Thursday, December 1

Air Force Institute of Technology recognizes space graduates

This award recognizes the most exceptional master’s thesis by a graduating student within each academic department. Award determination is based on the master’s thesis reflecting the most exceptional contribution to scientific, management, or engineering knowledge.

Carr was also the recipient of the “Tau Beta Pi Thesis” award that recognizes the MS student whose thesis was judged to make a significant contribution to the engineering community. Carr’s research advisor, Maj. Costantinos Zagaris, was the recipient of the “Tau Beta Pi Thesis Advisor Award.” Both awards were sponsored by the Ohio Eta chapter of the TBP National Engineering Honor Society.

In addition to 12 credits of thesis research, AFIT graduation requirements for MS astronautical engineering and space systems engineering students require the completion of more than 60 credit hours of course work with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The following students met all degree requirements and were awarded their designated space degree (in bold) during AFIT’s GSEM graduation ceremony on March 24:

Masters of Science in Astronautical Engineering

Capt. Randolph Abaya

Capt. Charles Carr*

Capt. Adam Cottrell – U.S. Space Force

1st Lt. Lester Tuck – USSF

2nd Lt. Jae Yu

Mr. Stephen Zittrouer

Masters of Science in Space Systems Engineering

Capt. Mark Kurtz – USSF*

2nd Lt. Jay Laone – USSF

Capt. Luella Lopez – USSF

2nd Lt. Alexander Urban

Maj. Benjamin Williams – USSF

2nd Lt. Kyle Williams – USSF

*The AFIT director and chancellor is authorized to designate as distinguished graduates those students who have excelled in the educational objectives of the graduate school, representing no more than 10% of the graduating class.

Faculty Awards

Maj. Robert Bettinger and Maj. Costantinos Zagaris, assistant professors of astronautical engineering at AFIT, won Air Force-level STEM awards for their 2021 teaching and research activities:

· 2021 AF Outstanding Science and Engineering Educator Award: Maj. Costantinos Zagaris

· 2021 AF Science and Engineering Award, Exploratory or Advanced Technology Development (Individual) Category: Maj. Robert Bettinger

The Air Force Institute of Technology, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is the Air and Space Force’s graduate school of engineering and strives to be the student’s first choice for advanced academic education and career-long professional continuing education.

For additional information about graduate or post-doctoral degrees in astronautical engineering or space systems, please visit the CSRA website at , call 937-255-6565, ext. 4753 or email

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