CDR. Emily Klauser Bassett ’95

Commanding Officer, USS Manchester, United States Navy
What I do:

I am a Surface Warfare Officer with a Nuclear-Engineering subspecialty. Currently, I am the Commanding Officer of the USS Manchester, a brand new Navy warship. I have been in the Navy for 19 years. Soon, I will transfer to my next job on the [new, nuclear-propelled aircraft carrier] USS Gerald R. Ford as the Reactor Officer.


BA Classical Civilizations with  minor in Italian, Boston University; MS Engineering Management, Old Dominion University; MA Hispanic Studies, University of Cádiz.

Getting started:

While I was still at Holy Names, I earned a full-ride Navy ROTC scholarship to Boston University. My Navy advisor at BU recommended that I apply for the Navy’s Nuclear Engineering program. I didn’t consider myself an engineer, but I love learning, and I knew that there were big bonuses for nuclear-trained officers. One year of Navy Nuclear Power School, one Engineer’s Exam, and three nuclear engineering Reactor Department tours later, and I still take that love of learning and willingness to fail with me! Ten years in, I applied for an Olmsted Scholarship and was awarded the opportunity to live in Spain for three years, learning Spanish and getting a Master’s Degree in Hispanic Studies at the University of Cádiz. While in Spain, I had both my kids, Edward and Isabel. My husband was also active-duty Navy, a P-3 pilot. He has since retired and stays home full-time with our kids, now 7 and 9. He is super supportive and amazingly handy.

Best part of the job:

The connections with people of all backgrounds, and getting to learn from them. I love being part of a team, a crew, a tribe— any group that has meaning and does meaningful work. I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment and camaraderie in my day-to-day work, getting ships safely to sea, and operating high-tech propulsion plants, because we work as a team.

How did HNA help?

Holy Names Academy taught me to love learning and not to worry about what everyone around you thinks. HNA was, and still is, the least judgmental place I have ever been. I always felt safe there to be me, to ask dumb questions, and to truly learn. We were all learning together, with each other, not in competition against each other. I developed all my good learning habits there.

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