During the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management annual graduation awards ceremony, Capt James Crumpacker received the top honor for the most exceptional master’s thesis. Crumpacker (center) is pictured with Dr. Todd Stewart, AFIT director and chancellor and Maj. Gen. Everett Odgers, Ret., Vice President of Finance, AFIT Foundation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ty Greenlees)
The Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management presented awards to faculty and graduating students during a ceremony on March 25. The annual awards ceremony served as a celebration of accomplishments for the more than 200 students who received their diplomas in a separate ceremony later that evening.
Dr. Todd Stewart, AFIT director and chancellor congratulated the students and award winners for “dedicating yourselves to the continuing development of your own profession.”
More than 30 awards were presented including the top honor for the most exceptional master’s thesis. Capt James Crumpacker from the Operational Sciences Department earned the Chancellor’s Award for his thesis titled “Air Combat Maneuvering via Operations Research and Artificial Intelligence Methods.” The research, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory, was motivated by the need to develop intelligent, autonomous behavior of entities within government owned, mission-level combat modeling simulation frameworks. Crumpacker formulated and solved a within visual range air combat maneuvering problem using operations research and artificial intelligence methods.
“The development and incorporation of artificial intelligence methods in Air Force analysis activities is important -- a game changer -- and Capt. Crumpacker’s research delivers on both,” said Dr. Jeffery Weir, head of the Operational Sciences Department.
Stewart thanked the graduating class for their contributions and acknowledged the hard work that was done to accomplish the work that the awards recognize. “Your hard work positions you well to continue those contributions as you go forward to support the Air and Space Forces.”
A full list of the awards presented is below:
Graduate School Level Awards:
- MSgt Arvin Bada received the Secretary James G. Roche Award presented to the graduating enlisted student who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement through a combination of grade point average and outstanding research, as well as high qualities of character, initiative, leadership and service. In August 2002, under the leadership of Air Force Secretary James G. Roche, AFIT enrolled its first class of 16 non-commissioned officers into the Graduate School of Engineering and Management, and subsequently created a specific award to honor the top enlisted student.
- Capt Justin Tullos received the Lieutenant Edwin E. Aldrin, Sr. Award sponsored by the Wright Memorial Chapter of the Air Force Association and named in honor of Lt. Aldrin; a member of the institute’s first graduating class of 1920, who upon graduation became AFIT’s first Vice Commandant. This award recognizes the student who has displayed the most exceptional leadership characteristics while in the graduate program.
- Capt Evan Fortney received the Louis F. Polk Award sponsored by the National Defense Industrial Association. This award recognizes the student who has made an advanced contribution in their professional field. The winner of this award has exhibited the highest standards of academic and professional accomplishment, and through their research made a significant contribution toward strengthening the nation’s industrial defense base.
- 1st Lt Hanna Gjermo-Chomitz, U.S. Space Force received the Mervin E. Gross Award. Named in honor of Brigadier General Mervin E. Gross who, following World War II, was responsible for reorganizing the Air Corps Engineering School as the Air Force Institute of Technology. The award is presented to the graduating student who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and high qualities of character, initiative, and leadership while in a master’s graduate program.
- The Dean’s Award recognizes the most exceptional master’s thesis by a graduating student within each academic department. Award determination is based on the master’s thesis reflecting the most exceptional contribution to scientific, management, or engineering knowledge. Each individual was competitively selected by their respective academic department. The winners were 2d Lt Jeremiah Lane, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Capt Brenna Cole, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Capt James Stofel, Department of Engineering Physics, Capt James Crumpacker, Department of Operational Sciences, Capt Troy Searcy, U.S. Marine Corps, Department of Systems and Engineering Management and Maj Michael Sherman, U.S. Space Force, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
- From the collection of Dean’s Award recipients, one overall winner is chosen to receive the Chancellor’s Award. The Chancellor’s Award is presented to the graduating student who produced the most exceptional master’s thesis. The 2021 Chancellor’s Award and Russ Prize went to Capt James Crumpacker from the Department of Operational Sciences.
Award winners selected by students:
- Capt Devin DePalmer received the Ivan B. Thompson Award recognizing the member of the graduating class who has shown exceptional service to the class, school, community, and Air Force.
- Dr. Scott Nykl, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering received the Leslie M. Norton Teaching Excellence Award given to a faculty member in honor of commitment and service to the graduating class.
- Capt Matthew Nicholson received the Dr. Anthony D’Angelo Student Leadership Award recognizing the Sigma Iota Epsilon student who demonstrated excellent leadership and teamwork.
- Dr. Christopher Chini, Assistant Professor of Engineering Management, Department of Systems Engineering and Management received the Sigma Iota Epsilon Management Professor of the Year Award for outstanding contributions to the understanding of management sciences.
- Dr. Scott Nykl, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering received the Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty Member of the Year Award sponsored by the Delta Xi chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, a professional engineering honor society.
- 1st Lt Zachary LaMere received the Tau Beta Pi Thesis Award recognizing the master’s student whose thesis was judged to make a significant contribution to the engineering community sponsored by the Ohio ETA chapter of TBP National Engineering Honor Society.
- Dr. Darren Holland, Research Assistant Professor of Engineering Physics, Department of Engineering Physics received the Tau Beta Pi Thesis Advisor of the Year sponsored by the Ohio ETA chapter of TBP National Engineering Honor Society.
Professional society sponsored awards:
- MAJ Camero Song, U.S. Army received the Jerome G. Peppers Jr., Outstanding Student Award on behalf of the Dayton Chapter of the International Society of Logistics. This award is given to a member of each graduating class whose academic record and research contributions to the field of logistics are judged to be superior.
- Capt Carlos Esguerra received the Dr. Martin D. Martin and Dr. John Adams Award on behalf of the Dayton Chapter of the Project Management Institute. This award is given to the author of the thesis that best addresses a project management topic and is judged to be an outstanding research effort in terms of its contribution to the project management body of knowledge.
- Capt William Wilson received the Dr. James T. Moore Graduate Research Prize. This award is named after Dr. Moore who served for 21 years at AFIT as a Professor and head of the Department of Operational Sciences. This award is given to the author of a thesis judged to demonstrate the best application of operations research methodology or theory development to a military problem. Key elements considered for this award include the applicability and impact of the research, the originality and scope of the research effort, and the overall quality of the written presentation.
- Capt Sureshan Suntharalingam, Royal Australian Air Force received the National Measurement and Signature Intelligence Committee Academic Excellence Award presented to the graduate student whose thesis paper best exemplifies research and analysis of a measurement and signature intelligence subject.
- 1st Lt Hanna Gjermo-Chomitz, U.S. Space Force received the Advanced Technical Intelligence Association Outstanding Student Award. This award comes with a savings bond and is given to a graduating student who demonstrates the highest overall level of performance while pursing academic work in the field of measurement and signature intelligence. Determination of the winner is based on cumulative grade point average and research excellence as demonstrated through a thesis or research project.
- 1st Lt Stephen Baxter received the American Nuclear Society Thesis Award sponsored by the Alpha Chapter of ANS. This award is given to the author of a thesis judged to make the most significant contribution to the field of nuclear engineering and physics. Other key criteria for determining the winning thesis include originality, completeness, and level of difficulty.
- Capt Layne Barrett received the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Graduate Student Award for Research Excellence sponsored by the Dayton-Cincinnati Chapter of AIAA. This award is given in recognition of an outstanding master’s thesis that provides a significant contribution toward the science and technology of aeronautics or astronautics.
- 1st Lt Christopher Amaddio received the General Bryce Poe II Award sponsored by the Air Force Historical Foundation. This award is given to a student or group of students whose thesis contributes to an understanding of the historical factors affecting an air force or department of defense problem, event, or process.
- Capt Matthew Nicholson received the Society of American Military Engineers Kittyhawk Chapter SAME Award given to the student in the engineering and environmental management program who demonstrates superior scholarship, outstanding leadership, character, and initiative. The award criterion also considers the student's overall performance and ability to work with faculty and fellow students.
- Capt Sarah Brown received the George K. Dimitroff Award sponsored by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center. This award is presented annually to the author of the thesis judged to have made the most significant contribution to the Air Force civil engineering career field.
- MSgt Arvin Bada received the United States Cyber Command Cyberspace Research Excellence Award given to the student whose master’s level research is judged the best in advancing Air Force capabilities in cyberspace.
- Capt Daniel Clarke received the Institute of Navigation’s Research Excellence Award given to the student whose master’s thesis reflects the most exceptional research contribution to scientific or engineering knowledge in the navigation area.
- 1st Lt James Goljan received the Greater Dayton Chapter of the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association ICEAA Thesis Award. This award is presented to the author of the thesis which best qualifies both as an outstanding research effort and as a significant contribution to the development and/or application of cost analysis or cost accounting.
- 2d Lt Jeremiah Lane received the International Society for Optics and Photonics SPIE Thesis Award for excellence in optics and photonics research recognizing the best light-based thesis of a graduating master’s student.
- Maj James Lievsay, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering received the Dayton Area Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America MOAA Outstanding Military Professor Award given in recognition of the military professor who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and service.
- Capt Justin Anderson received the Dr. George S. Patnell Military and Security Research Award sponsored by the Military and Security Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. This award is given to the author of a thesis focused on a military or security problem that is judged to make a meaningful theoretical contribution to the discipline of operations research.
International Student Badge and Certificate recipients: