Joanna Bridge, a graduate of WPI's Class of 2007, was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy by President George W. Bush in a May 17, 2007 ceremony at the White House. Ensign Bridge, 22, of Amherst, N.H., graduated with high distinction from WPI on May 19 with a B.S. in civil engineering. Two days prior to WPI’s Commencement 2007, she represented Massachusetts in the first Joint Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) commissioning ceremony ever held at the White House.
WORCESTER, Mass. – Joanna Bridge, a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) Class of 2007, was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy by President George W. Bush in a May 17, 2007 ceremony at the White House.
Ensign Bridge, of Amherst, N.H., graduated with high distinction from WPI on May 19 with a B.S. in civil engineering. She attended the university on a full Naval ROTC scholarship. Two days prior to WPI’s Commencement 2007, she represented Massachusetts in the first Joint Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) commissioning ceremony ever held at the White House.
The 22-year-old Bridge received her commission by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The ceremony featured ROTC cadets and midshipmen representing the 50 states and U.S. territories who took an oath to defend the U.S. Constitution and accepted gold bars to wear on their uniforms. During the ceremony, President Bush lauded the cadets and midshipmen for deciding on a military career.
"Many of you were still in high school when terrorists brought death and destruction to our streets on September 11th, 2001," President Bush said. "You were high school students. And yet, some of you understood that the cause of freedom would soon depend on your generation's willingness to step forward to defend it. And when it came time to be counted, each of you volunteered, knowing full well the risks involved during a time of war.
"As your Commander-in-Chief," he continued, "I salute your decision to serve, and I congratulate you on a fine achievement."
Bridge's love for the U.S. Navy started when she was in the fifth grade when she saw the film "The Hunt for Red October" and became passionate about submarines. Soon after, her parents, Andrew and Elizabeth Bridge, signed her up to become a Sea Cadet in middle school.
"I was honored to be commissioned by President Bush, who told me 'Congratulations, kid,'" said Bridge, who got the chance to tour the Pentagon and visit the 9-11 and U.S. Navy memorials while in the nation’s capital. "It was such an exciting experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world."
In June, Bridge travels to Japan to serve as a communications officer aboard the USS McCampbell on a 21-month tour. She'll return to the United States to attend the Navy's Nuclear Power School in South Carolina.
About WPI’s Department of Naval Science and NROTC Program
WPI’s Department of Naval Science was founded concurrently with the establishment of the Naval Reserve Officer’s Training Corps Unit at the College of the Holy Cross. While WPI’s mission is to support the development of NROTC midshipmen, the university’s courses are open to the Holy Cross community. NROTC students come from a wide range of backgrounds and attend Holy Cross, WPI, and Worcester State College, which permits a diverse view and understanding of current events affecting naval science today.
The department teaches courses related to naval and amphibious warfare. Included in our curriculum are leadership, history, and technical courses covering navigation, naval operations, weapons, naval engineering, amphibious warfare, naval history, and leadership and ethics.