Kevin Brink

Mentor Name: Kevin Brink
Location: Eglin AFB

AFRL Scholars at Eglin AFB recognizes one of AFRL’s Outstanding Mentors, Kevin Brink. Dr. Brink is just one example of the mentors who make a difference in the lives of students by providing them with challenging opportunities and direction in an internship. Summer graduate student Lane Musgrave gives special insight to being under the wing of Dr. Brink this past summer:

Many bosses and mentors will claim to be concerned with your personal growth but few take direct actions to support this notion. Dr. Brink has demonstrated a keen interest in my personal success from the moment we were introduced. This pro-activeness, organization and strategic preparation is emblematic of the way Dr. Brink approaches his work in general and allows him to get the most out of his resources. It also directly led to the interns feeling fulfilled and well-utilized and empowered us to efficiently maximize our time this summer.

- Lane Musgrave, Master’s student in Mechanical Engineering, Graduating December 2020

Jessica Buckner

Mentor Name: Jessica Buckner
Location: Kirtland AFB

My internship experience here at Kirtland has been nothing short of exceptional since the first day I arrived and this is due, in no small part, to the efforts of my mentor. To start the internship, I wasn’t tied to any specific project. I arrived to find a list of possible projects I could work on, and my mentor worked with me to determine what project was best suited to my personal research interests and held relevance to my dissertation. Once a project was settled on, she made it clear that I was free to work on this project at my own discretion, but she was always available to help. By giving me a project that I found interesting and by giving me the freedom to experiment on it as I saw fit, I have been genuinely excited to come to work every day… she has gone above and beyond any expectations I had for a summer mentor.

- Vincent Oliveto, Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering, Graduating May 2022

Beginning before I arrived for this internship, Jessica was in contact with me to arrange anything that could help me hit the group running with my research when I arrived. My project requires a large number of various instruments and materials, so Jessica arranged for me to have access to all of them in advance, as well as additional lab space …. She is also always ready to help overcome any hindrances that may affect my research.

For some time now, I have been interested in a career working in a DoD lab after my Ph.D. Because of that, the biggest motivation for me to choose this internship was to learn what it’s like to work in such a lab. Throughout this summer Jessica has made herself available to answer any questions I have had on the topic and on multiple occasions she has taken time out of her day to discuss them. These conversations gave me insight into her career and really helped solidify that a career in the DoD is right for me.

- David Burns, Master’s student in Chemistry, Graduating May 2020

Cal Roman

Mentor Name: Cal Roman
Location: Eglin AFB

AFRL Scholars is more than just a summer internship. It is an opportunity for life long relationships and professional growth. That is how Cal Roman’s intern described her summer internship in 2019:

Cal is preparing me for the real world. He has explained to me what a Systems Engineer or a Cyber Analyst might do in the workforce if I end up working for AFRL or as an in-house contractor at AFRL, which has positively influenced my educational and career decisions.

- Haley Dorn, Undergraduate in Industrial & Systems Engineering, Graduating December 2019

Jennifer Elle Mentor Name: Jennifer Elle
Location: Kirtland AFB

I would like to make it a point to mention that my mentor, Jennifer Elle, PhD, has been absolutely critical in my journey. She was not only a great mentor during my time as her scholar, but she has continued to be a supportive force in my life after I left her lab. I was given a project that if successful would have not only impacted the research in her lab, but also the research in that community. She gave me direction and tools to succeed in the project we were working on, but left the challenge to me, yet never did I feel as if I was on my own. Beyond my time in her lab, she has continued to be supportive both in academic questions as well as providing emotional support that so many need in graduate school. I honestly feel that I would not be on the path to my dream career without her past and present influence on my life.

- Connor Easley, Ph.D. in Chemistry, Graduated June 2019

Eric Robertson Mentor Name: Eric Robertson
Location: Eglin AFB

Think you are giving up a fun summer for work? Not the case! Summer 2019 AFRL Scholar, John Moran IV, talks about the amazing relationship with Mentor Eric Robertson while accomplishing valuable work for the Air Force Research Lab:

My experience this summer was awesome and I know that this is in large part because my mentor was awesome. The ease of communication, clear objectives, and solid support made taking on the challenges of my research fun and straight forward. Together we were able to overcome any challenges I encountered and shared plenty of laughs along the way.

- John Moran IV, Ph.D. candidate in Aerospace Engineering, Graduating May 2023

Eric Robertson is an Aerospace Engineer in the Munitions Aerodynamics Sciences group at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin AFB. His primary areas of research interest include hypersonic flow prediction, fluid-thermal-structure interaction, turbulence modeling, and model-order reduction.

John Tam Mentor Name: John Tam
Location: Kirtland AFB

… the main reason I returned was because of my mentor's enthusiasm, energy, and passion to ensure that I had a productive and fantastic summer. Dr. Tam has truly made both of my summers a fantastic experience ….

Dr. Tam has been a huge help for both my research as well as my coworkers. For me, he has helped me find papers to guide my algorithm development, as well as gotten me in contact with people from NASA and academia to get more guidance and inspiration from. In addition, he pushed me to publish my research for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Aviation Conference this past June. This publication and conference gave me an opportunity to share my work and boost my resume, while also connecting with people in my field that could help me further develop my research and provide new insights.

In addition to helping my research, Dr. Tam has also helped guide my future career decisions. He has sat down with me and answered my many question regarding graduate school and industry. He's helped me narrow down potential locations for graduate programs as well as identify companies that would align with my interests. His input has been incredibly beneficial, as I have found few people as connected to both government and academia research as he is. I now know that a thesis based masters will be better for me since I plan to go into research, and what parameters graduate school admissions weigh the most.

- Caleb Thomas, Undergraduate in Aerospace Engineering, Graduating December 2019

Chi Mai Mentor Name: Chi Mai
Location: Eglin AFB

AFRL Scholars at Eglin AFB recognizes Chi Mai as one of AFRL’s Outstanding Mentors in 2019. Dr. Mai is just one example of the mentors who make a difference in the lives of students by providing them with challenging opportunities that enable students to refine their engineering skills:

Chi Mai went above and beyond to ensure I leave this summer as a better engineer and researcher who deeply understands the mission and significance of AFRL. Eric Smith, Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering, Graduated May 2019 Dr. Mai influenced my career and educational decisions by allowing me to experience every ounce of what the Air Force has to offer.

- Kelsey Johnson, Undergraduate in Aerospace Engineering, Graduating May 2021

We not only gained insight into what other opportunities the Air Force offers, but we were able to gain invaluable networking connections. This experience undoubtedly positively influenced my internship experience this summer, and it broadened my horizons as to the wonderful career opportunities with the Air Force.

He got us approval to travel with him to Arnold Engineering Development Complex in Tennessee to participate in wind tunnel testing. That was the most impactful part of my internship for me. We got firsthand knowledge of continuous wind tunnel testing, toured multiple facilities, connected with many of his great colleagues, and continued to cement ourselves as a true part of the long term project that we are involved in.

- Royce Pokela, Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering, Graduating May 2020

Tony Baros Mentor Name: Tony Baros
Location: Kirtland AFB

My mentor allowed me the freedom to choose my own projects out of a list that he generated. This gave me a chance to pursue topics that I found to be genuinely interesting, which gave me a greater motivation to work harder. With the projects that I chose, he gave me all of the associated resources at his disposal for me to use at my discretion. He took time out of his workday to educate me in great detail about the operations of the associated machines. He also went to great lengths to organize meetings with a contracting company we were collaborating with …. My mentor has made this position and its associated tasks and responsibilities much easier for me by creating a friendly atmosphere that is very conducive to learning. He has always been available when I needed him, and he has given me countless amounts of advice on possible improvements to my projects, career and educational pursuits ….

- Braden Buck, Undergraduate in Physics and Astronomy, Graduating May 2021