Abstract: LT Blodgett will be discussing the importance of scientific education and technical training in leadership and decision making. He will provide an overview of the basic operation of a naval nuclear propulsion plant and describe the training philosophy of the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Program that has led to 60 years of safe operations. Additionally, he will talk about the development of “SUBSAFE,” a quality assurance program designed to maintain the safety of the nuclear submarine fleet following the loss of the USS Thresher in 1963. This model is so successful that it has been adopted by other agencies, including NASA in the wake of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. He will discuss how seemingly simple decisions that you will be required make as an officer in the Coast Guard can lead to catastrophic consequences. 

Biography: LT Paul Blodgett enlisted the Navy in 1999 and qualified for the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program. Following completion of his initial nuclear training in Charleston, South Carolina, he was awarded an ROTC scholarship to attend the University of New Mexico. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in History he accepted his naval commission and volunteered for submarine service. After achieving nuclear engineering qualification on the Navy’s prototype reactor in Saratoga Springs, New York he was assigned as the Electrical and Sonar Officer aboard the USS Albuquerque (SSN 706) stationed in New London, Connecticut. While aboard the Albuquerque, he was sent on two six-month overseas deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Following this tour, he attended the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California where he earned a master's degree in Physics and completed a thesis that studied satellite-to-submarine laser/optical communication. He was then assigned as the Chief Engineer Officer (ENG) and deployed on the USS Alexandria (SSN 757) in New London, Connecticut. As the engineer, he was responsible for the safe operation of the nuclear reactor and the training of all 65 sailors in his department. He is honored to be teaching Physics at the USCGA and to be speaking with cadets about the leadership lessons that he has learned over the last 14 years in the Navy.