AFOTEC and U.S. Air Force Academy launch new, powerful mentoring program

  • Published
  • By Katherine C. Gandara
  • Headquarters Air Force Operational test and Evaluation Center Chief of Public Affairs
The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center and the U.S. Air Force Academy launched a new and powerful mentoring program on March 17 when they signed a memorandum of agreement during a formal signing ceremony at the USAFA in Colorado Springs, Colo. The agreement enables AFOTEC personnel to mentor cadets enrolled in, or considering, engineering, scientific, and mathematics disciplines. The AFOTEC Mentoring program also supports the Secretary of the Air Force's desire to increase opportunities for officers serving in these disciplines to interact with cadets in order to demonstrate and explain post-graduation opportunities for cadets when they are commissioned.

The mentoring program will leverage AFOTEC's experience in operations, test, and evaluation to create a comprehensive approach assisting all USAFA cadets from all classes, including senior cadets during their capstone course. The AFOTEC Mentoring Program will promote engineering and scientific disciplines through guest speaker engagements, summer research opportunities, and mentoring senior cadets in test principles as applied to their Capstone design projects during the academic year. According to the AFOTEC Commander, Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Sargeant, every effort will be made to involve cadets in real world operational test and evaluation missions, as well as to infuse operational test and evaluation concepts into the cadets' Capstone projects with frequent mentoring.

The idea for this effort grew from a meeting between General Sargeant and Brig. Gen. Dana Born, USAFA's Dean of Faculty, in October 2007 when they were discussing ways to create opportunities to fulfill the Secretary of the Air Force's desire to increase the cadet's understanding and excitement for engineering and scientific career field options for them once they are commissioned. They agreed to pursue a collaborative mentoring program involving AFOTEC personnel with USAFA senior cadets and faculty.

Frequent mentoring will occur between USAFA cadets and AFOTEC's Detachment 4 personnel located at Peterson AFB, Colo. In addition, AFOTEC personnel from its headquarters and detachments will participate in career nights as well as host cadets for summer programs. AFOTEC is headquartered at Kirtland AFB, N.M., and has five detachments, as well as 11 operating locations across the United States.

''The AFOTEC Mentoring program will enable these future USAF leaders to enter active duty with a better understanding and awareness of how the knowledge and skill they gained at USAFA will allow them to make a positive impact on delivering capabilities to warfighters expeditiously, to more effectively conduct their operations with less risk to our Airmen and joint and coalition partners,'' said General Sargeant.