Excellent Airmen of the Yr: Tech. Sgt. Kimberly R. Mastrocola

The Air Pressure’s 12 Excellent Airmen of the Yr for 2023 will probably be formally acknowledged at AFA’s Air, Area & Cyber Convention from Sept. 11-13 in Nationwide Harbor, Md. Air & Area Forces Journal is highlighting one every weekday from now till the convention begins. At the moment, we honor Tech. Sgt. Kimberly R. Mastrocola, the Noncommissioned Officer in Cost (NCOIC) of Wing Undertaking Integration with the first Particular Operations Wing at Hurlburt Discipline, Fla. 

Mastrocola is an expert innovator. Working with the first Particular Operations Wing at Hurlburt, she primarily finds inventive options to advanced issues utilizing Science, Expertise, Math, and Engineering (STEM). She leads the best way for her wing to operationalize 3D-printing prototypes and pc coding throughout the Pressure—and past.

Collaborating with SOFWERX, a DEFENSEWERX platform that helps U.S. Particular Operations Command (USSOCOM) develop progressive options to warfighter issues, Mastrocola led a number of special-operations-focused undertaking integrations for her wing’s innovation cell. One integration was the first-ever U-28 water egress simulator, which Mastrocola’s staff delivered to Hurlburt’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) squadron and educated SERE specialists on its purposes.

“It’s mainly a pontoon boat with the fuselage constructed on it in metal,” she stated. “It was [designed] in order that the U-28 crews may do their water survival coaching, however in additional of an atmosphere that was really parallel to the plane and never only a raft.”

Mastrocola additionally served because the lead undertaking officer for 3 knowledge science occasions underneath the Chief of Employees of the Air Pressure’s Strategic Research Group in 2022. She organized the occasions, which had been rapid-prototype, problem-solving marathons the place white-hat hackers and material consultants labored as a staff to unravel real-world cybersecurity issues in only a few days. When the prototype was designed, the groups would current their options in hopes of receiving funding—leading to 39 instantly deployable options for the DOD.

“All these 39 initiatives got here from use instances inside Particular Operations,” Mastrocola stated. “Fixing this stuff usually [costs] lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} to analysis, implement, after which really pay for an answer … [But] for the price of the occasion and what [came] out of it, [we] decreased orders of magnitude by, like, 100 instances cheaper than the conventional prototyping path.”

However for all of the impression her progressive, inventive, and organizational expertise have made on the Air Pressure, Mastrocola stated her favourite a part of her job is sharing her ardour for STEM with neighborhood college students.

The first SOW companions with the HSU Instructional Basis, a nonprofit STEM training group, to show STEM lessons to youngsters in the area people. She leveraged the partnership to develop into a neighborhood chief in STEM mentorship, working with native Lady Scout troops as an example a profession in aerospace innovation, advocate for navy life, and function a job mannequin for girls thinking about STEM and the Air Pressure.

“Anytime [there] was a possibility to be a speaker to symbolize ladies in STEM … I’d all the time get pinged for that,” Mastrocola stated. “So, I ended up simply speaking to lots of people and displaying them completely different paths you can take, and alternative ways you can apply training but in addition have a profession in STEM on the similar time.”

Her contributions to neighborhood training earned her the wing’s Lance P. Sijan award for management. 

All of the whereas, Mastrocola spent 2022 finishing a Grasp of Science in Aeronautics program earlier than happening to pursue a PhD in Programs Engineering. She stated the Air Pressure has helped her harness her progressive thoughts into one thing operational—and, coming from a background in plane upkeep the place there’s little to no room for improvisation, she’s completely happy her creativity is being put to good use.

“As soon as I used to be given the house with no parameters to really simply exit and determine stuff out, I actually ran with it,” she stated.

Tech. Sgt. Kimberly R. Mastrocola

Mastrocola added that eager to innovate and enhance operations within the area isn’t a lot completely different than wanting to beat private challenges. She considers difficulties to be the highway on which improvements—and other people—acquire traction.

“You study loads from the issues that weren’t so good, in a method,” she stated. “Bouncing again and having the resiliency from the lows is how the highs get larger.”

As one of many 12 Excellent Airmen of the Yr for 2023, Mastrocola hopes her successes prior to now 12 months and the trials she confronted to get right here might be an instance not only for junior Airmen seeking to excel, however for the Air Pressure as a complete.

“The Air Pressure is at a transitional time and we’re realizing the worth of hidden expertise all through the Pressure,” Mastrocola stated. “So for up-and-coming junior Airmen, I say encompass your self with individuals that you simply look as much as … Discover your tribe. Discover the those who deliver out the most effective model of your self. None of us do that alone and success is all in regards to the atmosphere we immerse ourselves in. Keep curious, embrace challenges, and know there’s a silver lining to every part.”

Meet the opposite Excellent Airmen of the Yr for 2023 beneath: