The effect of stem degrees on the performance and retention of junior officers in the U.S. Navy
Maugeri, William V., III
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The Navy has long operated under the Rickover hypothesis, stressing the importance of recruiting and retaining Science Technology Mathematics and Engineering (STEM) background officers to man the increasingly technologically advanced weapon systems. This thesis tests the validity of this hypothesis by analyzing the performance and retention of junior officers with STEM degrees, compared with that of junior officers with non-STEM degrees. Additionally, this thesis examines the effects of college selectivity, commissioning source and various demographics on performance and retention. While previous research on the effects of STEM degrees on junior officer performance and retention have been largely inconclusive, this thesis’s findings show that a STEM degree has positive and significant effects on retention and on promotion to O-4, and a negative effect on Fitness Report performance. Further research can be done to examine which STEM majors are most likely to succeed, and how lateral transfer opportunities impact STEM officer performance and retention.
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