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Cadets, faculty earn research awards at USAFA

2018 Research Awards

(From left: Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy; Cadet 1st Class Molly Phillips,  overall winner of the Thomas D. Moore Award for Outstanding Cadet Summer Research; Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center; and Col. Gary Packard, vice dean of faculty, stand onstage Jan. 25, 2018 in Polaris Hall during the 22nd Annual Research Awards Program ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Charlie Rivezzo)

By Ray Bowden/Jan. 26, 2018

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Cadet and faculty researchers were the focus of attention Jan. 25 at the Air Force Academy’s Research Awards Ceremony.

The ceremony heralds the school’s research programs covering the gamut of academic majors including engineering, humanities, science and the social sciences.

Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center based in Los Angeles, California, was the event’s guest speaker.

The general said cadet and faculty research advances the capabilities of the Air Force and the Defense Department.

“Innovation runs deep in the Air Force. It’s a matter of priority,” he said from the stage in Polaris Hall. “Innovation is in the Air Force’s bloodline.”

Thompson said Academy research empowers U.S. war-fighting efforts.

“I need it, your nation needs it and the space enterprise needs it,” he said. “We care about the quality of research. We live in meritocracy where the best idea wins.”

Col. Gary Packard, vice dean of faculty, told the audience that the level of research at the Academy is difficult to find at other major universities.  He said the Academy’s $50 million research budget indicates the importance DOD leaders place on research.

“They’re truly doing graduate-level work,” he said. “It’s paying off. Our research develops critical thinking skills on our cadets that ultimately protect our nation.”

Lieutenant Col. Don Rhymer, associate dean for research, said some faculty members balance teaching with research.

“This enhances the quality of the Academy’s academic programs and keeps these instructors and professors at the top of their fields,” he said. “If they don’t stay relevant and current in their disciplines, they’re not providing cadets with the best education they’re able.”

Award Winners

Thomas D. Moore Award for Outstanding Cadet Summer Research:

— Cadet 1st Class Courtney Kunselman, Basic Sciences Division

— Cadet 1st Class Jinan Andrews, Engineering Division

— Cadet 1st Class Nathan Montierth, Humanities Division

–Cadet 1st Class Molly Phillips, Social Sciences Division and overall winner

Dean of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Cadet Research

— Second Lt. Victoria Morrison won the Individual Award

— Cadets 1st Class John Clegg and John Potthoff won the Team Award

Robert F. McDermott Award for Research Excellence in the Humanities:

— Lieutenant Col. Mark Grotelueschen

Research Excellence in the Social Sciences Award:

— Lieutenant Col. Jimmy Do

Research Excellence in Technology Transfer Award:

— Lieutenant Col. Michael Anderson

Immediate Impact in Research Award:

— Dr. Kerstin Haring  

Frank. J. Seiler Award for Research Excellence in the Basic Sciences:

— Dr. Alina Gearba-Sell

Research Excellence in Engineering Award:

— Dr. Randall Musselman

Martinson Award for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning:

— Dr. Julie Tetley