FYSA: Bridging the Science Gap

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mikayla Daly & Angel Orozco
  • Airman Magazine

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  In this episode of FYSA we’ll learn how the Air Force is working to encourage new generations to pursue STEM careers through programs like Project Tuskegee, an outreach effort that exposes young people in diverse communities to what the service offers.


  We meet a young engineer who benefitted from the Edison Grant, a funding source that gives Department of the Air Force STEM professionals the freedom to explore new ideas and technology.

  We also meet a rocket launch engineer and an enlisted scientist, both involved in Project Arc, a program that sends STEM pros out to work with installations on innovative approaches to local problems.
  Civilian scientists play a major role in developing solutions to problems, and we introduce you to one civilian scientist doing important research who also actively encourages opportunities for diversity in STEM.

  Capt. Kavi Muraleetharan, a developmental engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, received an Edison Grant in 2022. It gave him the opportunity to re-imagine engine design. “The Edison Grant is just, try something,” he said, “It’s low risk, but it could potentially be a high payoff.”


  Space Force First Lt. Kevin Tran, a space launch engineer, has also worked with Project Arc.  He says the project is about tailoring solutions for a specific situation, something a geographically separated headquarters office can’t necessarily do. Tran adds working with the program has been the best experience of his career, “Not only being able to work with people with diverse skillsets, but also being able to tackle a variety of different problems, big or small, has been awesome.”


  Dr. Candice Hatcher-Solis is a civilian research biological scientist with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing. She’s been recognized by the Black Engineer of the Year Awards with the Most Promising Scientist in Government Award, and more recently received the AFRL Science and Engineering Early Career Award. She says she loves the fact that research she is doing in the lab can fix near-term problems.