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Cadets in STEM Spotlight: C1C Kat Kowar

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Cadet First Class Katarina Kowar chose to attend the U. S. Air Force Academy for it’s unparallelled undregraduate programs. A biology major from Woody Creek, Colorado, she has taken full advantage of the opportunities USAFA has to offer. Aside from regular cadet activities, Cadet Kowar has been involved with two STEM research projects and is a member of the USAFA Precision Flying Team.

Cadet Kowar joined the biology lab as a sophomore, where she gained the foundational scientific reasoning and laboratory skills that would support her journey in upper level biology classes and research. Over the summer, she participated in the Cadet Summer Research Program (CSRP) and focused on identifying novel lanmodulin like proteins that have the capability to extract rare earth elements sustainably. Her hard work in this program resulted in being named a Basic Sciences Divisional Team Cadet Summer Research Program award winner.

As a biology major, her research project is entitled “Genetic Engineering of Cyanobacteria with a GFP Trehalose Biosensor to Visualize Response to Desiccation.” Her efforts on this project help lay the foundation for future development of drought resistant crops and the stabilization of soils impacted by desertification.

While she has been successful in academics, Cadet Kowar says the highlight of her cadet career has been her time on the flying team. She says, “the cadet experience is incredibly unique and rewarding; however, you have to first recognize the opportunities before the hard work will pay off.” While she does not yet know what job she will have in the Air Force, she hopes to remain involved in both the medical and aviation communities in her career.