By Jonah Grinkewitz

Greek mythology, video games and nuclear testing.

It's an interesting combination, but those are a few of the things Jasmine Tutt is passionate about.

Oh, and her corgi puppy, Tyche (named for the Greek goddess of fortune).

"She would say she's the most important," Tutt said with a laugh.

For the past few years, when she hasn't been cuddling with Tyche or gaming, Tutt has been studying.

An electrical engineering major, Tutt will graduate this spring after going through the Professional Development Program - a partnership between Old Dominion University and Newport News Shipbuilding.

While working as an apprentice at the shipyard, she took courses in the Batten College of Engineering and Technology to earn her bachelor's degree.

Tutt described the process as one long job interview. Now, she will graduate as an Electrical Engineer II at the shipyard.

"My engineering development has been hand-in-hand with ODU and my work," Tutt said. "It was really cool to have my classes align directly with what I was doing at the shipyard."

She especially credits the senior capstone project she did with Steven Gray, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

"She ran our weekly meetings like a seasoned veteran," Gray said. "She definitely knows her power systems engineering, but she also couples these technical skills with excellent people skills."

Born in Lexington, Virginia, Tutt previously received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the College of William & Mary.

She started the apprenticeship program at the shipyard in 2014 and started taking classes at ODU in 2019.

"I'm coming back to this as a much older, different person than I was when I first went to college," she said. "My mindset is different and I'm at a different point in my life, so going back to school was an opportunity for a second chance."

Tutt's time studying polymers and radiation as a chemistry major drew her to the nuclear test program at the shipyard.

She hopes to work in nuclear testing, but she may also work in propulsion, combat systems or machinery.

No matter what, her electrical engineering degree gives her the foundation to do any of those jobs.

"The education Jasmine received at ODU in electrical engineering translates directly into the skill sets required to be a successful practicing engineer," Gray said. "Knowing the fundamentals is very important to our ever-evolving discipline."

As an apprentice at the shipyard, Tutt already has experience working on submarines and aircraft carriers.

"These are complex, multi-system entities, and you can't just have one focus area of knowledge," she said. "The education I received at Old Dominion helped me get a breadth of knowledge to understand and communicate across disciplines, which is incredibly important to work on a team like that."

After a long journey, Tutt said she is tired, but satisfied to finish the program.

"This was a chance to prove that I can do something difficult and I'm proud of it," she said. "As my mom always says, 'Something that's worth having very rarely comes easy.'"

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