AFRL inducts 2015 Fellows

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE -- The best and brightest minds of the Air Force Research Laboratory were honored for their exceptional leadership and contributions to advancing technologies for the warfighter at the 2015 Fellows and Early Career Awards Ceremony October 22, at the Wright-Patterson Club.

AFRL commander Maj. Gen. Tom Masiello highlighted what he called the amazing accomplishments of award winners from a distinguished science and technology workforce.

"Senior leaders understand that the people are the platform for which innovative ideas, strategies, and technologies are delivered to the fight," Masiello said.  "The people, along with innovation and technology, will remain the pillars of the American strength and its determination."

Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, Air Force Materiel Command commander, and Dr. Greg Zacharias, Chief Scientist of the Air Force, were among the senior leaders who gathered to honor the laboratory's finest.    

Seven researchers were inducted into the AFRL Fellows Program, which recognizes the most outstanding scientists and engineers in research and development and technical management.  This highly prestigious award is given only to the top 0.2 percent of AFRL's technical professionals, and since the inception of this program in 1987, only 179 AFRL Fellows have been selected. In addition to the recognition, Inductees are given a 2-year Research Grant totaling $300,000.

"This is our very highest honor that we can bestow on our researchers," stated AFRL Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Morley Stone. "To get to this pinnacle that means that they've been able to achieve something that a lot of their peers have not been able to."

Among the class of new Fellows Inductees was Dr. Moriba Jah, an internationally recognized authority in Astrodynamics and Space Situational Awareness sciences and technologies.

"To be a Fellow means you've achieved quite a bit and you're expected to achieve a lot more," Jah said. "It's kind of like a threshold of expectation of doing really great things."

He went on to say, "I feel very humbled to be here along with the other Inductees, as well as the past Fellows."

In addition to the Fellows Award, five other researchers were presented with the Early Career Award, which honors the most promising young scientists and researchers in the organization for contributions made early in their careers.

"The Early Career Award is typically given to scientists and engineers within the first five years of their career," said Stone. "This award is given with a research grant, too, because it's our way of saying that we trust and believe in our young researchers, and we're willing to bet on them that they will continue to do great things."

"I was in the lab when I got the call saying I had been selected for the award," stated Early Career Award recipient Dr. Rachel Abrahams, a Research Engineer for the Munitions Directorate. "My students were laughing at me because I was trying to take the call while working on a microscope!"

"I'm very grateful for the people I work with," Abrahams continued," and I'm thankful for our leaders recognizing us and our efforts.

"These are the folks who actually trail blaze the technologies, and that's just amazing to think that they want to pour their energy into creating the future for our Air Force," noted Dr. Stone, who acknowledged that it was "an absolute honor" to call these celebrated researchers his colleagues.

The 2015 Fellows Inductees are as follows:
*    Mr. Byron Edmonds, Materials Research Engineer, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate
*    Dr. Moriba Jah, Principal Investigator, Directed Energy Directorate
*    Dr. Reji John, Principal Materials Research Engineer, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate
*    Dr. Raymond Kolonay, Director, Multidisciplinary Science and Technology Center, Aerospace Systems Directorate
*    Dr. Mark Linderman, Division Technical Advisor, Computing and Communications Division, Information Directorate
*    Dr. Robert Murphey, Munition Airframe Guidance and Controls Core Technical Competency Lead, Munitions Directorate
*    Mr. Kevin Slimak, Advanced GPS Technology Program Manager, Space Vehicles Directorate

The 2015 Early Career Award Winners are as follows:
*    Dr. Rachel Abrahams, ferrous materials lead, Damage Mechanisms Branch, Munitions Directorate
*    Dr. Josh Hagen, Senior Research Materials Engineer, Human Signatures Branch, 711th Human Performance Wing
*    Dr. Joshua Hendrickson, Research Physicist, Optoelectronics Branch, Sensors Directorate
*    Dr. Wellesley Pereira, Principal Investigator, Advanced Missile Warning Technologies Program, Space Vehicles Directorate
*    Dr. Adam Pilchak, Senior Materials Research Engineer, Research Lead for the Metallic Materials and Processes Team, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate