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NEWS | April 20, 2021

NAVSEA NextGen: Cheyenna Pike

By Kristi Britt, Public Affairs Specialist Norfolk Naval Shipyard

Recently Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) saw the selection of five individuals into Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Next Generation of Leadership (NEXTGEN) Program, which offers participants the opportunity to learn about leadership throughout several different initiatives for the next year. One of the selectees is Radiological Controls (Code 105.3) Technician Cheyenna Pike, who jumped at the chance to apply.

The NAVSEA NextGen Program is the first level of the NAVSEA Leadership Development Continuum that helps to develop leadership skills through seminars, reading, mentoring, and a yearlong project focused on culture. Pike first learned about the program from a friend who had participated in it previously. “When I saw the opportunity come up, I sought out to learn more and attended the information session through Microsoft Teams so that I could apply. I was so excited to take this next step.”

Pike was selected as one of 50 participants across the enterprise to join the program for 2021. “I'm really excited for the ’hands-on’ experience that I will get out of this program,” she said. “Already I have had the opportunity to work with people from all across NAVSEA and gained perspective for how large this organization really is.” 

A Physical Oceanography graduate from Old Dominion University, Pike began her career at NNSY in 2015 in Code 105.3 where she was assigned to the Submarine Branch. She’s worked on the USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740), USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) projects. In addition, she also worked in the newly created Development Branch as a coach, moving her focus from oversight to helping other technicians develop their skills. Her current tasks include being the Change Manager for the eSurvey initiative, preparing the code for the change from documenting radiological surveys on paper to doing so on tablets.

Radiological Monitoring Division Branch Manager Justin Vaught is excited to see what Pike does in the NEXTGEN program. “I’m so proud to be on a team with Mrs. Pike and have seen her demonstrate a willingness to support the waterfront and to help others along the way,” he said. “My experience with her has always been positive and I’ve seen her work on multiple projects, contributing to results consistent with NNSY’s principles and values. With this program, I know she’ll continue to go far.”

            For those interested in pursuing similar opportunities, Pike said it’s important to keep an eye out for anything that’s available. “There’s leadership programs available at NNSY. When you find something you’re interested in, hunt down the person in charge of it and ask for help on how to apply. That is what I did with this program; Shelley Simpson from Command University was so helpful with my application and resume to get into NEXTGEN, doing more than I would have expected so that I had the best chance to be accepted.”

She added, “I also just found out about another opportunity from reading the [Feb. 2020] Service to the Fleet. There was another story about my fellow NEXTGEN Cadre IV member, Alyx Riebeling, completing the online Leadership Skills for Emerging Leaders through Command University. After reading that I reached out to the program coordinator for that class and am currently working on completing that program as well. Opportunities are everywhere and you have to be open to the possibilities and take charge.”