Ryan Betters: Preparing for a civil engineering career in the U.S. Navy

Ryan Betters signs his U.S. Navy enlistment papers Feb. 27. CCEE Lecturer Beth Hartmann, a retired U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, and Lt. Eric Olson stand by.
Ryan Betters signs his U.S. Navy officer papers Feb. 27. CCEE Lecturer Beth Hartmann, a retired U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, and Lt. Eric Olson stand by.

For Iowa State University civil engineering senior Ryan Betters, enlisting in the U.S. Navy has become a family affair.

Both of Betters’ parents were in the Navy. His father was a petty officer second class who maintained F-14 Tomcat fighter jets. His mother was an aviation electrician. “It was always in the back of my mind to consider the Navy, and so I jumped at the chance on a whim,” Betters said.

That whim came on Sept. 23, 2014, when he stopped at a U.S. Navy booth at the Iowa State University Engineering Career Fair in Hilton Coliseum. He met with Ames-based U.S. Navy recruiter Lt. Eric Olson, who then helped Betters step closer to his military career.

Five months later, civil, construction and environmental engineering (CCEE) Lecturer Beth Hartmann, also a retired Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, swore Betters into the U.S. Navy at the Memorial Union’s Gold Star Hall on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. “A conversation with Beth gave me that extra convincing to enlist,” Betters said.

Ryan Betters was a founding father of Iowa State's Delta Upsilon fraternity, which earned its new charter in 2013.
Ryan Betters was a founding father of Iowa State’s Delta Upsilon fraternity, which earned its new charter in 2013.

Upon graduation this May, Betters will be a petty officer second class. He will then train 12 weeks in Rhode Island at Officer Candidate School (OCS). Once OCS training is complete, Betters will be commissioned as an ensign and train 13 weeks at Naval Civil Engineer Corps Officers School in California.

Betters plans to apply his organizational, field-based skills suited for a civil engineering career in the Navy. He has accomplished much in his undergraduate career, including re-instituting Iowa State’s Delta Upsilon fraternity as a founding father, serving as an Iowa State Admissions ambassador, conducting environmental engineering research, and studying abroad in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Betters also helped build a 29-foot Lego man for a Des Moines area homeless youth fundraiser. “I’ve grown to be a better person by exploring my creativity, providing service to my community, and being involved with amazing teamwork,” Betters said.

Betters joins Willie Hennings (BSCE’12) and Krista (Morris) Bix (BSCE’12) as the third U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer to enlist from CCEE since 2012.