By Ann Patton
Academy Spirit staff
Three first-class cadets have been named recipients of prestigious scholarships for graduate study in England next year.
Cadet 1st Class Brian Mueller, Cadet Squadron 5, has been awarded the Marshall Scholarship. He will pursue a master’s degree in science and security at King’s College in London.
Cadet 1st Class Roni Yadlin, Cadet Squadron 30, will pursue a master’s in philosophy in international relations at Oxford University with her Bart Holaday scholarship.
Cadet 1st Class Adam Comer, Cadet Squadron 37, has been awarded a Gates Scholarship, allowing him to study at the University of Cambridge.
He is the Academy’s first recipient of the Gates award, presented by the Gates Cambridge Trust created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to enable outstanding graduate students from outside the United Kingdom to study at the University of Cambridge. The Trust seeks to elect about 100 new scholars annually, from any nation, and candidates compete at the national level.
“I was completely shocked and surprised. I thought the interview went terribly, and I walked out of the interview certain that my chances of being awarded a Gates Scholarship were over,” Cadet Comer said. “I am still trying to come to terms with all of it.”
The Academy double ACE (two semesters with straight A’s) and mechanical engineering major will study the optimization of fuel injectors of gas turbine engines in an effort to improve efficiency and potentially reveal how chemical and physical differences of certain biofuels affect the optimization process.
The Marshall Scholarship, named for General of the Army George C. Marshall, provides students with opportunities at any university in the U.K. and applicable to any field of study. About 40 Marshall Scholars are selected each year.
Cadet Mueller is the 10th Marshall recipient from the Academy and is a political science major with a minor in Chinese.
He plans to study the security dynamics and consequences behind the possible militarization of outer space. The science and security program attempts to bridge the gap between technology and policy by illustrating the
consequences of scientific development on foreign policy. Cadet Mueller is unsure where he will pursue another degree during his second year in the U.K.
“I was extremely shocked and speechless, yet humbled that I had been selected among such a competitive group of my peers,” he said. He was informed of the award the evening following the interview.
“I almost started jumping up and down out of pure excitement after hearing the news,” he said.
Cadet Yadlin, an astronautical engineering major, said she has always had a passion for politics and international relations.
She chose to take advantage of “this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and study in a field outside her academic arena. The daughter of a former Israeli Air Force pilot and captain of the Academy’s women’s intercollegiate soccer team hopes the combined study will help her to use space technology and space exploration as a means of building relationships between countries and to use space as a realm of peace and cooperation.
The Holaday Scholarship is sponsored by The Dakota Foundation which seeks to foster entrepreneurship in North Dakota and New Mexico. It is awarded annually to a graduating Academy cadet and bears the name Bart Holaday, a Rhodes Scholar who believed Oxford University provides an invaluable global perspective for its location, international student body and premier faculty.
Cadet Yadlin said she felt excited yet felt part disbelief and relief as well.
“I was obviously extremely excited about the prospect of studying in England and can’t wait to start that next chapter of my education and life,” she said.
Cadet Yadlin’s disbelief is in realizing that from the pool of impressive candidates she was selected.
“I felt relief because all my hard work in preparing for the scholarships had amounted to such great results,” she added.
Cadet Comer anticipates applying what he will be learning to good use in his Air Force career by conducting combustion research and reducing the Air Force’s fuel costs and carbon footprint.
Cadet Mueller plans to use his degree and cultural and educational background to educate and inform policy officials on the potential long-term consequences of placing weapons in outer space.
Cadet Yadlin hopes to use her international relations studies to further peaceful relationships with other countries. She is slotted to attend pilot training after graduation as well.
All the scholarship recipients have long lists of achievements and activities at the Academy, including academics, sports, overseas cultural immersions and research projects, among others.
All also credit their families, fellow cadets and Academy faculty for allowing them to pursue their interests and encouraging and believing in them.
It won’t be all work and no play in the U.K. for these Academy go-getters. Cadets Mueller and Yadlin plan to get involved with British soccer. All enjoy travel and meeting new friends, natural diversions for overseas study breaks.
“I am humbled to have been selected as a Marshall Scholar and will be very honored to represent not only the Academy but also the United States. while studying in England,” Cadet Mueller added. “I’m looking forward to absorbing as much English culture as I possibly can while imparting a positive impression of the United States on the British citizens.”
Clockwise from top left: Cadets 1st Class Brian Mueller, Roni Yadlin and Adam Comer