To mark the end of Thursday’s Veterans Day ceremony, the color guard presented an American flag to Old Dominion University student and Navy veteran Christopher (Chris) Batten.
Each year, a college or department of the university selects an accomplished student, staff or faculty member for recognition. This year, the Batten College of Engineering and Technology selected Batten, a master’s student in the mechanical engineering program.
Batten was nominated by Kim Bullington, advisor to ODU’s Student Veterans Association, and chief departmental advisor and program manager for the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering.
Bullington said, “Chris is an exemplary student who has navigated the transition from military to student while maintaining a very high GPA through his undergraduate work and now his graduate work.” “He is a great example of a successful student veteran who will be instrumental in solving current and future engineering problems.”
A US Navy veteran, Batten attended the Naval Nuclear Power School in Charleston, South Carolina and Saratoga Springs, New York, before serving as a Nuclear Machinist’s Mate from 2014 to 2018.
“I think being a veteran was important to my life because it showed me how important it is to serve others and sacrifice for the betterment of others,” he said. “I feel that I have found great purpose in serving the military and working with others toward a common goal.”
At ODU, Chris has worked in the Advanced Manufacturing Lab in the Baton College of Engineering and Technology since 2020. At the peak of the pandemic, when personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply, Chris was part of the team that designed and manufactured PPE for doctors and nurses at Centara Hospital.
Today Chris is the manager of the same lab. As part of his routine, he helps design tools and equipment for use in applications both within ODU and the community.
As a child, Batten was surrounded by engineers in his hometown of Waldorf, Maryland. His father was a systems engineer and his mother worked in management and consulting for engineering firms. “I remember going to work with my mom over the summer and talking to some of my co-workers about the projects they were working on. And that definitely made me want to get into engineering. influenced by.”
A sixth grade STEM project helped solidify his love for engineering. “We worked on a small hovercraft prototype made out of Styrofoam and a small motor powered by a nine-volt battery,” Batten said. “My team and I won first place locally for our hovercraft design. After seeing that accomplishment and having so much fun designing a hovercraft, I knew engineering was something I definitely wanted to get into.” wanted to.”
However, Batten did not take a direct route to engineering.
He has always been an avid musician – playing the saxophone, bass clarinet and piano. In high school, he played in the school’s symphonic band. It was his dream to play for the Navy Band.
But the ASVAB test results changed his trajectory. “I was convinced to try for the nuclear program instead of the Navy Band,” he said. “I’m really happy about that decision now because the nuclear program really prepared me for college. It taught me how to study and taught me the discipline I needed to accomplish my goals.”
He spent two years at the Naval Nuclear Power School and then made four more voyages around the world before landing at ODU. Batten graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology and is now working on his master’s in mechanical engineering.
After graduation, Batten hopes to work for a private company for space systems or as a design engineer for NASA.