BLOOMFIELD — A life-long love of science and curiosity into how things work has led a Bloomfield High School senior to be accepted into the Navy nuclear engineering program.
Jacob Taylor will be attending the Nuclear Power School at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Compound in Goose Creek, S.C. this summer.
At the school, he'll learn how to handle and maintain nuclear power plant operation along with handling maintenance for Naval ships and submarines.
"I always had a mind for engineering and putting stuff together in ways," Taylor said. "Nuclear engineering seemed difficult enough that it would keep the challenge going while having enough of a mind set I already have."
U.S. Navy Petty Officer Daniel Dame said Taylor's score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test place him in the top category, automatically qualifying him for the program.
Taylor is the only student from San Juan County this year who qualified for the school and Dame said last year only one student qualified for the school.
Dame said Taylor had to pass a physical exam and a background check since he'll be granted a "Secret" security clearance for classified information.
For Taylor, going into the armed services wasn't his first choice.
He was planning on attending the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro.
"I originally said no but one of my friends convinced me to give it another try," Taylor said.
A big factor for Taylor to pursue the nuclear engineering program is his love of science and trying to uncover how the universe works.
He has taken a number of optional science classes during high school and is currently enrolled in Honors Chemistry 2 and Physics.
It was science behind nuclear engineering which he found intriguing and led him to signing up for the armed service.
"I like the science behind it," Taylor said. "I like new things, how atoms work and how they split and do all that. Then actually applying it to energy and making it useful."
The program at the Nuclear Power School will run for two years and Taylor will earn about 118 college credit hours towards a Bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering.
After completing the program, he'll be stationed on an aircraft carrier or a nuclear submarine.
Dame said he believes Taylor will fit in at the school and will succeed.
"He'll be among many kindred spirits," Dame said.