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Research laboratory honors top scientists, engineers

By Derek Hardin | Air Force Research Laboratory | November 13, 2014

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WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) – Air Force Research Laboratory honored 12 outstanding scientists and engineers at the 2014 AFRL Fellows and Early Career Awards Banquet recently for their exceptional contributions to advancing technologies for the warfighter.

Eight were awarded fellow status, the laboratory's highest award for career contributions, which has only been given to a total of 172 AFRL personnel since the program's inception in 1987. This represents just 0.2 percent of AFRL's professional technical personnel. In addition to this high honor, fellows are awarded a two-year research grant of $300,000.

Four received Early Career Awards for superlative work in fundamental or applied science and technology within seven years of earning their highest advanced degree.

The distinctions recognize the elite of an already impressive workforce charged with creating the Air Force of the future, according to Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello, the commander of the research laboratory.

"This is, by far, the highest honor we can bestow on you in AFRL ... Your relentless commitment to excellence in research and development has not gone unnoticed," Masiello told the honorees. "We fly, fight, and win because AFRL people possess an unmatched level of technical expertise and achieve a level of performance that is second to none."

The exclusive group, considered to be among the nation's best and brightest scientist and engineers, Masiello said, directly contributed to the development of advanced technologies that keep the U.S. Air Force the greatest in the world.

"Each of you epitomize the American spirit," he added.

The 2014 AFRL Fellows Inductees are:
  • Dr. Paul Antonik, Air Force senior scientist for connectivity and dissemination, Information Directorate
  • Dr. Charles Cross, chief, Turbine Engine Division, Aerospace Systems Directorate
  • Mr. Paul Kervin, senior research physicist, Directed Energy Directorate
  • Mr. Ralph Kohler, principal engineer, Information Directorate
  • Ms. Stephanie Miller, chief, Radio Frequency Bioeffects Branch, 711th Human Performance Wing
  • Dr. Alan Ohrt, principal mechanical Engineer, Munitions Directorate
  • Dr. Kevin Priddy, chief, Avionics Engineering Division, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center
  • Dr. Gregory Vansuch, technical advisor, Systems Technology Office, Sensors Directorate
The 2014 AFRL Early Career Award winners:
  • Dr. Tiffany Jastrzembski, cognitive research scientist, 711th Human Performance Wing
  • Dr. Derek Kingston, unmanned aerial vehicle team lead, Control Science Center of Excellence, Aerospace Systems Directorate
  • Dr. Frederick Leve, research aerospace engineer, Guidance, Navigation and Controls Group, Space Vehicles Directorate
  • Dr. Janet Wolfson, senior mechanical engineer, Munitions Directorate
Five former AFRL commanders returned in a historic fashion to honor the award winners at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force -- among them was retired Maj. Gen. Dick Paul, who served as AFRL's first commander from 1997-2000. Paul is also responsible for conceiving and leading the initiative to combine the four Air Force legacy laboratories - Armstrong, Philips, Rome and Wright - into a single entity.

In his keynote speech, Paul celebrated AFRL's heritage and acknowledged significant science and technology budget and personnel cuts in the late 1990s as key drivers in the transformational decision to consolidate laboratories with distinct missions and cultures under one roof.

"Many, many people participated in defining AFRL," Paul said, adding their collaboration, teamwork and sense of purpose set a solid foundation for the organization that still today is charged with envisioning the future Air Force.

"I was never more proud to be a part of something," Paul said of his participation on the team of military and civilian Airmen "who put aside their biases and past loyalties and resolved to work together to create a single laboratory that would serve the Air Force well into the future."

Honoring the Fellows and Early Career Award winners, Paul said, "We need to remember that the essence of our excellence is not organizational structures. It's the people, past and present."

"We indeed stand on the shoulders of giants," Paul said, speaking of visionaries like inventor Thomas Edison, Gen. Henry "Hap" Arnold and the Air Force's first chief scientist, Dr. Theodore von Karman.

Paul concluded by saluting the award winners, "our current giants ... men and women who epitomize technical excellence and who lead in the quest to provide the world's best technologies to the world's best Air Force."

Photo caption:
Stephanie Miller (center), chief, Radio Frequency Bioeffects Branch, 711th Human Performance Wing, receives the 2014 Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Fellow award during the 2014 AFRL Fellows and Early Career Awards Banquet Oct. 30 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Miller's work has included efforts with Active Denial Technology. Joining Miller are Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello, AFRL commander, Miller's sister, Natalie, retired Maj. Gen. Dick Paul, AFRL's first commander, and Dr. Morley Stone, AFRL chief technology officer.