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How is the Air Force building its team of STEM professionals for the future?

The need to accelerate technological development has leadership putting renewed focus on modernizing the Air and Space Forces. Innovators with advanced STEM degrees are the key.

STEM Initiatives

The Department of the Air Force’s need to accelerate technological development has been getting a great deal of attention, with leadership putting renewed focus on modernizing the Air and Space Forces.

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Grant program promotes innovator culture for DAF scientists

After a run of unsuccessful experiments, inventor Thomas Edison famously declared that he’d found hundreds of ways to not make a light bulb. An Air Force grant named after Edison and his fail-forward mindset allows Department of the Air Force scientists and engineers to design and execute their own experiments, building a culture that accepts failure as the first step of innovation.

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STEM professionals find diverse experiences, career opportunities in Project ARC

Whether a steppingstone for future career goals or a life-long career, the Department of the Air Force offers science, technology, engineering and math professionals opportunities to grow and thrive in diverse environments. The Air and Space Forces employ enlisted, officer and civilian scientists who develop technology and innovation to support a wide variety of missions.

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FYSA: Bridging the Science Gap

In this episode of FYSA we’ll learn how the Air Force is working to encourage new generations to pursue STEM careers, and why having a diverse set of voices for problem-solving is critical.

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.

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Meet some up-and-coming STEM professionals in the Air Force and Space Force

Capt. Kavi Muraleetharan, Developmental Engineer & Edison Grantee
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.”
1Lt. Kevin Tran, U.S. Space Force & Project Arc Engineer
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, AFRL Research Biological Scientist
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.

Explore the available STEM programs and opportunities the Air and Space Force provide




AFRL Regional Hubs




Edison Grant