STEM Role Models
DoD STEM seeks to attract, inspire, and develop exceptional STEM talent across the education continuum and advance the current DoD STEM workforce to meet future defense technological challenges.
Environmental Science Jobs Role Model: Richard Chapleau, Ph.D., Biochemist
During his freshman year in college as a biochemistry major, Richard Chapleau was working as a police officer assistant when he met the owner of a molecular lab who encouraged him to come to work as a lab technician.
He recalls, “I spent a year and a half working with them...making buffers, doing calculations, cleaning dishes. Nothing very fancy, but it got my hands wet and got me to realize this is actually a fun job.”
STEM Career, Air Force - Elizabeth Foley, Medical Entomologist
Elizabeth Foley enlisted in the Air Force when she was 19 years old, and her first assignment was in pest management. She shares, “I fell in love with it. The more I learned about insects the more I learned about biology and the more interesting it became.
” While on active duty, she started the long journey to her bachelor’s degree by taking night classes. Eventually, the Air Force gave her a year off to focus on finishing her studies. She was the first in her family to go to college. Using the G.I. Bill, she earned a master’s degree in entomology.
STEM Learning Role Model: Turhan Carroll, Ph.D., Research Physicist
Turhan Carroll earned his undergraduate degree at North Carolina State University and completed his master’s degree in Spintronics at Ohio State University. While at OSU, Turhan leaned about AFRL and the work done there under the guidance of a mentor who worked at the lab; Turhan now works in the Metamaterials Exploration Branch, studying novel ways to manipulate light and optical frequency.
STEM Role Model: Robert Latta
Robert Latta became interested in space after seeing the movie Apollo 13 when he was in high school. “I watched the film, and I said, 'I want to do that!'” he remembers.
STEM Skills Role Model: Leslie Blaha, PH.D.
Leslie Blaha received her undergraduate degree in mathematics and statistics from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and went straight through graduate school and the Ph.D. program at Indiana University. She graduated with degrees in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science.
Now she works in the Battlespace Visualization Branch in the Human Effectiveness Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory, specializing in the mathematical and statistical modeling of decision-making processes.