Awards ceremony honoring exceptional Air Force scientists and engineers to be livestreamed
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFRL) – The Air Force Research Laboratory will honor 20 scientists and engineers Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. for their outstanding career accomplishments during the 2020 Fellows and Science and Engineering Early Career Awards Ceremony. While the National Museum of the United States Air Force typically hosts a formal banquet for the winners, this year’s event, a limited in-person gathering, will be livestreamed due to COVID-19.
AFRL Commander Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle explained that the goal is to recognize the recipients and share this important honor with family and friends across the country. She commended the winners’ past and present accomplishments, emphasizing their “amazing productivity, creativity, exceptional intellect, determination and vision. It was truly a challenge to identify the best among so many great people nominated,” she said.
This year’s group includes 11 Fellows and nine Science and Engineering Early Career Award winners. AFRL’s Research Advisory Council, led by the Chief Technology Officer and the Chief Scientists, reviewed the submission packages during the summer and ranked the nominees. Afterwards, Pringle reviewed the RAC’s findings and made the final selections.
The AFRL Fellows program recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers in three categories: research achievements, technology development and transition achievements, or program and organizational leadership. This year’s group delivered significant contributions to the Air Force in a wide variety of technical areas. Their respective technological advancements and transition achievements range from nondestructive evaluation methods for aircraft structures to tools enabling threat mitigation and rapid decision support.
These professionals also led research achievements in cognitive electronic warfare, hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet testing, nanoenergetics, space situational awareness and high-energy laser range safety. Their program and organizational achievements pertain to computational mathematics, high temperature aerospace materials and the space weather enterprise.
The men and women selected as AFRL Fellows join an elite group that represents 0.3% of this year’s AFRL professional technical staff. This brings the total number of AFRL Fellow recipients to 223 in the 33 years since the program started in 1987. Each new AFRL Fellow receives a $300,000 research grant along with a medallion and a place in the prominent display in the AFRL headquarters building.
AFRL’s Chief Technology Officer Dr. Timothy Bunning described the winners’ accomplishments as “formidable, based on true commitment to mission-focused leadership in the development and discovery of the science and technology advances for today’s and tomorrow’s warfighter needs. Our goal in holding this virtual event is to take time to celebrate these individuals and recognize their exceptional contributions to the Air Force and the Space Force,” he said.
Headquarters AFRL will host a limited capacity, in-person ceremony for the local winners. The other AFRL sites will participate via a video teleconference, and their award presentations will be livestreamed.
The 2020 AFRL Fellows are:
- Dr. Vasu Chakravarthy, principal electronics engineer, Spectrum Warfare Division, Sensors Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Dr. Fariba Fahroo, program officer, Science and Engineering Division, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, Va.
- Dr. Mark Gruber; principal aerospace engineer, High Speed Systems Division, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Dr. Eric Lindgren, principal materials research engineer, Structural Materials Division, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Dr. C. Michael Lindsay, technical advisor, Energetic Materials Branch, Ordnance Division, Munitions Directorate, Eglin AFB, Fla.
- Ms. Rebecca Mills, senior international focal point, Strategic Planning and Integration Division, Information Directorate, Rome, N.Y.
- Dr. Khanh Pham, senior aerospace engineer, Geospace Technologies Division, Space Vehicles Directorate, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
- Dr. Ali Sayir, program officer, Science and Engineering Division, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, Va.
- Dr. Michael Starks, space environment mission lead, Geospace Technologies Division, Space Vehicles Directorate, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
- Dr. Robert Thomas, lead for the Bioeffects core technical competency, Bioeffects Division, Airman Systems Directorate, 711th Human Performance Wing, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.
- Mr. Robert Ware, principal materials engineer, Systems Support Division, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
The AFRL Science and Engineering ECA recognizes scientists and engineers for significant research or engineering achievements during the on-set of their career. These individuals, who also receive a $300,000 grant, have demonstrated exceptional in-house research contributions.
The Early Career Award winners include:
- Dr. Caleb Barnes, research aerospace engineer, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Dr. Christin Duran, research chemical engineer, Airman Readiness Optimization Branch, Airman Systems Directorate, 711th Human Performance Wing, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Dr. Abigail Juhl, materials research engineer, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Dr. Nicholas Kovach, research electronics engineer, Sensors Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Dr. David Myers, senior research engineer, Information Directorate, Rome, N.Y.
- Dr. Brent Rankin, research engineer, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Mr. Michael Rucci, electronics engineer, Sensors Directorate, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Dr. Mark Spencer, senior research physicist, Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
- Dr. Richard Zappulla, research aerospace engineer, Space Vehicles Directorate, Kirtland AFB, N.M.