AFIT awards 236 master’s, doctorate STEM degrees

Posted Thursday, April 01, 2021


United States Space Force Gen. John W. Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, gives the graduation address at the Air Force Institute of Technology graduation ceremony on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio March 25, 2021. The graduating class of more than 200 students included 33 Guardians earning their advanced degrees. (U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez)

88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs / Published April 01, 2021 

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- During the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management graduation ceremony March 25, history was made as this year’s class included Guardians of the U.S. Space Force.
A total of 230 master’s and six doctorate degrees were awarded in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. One graduate earned dual master’s degrees.
Due to current COVID-19 concerns, the commencement ceremony was livestreamed for family and friends.
The graduating class included 172 Air Force officers and three noncommissioned officers, 33 Space Force officers, six Army officers, five Marine Corps officers, 11 Defense Department civilians and three defense contractors. Two international students from Australia also graduated. 
“Your AFIT degree will give you initial credibility with others but also establish some very high expectations of your ability to use what you learn here to help solve some of the tough challenges facing our Air and Space Forces today and in the future,” said Dr. Todd Stewart, AFIT director and chancellor. “I am confident that your AFIT program has prepared you well to make important contributions for our Air and Space Forces.”
Following Stewart’s remarks, Acting Secretary of the Air Force John P. Roth relayed a message in a recorded video.
“Graduates, as you relish in this moment, be proud,” he said. “Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.’ As a career comptroller, I can tell you, he was right.
“Education certainly pays the best interest, but it is up to you to invest. Going forward, I encourage you to take what you have learned combing over thousands of pages, hundreds of studies, and countless papers and focus on three areas: inspire, inquire and take initiative.”
Lt. Gen. James Hecker, Air University commander and president, also congratulated the graduates.
“You will be known as AFIT graduates now. There is only a small fraction of our Air and Space Force that can say they are AFIT graduates, and that means something,” he said. “Make sure that you always know, people will look at you differently because you are an AFIT graduate. Be the person the commander goes to when they have a hard job to get done, because that is going to be the expectation.
“And guess what? You will deliver because of the faculty and everything you learned here. You are prepared to meet that challenge.”
Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, the first chief of Space Operations, was guest speaker for this year’s ceremonies and praised the graduates for their hard work and accomplishment.
Raymond conveyed that the Air Force Institute of Technology has been the means by which the Air Force has enhanced the technological superiority of the nation’s air, space and cyber forces for more than a century. AFIT and its predecessor organizations have delivered world-class education to hundreds of thousands of defense professionals.
“Today, we are operating in an extremely complex security environment, probably the most complex environment since the Cold War,” Raymond said. “There is a lot that can go wrong and there are many challenges that lie ahead. Now, more than ever, we need technically minded joint warfighters who are ready to meet the challenges of our time.
“While I have no doubt that our joint coalition forces are the envy of the world, our advantage, our superiority is diminishing. Parity undermines global stability. We must rapidly evolve and stay ahead of that growing threat. The Department of Defense is primed for rapid innovation and transformation, and it is you who will inspire and lead that change. There is no moment better than now, and no one better than you to lead that effort.”
Raymond urged the graduates to employ what they had learned at AFIT. 
“Don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to fall short,” the general said. “Trust yourself and trust what you learned. You are all ready and all of you are good enough to do great things in defense of our freedom.”
AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management is a research-based institution offering programs leading to Master of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy degrees in engineering, applied science and selected areas of management. The school’s mission is to provide high-quality, graduate-education programs and engage in research activities that enable the Department of the Air and Space Force to maintain its scientific and technological dominance. 
At an awards ceremony earlier in the day, the following students were recognized for their exemplary performance:
  • Capt. James Crumpacker of the Operational Sciences Department received the Chancellor’s Award for producing the most exceptional individual master’s thesis. 
  • First Lt. Hanna Gjermo-Chomitz from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department received the Mervin E. Gross Award for her exceptional academic achievement and high qualities of character, initiative and leadership. The award is named in honor of Brig. Gen. Mervin E. Gross, the institute’s first commandant.
  • Capt. Evan Fortney of the Systems Engineering and Management Department received the Louis F. Polk Award. The winner of this award exhibits the highest standards of academic and professional accomplishment — and through research — made a significant contribution toward strengthening the nation’s industrial defense base.
  • Capt. Justin Tullos from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department received the Edwin E. Aldrin Sr. Award, presented for displaying the most exceptional leadership characteristics while in the graduate program. The award is sponsored by the Air Force Association’s Wright Memorial Chapter and named in honor of Lt. Edwin E. Aldrin Sr., a member of the institute’s first graduating class in 1920, who upon graduation, became AFIT’s first vice commandant.
  • Master Sgt. Arvin Bada of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department received the Secretary James G. Roche Award for demonstrating exceptional academic achievement through a combination of grade-point average and outstanding research, as well as high qualities of character, initiative, leadership and service. The award is named after former Air Force Secretary James G. Roche, whose leadership in 2002 led to the first class of noncommissioned officers in the Graduate School of Engineering and Management.
The following students met all degree requirements and were approved for the designated degree (in bold):
Doctorate of Philosophy

Aeronautical Engineering
Capt. Ruben Adorno-Rodriguez
Maj. Michael Wilkinson
Applied Physics
Lt. Col. James Bowers
Capt. Carlos Diaz
Electrical Engineering
Dr. Isaac Weintraub
Optical Sciences and Engineering
Dr. Jonathan Slagle
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering
1st Lt. Alexander J. Brown
2nd Lt. Anthony Cabri
Capt. Joshua Embrador
Capt. Christopher Fassio
Capt. Evan Glowiak
Capt. Paul Grossi
2nd Lt. Andrej Lysak*
2nd Lt. Caleigh Nelson
Capt. Jacob Olsen
Capt. Torin Quick
Capt. Patrick Silberberg (Marine Corps)
Capt. Luke Steinberg
Capt. Nathan Tedder
Capt. Jake Willstatter
Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering
1st Lt. Cecily Agu
Capt. Layne Barrett
Mr. Nathan R. Boone
2nd Lt. Nathaniel Enders*
Mr. Taylor J. Foy
Capt. Connor Gurley
Mr. Jonathan K. Olsten
2nd Lt. Devin Saunders
Capt. Daniel Scala
Master of Science in Materials Science
2nd Lt. Benjamin Lam
Capt. Richard Reinink
Master of Science in Space Systems
Capt. Joseph Bacon
Capt. Steven Bednarski
Capt. Ranell Cavitt
Capt. Jessica Horn*
Capt. Carl Poole
Maj. Michael Sherman
Maj. Matthew Whitaker
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Master of Science in Computer Engineering
Capt. Kyle Hintze
1st Lt. Robert Mellish
2nd Lt. Ryan Raettig*
2nd Lt. Dillon Tryhorn
Master of Science in Computer Science
1st Lt. Mark N. Adams
1st Lt. Ricky D. Anderson
2nd Lt. Claire Badger
Mr. John M. Beighle
2nd Lt. Vincent Bownes
2nd Lt. Brian Curran
2nd Lt. Mark Demore
Capt. Matthew Eilertson
2nd Lt. James Elkins
2nd Lt. Brennen Garland
2nd Lt. Joshua Larson
Capt. Ryan Nartea
Tech. Sgt. Daniel Oke
Capt. Connor Pipan
Capt. Graeme Roberts
Capt. Luis Sepulveda
Capt. Joshua H. White
2nd Lt. Robert Willburn
2nd Lt. Chad A. Willis
Master of Science in Cyber Operations
Master Sgt. Arvin Bada*
2nd Lt. Ryan Baity
Capt. Khaled Basrawi
Capt. Brenna Cole*
Capt. Justin M. Durham
Capt. John Hannah*
Capt. Stephanie Long
Capt. Enjoli Morales
Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
1st Lt. Destinee Battle
Mr. Kevin M. Chandler
Capt. Henry Cho
Capt. Daniel J. Clarke*
1st Lt. Benjamin W. Davis
Capt. William Deberry
1st Lt. Israel Dunk (Australia)
Capt. Jordan Eldridge
2nd Lt. Kyle Emery
Capt. Sean Feschak
Capt. Steven Frank
1st Lt. Noah Friz
1st Lt. Hanna Gjermo-Chomitz*
Capt. Grant Graupmann
1st Lt. Eulalie Grodner
1st Lt. Zackary Hewitt
Capt. Tyler Hussey
Capt. Ethan Jacquin
2nd Lt. Natalie Ketner
1st Lt. Justin S. Lee
1st Lt. Colton Mott
Maj. Adam D. Murphy
1st Lt. Austin Nathaniel
2nd Lt. Connor Paw
Capt. Christian Potts
1st Lt. Mitchell Rudy
1st Lt. John Stader
Capt. Sureshan Suntharalingam (Australia)
Capt. Justin Tullos
Capt. Ryan P. Wilkerson
Capt. Brian M. Wright
Capt. Rick Yuan
Capt. Aubrey Olson
Capt. Kaitlin Poole
Department of Engineering Physics
Master of Science in Applied Physics
Capt. Tyler Brewer
Capt. Derek Buckley
1st Lt. Rodney Carmona
Capt. Blake Galloway
Capt. Seth Garland*
Capt. Simeon Hanks
Capt. Alexander Holstead
Mr. Matthew B. Husk
1st Lt. Brian Kay
1st Lt. John Nguyen
1st Lt. Michael Rynders
2nd Lt. Adrian Scheppe
1st Lt. Anne Werkley
Master of Science in Atmospheric Sciences
Capt. Stewart Almeida
Capt. Britta Gjermo-Morrison
1st Lt. Seth Powers
Capt. Andrew Siebels
Master of Science in Materials Science
Maj. Joshua Frey (Army) (dual degree)
Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering
1st Lt. Stephen Baxter
2nd Lt. Marcus Brinker
Capt. Sean Fitzpatrick (Army)
Maj. Joshua Frey (Army) (dual degree)
Maj. Aaron Heffelfinger (Army)
1st Lt. Zachary LaMere*
Capt. Jason Seik
Capt. James Stofel*
Master of Science in Optical Sciences and Engineering
Mr. Timothy M. True
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Master of Science in Applied Mathematics
2nd Lt. Jeremiah Lane*
Capt. Aron Wing
Department of Operational Sciences
Master of Science in Logistics
Maj. Joshua D. Meyer
Maj. Francis Rupert
Capt. Phillip Wuebold
Master of Science in Logistics & Supply Chain Management
Capt. Scott Carr
Capt. Meaghan Crandell
Capt. Ioan Gaitan
Capt. Hunter Kalin
Capt. David Portee
Capt. John Ritschard*
Capt. David W. Wallace
Master of Science in Operations Research
Capt. Justin L. Anderson
Capt. Jessica Astudillo
Capt. Jeremiah Bill
Capt. Zachary Butcher
Capt. Matthew Cornman
Capt. James Crumpacker*
1st Lt. Nathaniel Dennie
Capt. Stephen Donnel
1st Lt. Alex R. Gaines
Maj. John Goodwill (Army)
2nd Lt. Emily Graves
Ms. Julia M. Haines
Capt. Donald Hale
Capt. Kimberly Holland
Capt. Benjamin Huffman
Lt. Col. Joseph Liles*
2nd Lt. Michelle McGee
2nd Lt. Nicholas Pollack
2nd Lt. Matthew Scherer
Maj. Camero Song (Army)
2nd Lt. Emmie Swize
Capt. Erick Tello
Capt. Julius Walker
Capt. Andrew S. Wilson (Army)
Capt. William F. Wilson
Capt. Kylie Wooten
Department of Systems Engineering and Management
Master of Engineering in Applied Systems Engineering
Capt. Raza Alyas
Capt. Alex Arlint
Capt. Isaiah Bragg
Capt. Robert Cline
Mr. Michael W. Cutter
Capt. John Jozsa
Capt. Robert D. Rodgers
Capt. Tony Zilli
Master of Science in Cost Analysis
1st Lt. Evan Amato
1st Lt. Christopher Bissing
Capt. Christian Erneston
1st Lt. Karina Fernando
1st Lt. James Goljan*
1st Lt. Alexander Pollack
Capt. Joshua Reese
1st Lt. Colin Sandor
1st Lt. Cameron Scott
1st Lt. Erwin Spencer
Capt. Thinh Tran
1st Lt. Trevor Violette
Master of Science in Engineering Management 
2nd Lt. Yaquarri Adams
1st Lt. Christopher Amaddio
Capt. Alexander Baldwin
Capt. Sarah L. Brown
Capt. Joseph Chapman
1st Lt. Kelsie Crouch
1st Lt. Stephen Cunningham*
Capt. Devin Depalmer
Capt. Tyler Ferry
Capt. Evan Fortney
Capt. Kenneth Neal
Capt. Mathew Nicholson
Capt. Jared Pilcher
Capt. John Pollock
Capt. Daniel Ress
Capt. Kyle Rodriguez
2nd Lt. Tyler Stout
1st Lt. Scott Weiss*
Capt. Louis Zib
Capt. Carlos Esguerra
Mr. Kurt R. Lamm
Master Sgt. Vincent Olshove
Capt. Kaitlyn Ryan*
Capt. William Sousa
1st Lt. Adam Teston
Master of Science in Environmental Engineering & Science
Maj. Daniel Schurman (Marine Corps)
Capt. Troy Searcy* (Marine Corps)
Capt. Jacob Spaulding (Marine Corps)
Maj. Jeffry P. Hart (Marine Corps)
Ms. Megan Shade
Master of Science in Systems Engineering
2nd Lt. Bretton Bethel
Capt. Kyla Brown
Capt. Foster Davis
2nd Lt. Eugene Denezza
2nd Lt. Mikaela Dimaapi
Capt. Benjamin Donohoo
Capt. Keith Dreyer
Capt. David Feibus
Capt. Ethan Gaston
Capt. Tommy Hernandez
Capt. Daniel Herreraramirez
Mr. Mark W. Kassan
Capt. Sean R. Kelly
Capt. Jeffery King
Capt. Dalton Miller
Capt. Justin R. Miller
2nd Lt. Jordan Peterson*
Capt. Clayton Wilson
*Distinguished graduate


More news...

Return to the top of the page

Air Force Institute of Technology
2950 Hobson Way
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433-7765
Commercial: 937-255-6565 | DSN: 785-6565