AFRL Alumni Speaker Series aims to mentor, shape junior workforce
By Zach Tateman, AFRL Sensors Directorate
/ Published July 01, 2021
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – The Air Force Research Laboratory's Sensors Directorate hosted the Alumni Speaker Series event June 23 at Wright-Patterson AFB.
This event was hosted by the AFRL Sensors Directorate Learning Office in collaboration with the Junior Force Council. Three AFRL Sensors Directorate alumni addressed various topics such as the importance of mentoring and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). They also shared stories from their time with AFRL and held an open forum discussion for junior force attendees.
“We decided to develop a forum supporting the innovative workforce development element of the 2030 Science & Technology (S&T) Human Capital Strategy,” said Simone Koram, the Enterprise Learning Officer with the AFRL Sensors Directorate. “We invited AFRL Alumni to share experiences, knowledge, and history during their tenure. The forum was a fresh and exciting event for junior employees across the enterprise.”
The first alumni speaker, Joe Sciabica, who held the positon of AFRL Sensors Directorate Director from 2005-2008, emphasized the importance of DEI and how it leads to mission success.
“During my time with the Air Force I spent time every day working to grow diversity in our workforce, and while progress was made, the job is far from done,” said Sciabica. “So, it is up to everyone to do their part to ensure that AFRL is successful here. You’ll find that your lives will become enriched, you’ll learn new things and you’ll solve the toughest of problems with ease because of the different perspectives your team will bring to the problem-solving table.”
Wendell Banks, who held the positon of AFRL Sensors Directorate Director from 2011 to 2014, highlighted the importance of teamwork to achieve mission success.
“AFRL needs a broad set of skills and experiences,” said Banks. “Even if you might consider yourself to be different, or an outsider, there is still a place for you, and you can be successful.”
These events provide the workforce with an opportunity to gain insight from past AFRL leaders and learn from their experiences to shape the future force.
“I ended up with two full pages of notes,” said Joshua Smith, AFRL Sensors Directorate Junior Force President. “This was a great way to network with both the junior force and senior leaders that were there. This, combined with the mentoring experience you receive from them, make it an event I would highly recommend to anyone else in the future.”
The AFRL Alumni Speaker Series falls under the umbrella of the Wright Connections Mentoring Program, an on-going AFRL Sensors Directorate Learning Office initiative which seeks to provide mentoring and learning opportunities to AFRL members.