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Cadet Wing, The Academy

Senior cadet selected as Academy’s 39th Rhodes scholar


By Ray Bowden and Staff Sgt. Charlie Rivezzo, Nov.  20, 2017

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — A mechanical engineering major at the Air Force Academy was named an American Rhodes scholar Nov. 18 by the Rhodes Trust.

Cadet 1st Class Jaspreet Singh, of Tennessee, is the Academy’s 39th cadet to receive the prominent scholarship, according to Helen Meisenhelder, director of the Academy’s Graduate Studies Program.

Singh said he was “dumbstruck” when he learned he’d received the prestigious scholarship.

“All the candidates were gathered in a conference room and then they called us all together and announced the winners to everybody,” he said. “I was just surprised.”

His academic major is mechanical engineering with a concentration in thermal fluid systems. Singh is also pursuing academic minors in French and philosophy.

The senior cadet’s philosophy minor included researching policy, ethics and management of military assets and nuclear weapons. Singh hopes his work at Oxford will bridge a divide between technology and policy, according to this year’s American-Rhodes Scholars-select list letter released by the Rhodes Trust.

Singh interned at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico to research the design of unmanned aerial vehicles at the Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension.

He said he’s excited about the prospects of attending Oxford University.

“I hope to get my Master’s or doctorate in mechanical engineering while I’m there, but also I want to soak up the experience,” he said. “I want to learn more about mechanical engineering, but I also want to learn from the groups of people I will be surrounded by.”

Singh said he’s thankful for the Academy’s academic diversity and faculty.

“I definitely would not have gotten the scholarship without the quality of faculty we have here,” he said. “I’ve had opportunities at the Academy that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else. I studied abroad at the French Air Force Academy — that’s something I wouldn’t ever gotten to do without being here. I was able to study mechanical engineering but also received a minor in philosophy, too. I don’t think I would have gotten as diverse of an education if I hadn’t come here.”

Singh said he’s “just grateful.”

“We even have a program here that helps you succeed during the [Rhodes scholarship] process and the interviews, but my mentors went out of their way to help me out,” he said. “Even my friends helped me out. The support I received from the Academy, both formal from my mentors and informal from my friends, really helped me out.”

Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost, the Academy’s dean, extended his congratulations to Singh and his family.

“I know this has been the result of months and years of hard work,” he said. “How excited you and your family must be to receive this news.”

Rhodes Scholarships, established in 1902, are international postgraduate awards named after Cecil John Rhodes, a British mining magnate and South African politician. Candidates for the scholarships are interviewed by the trust prior to their selection as Rhodes scholars.

The Trust is an educational charity supporting the Rhodes scholars.

Honors and Awards

Singh made the Superintendent’s List for the spring 2015, fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters for his military, academic and athletic excellence.

He was selected as a member of the “A Team” for the fall 2014, spring 2015 and spring 2017 semesters for attaining a 4.0 GPA in all academic classes. The A-Team Award goes to approximately 80 to 100 of the Academy’s 4,000 cadets each semester.

Singh also made the Dean’s List five times. The list recognizes academic excellence in attaining a 3.0 GPA.