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NEWS | March 27, 2024

Air National Guard Officers Selected for Prestigious Fellowship

By National Guard Bureau Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. - During Women’s History Month, the National Guard Bureau is proud to congratulate three Air National Guard officers for a trailblazing achievement. U.S. Air Force Lt. Cols. Autumn Lorenz, Frances Romero Torres and Cristi Campbell have been accepted into the AFWERX fellowship program.

The officers were nominated last fall by U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Edward Vaughan, the former National Guard Bureau director of Space Operations. The fellowship began in February and concludes in May.

“All three of these officers are top in their [Air Force Specialty Codes] and have committed to applying innovation and creativity to our toughest challenges as we reoptimize for great power competition,” said Vaughan.

AFWERX, the innovation arm of the Department of the Air Force and powered by the Air Force Research Laboratory, offers a part-time fellowship to Air Reserve Component Airmen and officers who exhibit the ability to apply innovative thinking to Air Force-wide challenges.

The AFWERX fellowship cultivates a deeper understanding of industry trends, broadens innovation perspectives, and exposes service members to programs with a Department of the Air Force-level impact.

Lorenz, Romero Torres and Campbell are all part of the Space Operations team at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington.

“I am extremely grateful and humbled to have been selected for the AFWERX Fellowship Program,” said Campbell. “To be involved in the AFWERX Fellowship Program, especially alongside two of my female colleagues during Women’s History Month, means that we have the opportunity to embark on a transformative journey of innovation and collaboration together.”

During this part-time fellowship, officers engage in various projects, including major command outreach, accelerating the transition of Airmen and Guardians’ ideas to the field, and participating in a Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer contracting sprint. 

“This program is an opportunity to deepen our understanding of industry trends, broaden our perspectives, and apply creativity to our toughest challenges,” Campbell said. “This fellowship not only showcases the exceptional talent and diversity within our ranks but also reinforces the importance of inclusivity and representation in the military and innovation sectors.”

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jen Warren, the AFWERX deputy director, says this fellowship provides members of the Air and Space Forces with enough flexibility to complete the program successfully, regardless of their rank, physical location or career field.
When they complete the fellowship, these officers will be armed with the experiences, knowledge and skills to drive meaningful change and address the evolving needs of the Air Force. 



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