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AFIT Class of March 2010 Achievements Are Personal
Posted: 04/06/2010 by AFIT Public Affairs

by Bill Hancock
88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

4/2/2010 - 04/02/2010 WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Two hundred five graduates from the Air Force Institute of Technology's March 2010 graduating class listened intently as Lt. Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger, Vice Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, gave her commencement speech.

"Your opportunity at AFIT was unique, one only a very small company of people share," General Wolfenbarger said.

To Lt. Col. Amie Stryker, sitting amongst her fellow graduating students, truer words had not been spoken.

Colonel Stryker received her doctorate degree during the March 25 graduation ceremonies at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Of the many degrees awarded that evening, Colonel Stryker's has a unique story, one of personal triumph and achievement.

Lt. Col. Amie Stryker was the first person in her family to have a bachelor's degree, much less a master's and a Ph.D. Her firsts do not stop there. While she is the fourth person to attain a doctorate from AFIT in Systems Engineering, she is the first female to do so. Colonel Stryker was the first student leader (assistant) to finish degree requirements before departing AFIT. Her accomplishments include membership in Sigma Iota Epsilon (management honor society), Sigma Gamma Tau (aeronautical/astronautical honor society) and Tau Beta Pi (engineering honor society), and she is a recipient of the SIE Leadership Award.

Colonel Stryker's husband, Andrew Stryker, a civilian at AFIT on a Dayton Area Graduate Studies Institute scholarship, received his master's degree in Systems Engineering along with his wife at graduation. On top of the academic work, achievement, and marital status, Colonel Amie Stryker is also a mom. She managed to complete her doctorate while attending to her two small children and is currently in her third trimester with a third child.

Some would think being pregnant might slow a person down a bit, but Colonel Stryker said, "I ran the 2009 Air Force Marathon nine months after having our second child. Walking across a stage to accept my degree was easy physically, tough mentally, and very fulfilling personally." Colonel Stryker now leaves AFIT for the Pentagon to work at the air staff (A9).

Another member of the AFIT March 25 graduating class accepted his diploma with the relief of a student having completed the difficult studies needed to graduate and the relief of being alive to accept a diploma.

Capt. Daniel Karrels was diagnosed with testicular cancer during his time as an AFIT student. One can imagine the rigors of a stressful academic career; to add the weight of one's health could seem insufferable.

"Through a long process, and the support of the AFIT chain of command, I was eventually able to beat the cancer into remission," said Captain Karrels.

With the success of having completed his academic degree and having endured a cancer diagnosis, the young captain was in for yet another graduation surprise.

"Due to some planning by my wife and I, we had our first child, just over one year after the cancer treatment ended," Captain Karrels said. "Chemotherapy can make you sterile, and we had been unsuccessful in becoming pregnant for the previous four years. Using in-vitro pregnancy, we now are the proud parents of a happy, healthy boy."

Along with the personal triumphs of Colonel Stryker and Captain Karrels, AFIT heralds all the achievements and awards of the March Class of 2010:

· Ivan B. Thompson Award to Second Lt. Steven Miller
· Leslie M. Norton Teaching Excellence Award to Maj. Mike Mendenhall
· SIE D'Angelo Leadership Award to Lt. Col. Amie C. Stryker
· SIE Management Prof of the Year Awarded to Lt. Col. Daniel Holt
· SIE Outstanding Chapter Contributor Awarded to Capt. Peter Sabatowski
· Eta Kappa Nu, Delta Xi Chapter, EE/CE Faculty Member of the Year to Maj. Eric Trias
· Tau Beta Pi Award to Capt. Casey J. Pellizzari
· Society of Logistics Jerome G. Peppers, Jr. Award to Capt. Casey J. Pellizzari
· Project Management Institute (Dr. Martin D. Martin and Dr. John Adams) Award to Turkish Air Force 1Lt. Evren Kiymaz
· Military Operations Research Society Award to Capt. Ernest Csoma
· Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (C4I) Award to Capt. Greg Jeong
· Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (IRM) Award to Maj. Matthew E. Nelms
· Association of Old Crows - Electronic Defense Award to Capt. Kristopher C. Nagy
· Association of Old Crows - Information Security/Information Operations Award to Capt. Adam L. Brooks
· Measurement and Signature Intelligence Committee Award of Academic Excellence Award to Second Lt. Andrew J. Passey
· Advanced Technical Intelligence Association Outstanding student Award to Capt. Douglas MacDonald
· American Nuclear Society Award to Master Sgt. Wesley Schuler
· Sigma Gamma Tau Award to MSgt Wesley Schuler
· American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Award to Capt. Ryan Hiserote
· Society of Military Engineers Award to Lt. Cmdr. Michael C. Chesterman, USN
· Air Force Historical Foundation Award to Capt. Casey W. Cooper
· Air Force Civil Engineering Support Agency, George K. Dimitroff Award to Capt. Seth Platt
· Cyberspace Research Excellence Award to 1st Lt. Gregory J. Ward
· Institute of Navigation, Navigation Research Excellence Award to 1st Lt. Michael Stamat
· Lt. Col. Charles Brothers Award to Second Lt. Keith LeBlanc
· Outstanding Military Professor Award to Dr. Marc D. Polanka
· Secretary James Roche Award to Lt. Col. John W. McClory, USA
· Lt. Edwin Aldrin Award to Master Sgt. Wesley A. Schuler
· National Defense Industrial Association (Polk) Award to Maj. David C. Meier
· Mervin E. Gross Award to Capt. Joel R. Anderson
· Commandant's Award nominees (Dean's Award winners): Capt. Samuel D. Butler, First Lt. Murat Toydas (Turkey), Capt. Michael W, Horenziak, Second Lt. Nicholas C. Herr, Capt. Casey J. Pellizzari, and Lt. Cmdr. Michael C. Chesterman, USN
· Commandant's Award to Capt. Casey J. Pellizzari


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