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TFAS Honors Air Force Academy Graduates


TFAS president Roger Ream ’76 greets alumnus Justin Peterson ’18 in the stands of Falcon Stadium following graduation.

As the Thunderbirds swooped overhead Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, 10 TFAS alumni tossed their hats high in the air and graduated alongside the Air Force Academy Graduation Class of 2019. TFAS was proud to honor the graduates and welcome incoming TFAS cadets at the graduation ceremony and Annual Cadet Leadership Reception on May 31.

Following the graduation ceremony, two TFAS alumni 2019 academy graduates, 2nd Lt. Cayden Sparks ’18 and 2nd Lt. Diana Myers ’18, shared their TFAS testimonies at the reception held at the superintendent’s residence.

The Honorable Heather Wilson, Air Force Secretary (l.); and Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force Chief Of Staff (r.), meet Sparks and Myers following the reception.

During her remarks, Myers explained how the academic component of the TFAS International Affairs program track in Washington, D.C., expanded her knowledge on how to approach leadership and policy.

“What I took away from the program was that the strategic foundation and strategic paradigm that our country needs to navigate in the 21st century is vastly complex,” Myers said. “The opportunity for cadets to go out to the TFAS program over the summer really broadens our perspective and shows us how the profession of arms fits into this complex paradigm that we must fight in today.”

 The opportunity for cadets to go out to the TFAS program over the summer really broadens our perspective and shows us how the profession of arms fits into this complex paradigm that we must fight in today.” – 2nd Lt. Diana Myers ’18

Since 1985, more than 200 USAFA cadets have attended a TFAS D.C. Summer or International program thanks to the generous support of the Air Force Academy Foundation and TFAS Vice Chairman International William J. Hybl. Each year, this special partnership affords 10 cadets the unique opportunity to attend TFAS programs and continue to grow as honorable leaders outside of the academy. The academy selects its top students to attend TFAS programs, and in 2019, seven TFAS cadets graduated with distinguished honors.

TFAS president Roger Ream ’76 meets incoming 2019 TFAS cadets Morlino and Novak.

Sparks, who participated in the TFAS International Program in Hong Kong, echoed Myers’ testimony, sharing that the TFAS curriculum – combined with the diverse student body – opened his eyes to new and different customs and cultures that exist around the world.

“It was truly an enriching experience for me because TFAS takes a well-developed curriculum and combines it with a student body that is made up of people from all around the world,” Sparks said. “Not only did we have amazing academic conversations, but the cultural lessons I walked away with were truly unforgettable.”

In addition to highlighting TFAS scholars, the annual reception also recognizes other undergraduate cadets who excel in both athletics and academic performance throughout their academy careers.

“Into the wild blue yonder,” the Thunderbirds fly over Falcon Stadium following graduation.

Cadets Madeleine Morlino ’19 and Jonathan Novak ’19 were featured for their involvement with the academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) and spoke at the reception about their experience in the CCLD program. This summer, both Morlino and Novak will attend the TFAS International program in Hong Kong to broaden their academic horizons and build the skills necessary to uphold the values essential to the preservation and success of a free society.

Following their 60 days of leave this summer, Sparks and Myers both have plans to continue their education in economics and public policy. This fall, Sparks will begin the MA in Economics program at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, and Myers will pursue a doctorate degree in public policy analysis at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California.

Congratulations to the following TFAS alumni on their USAFA graduation:

Summer 2018 TFAS Cadets

TFAS International – Prague

Lucas Ryan Beissner ’18
Hometown: Yorktown, Pennsylvania

Emily Bertrand ’18
Hometown: Stafford, Virginia

Nick Hurley ’18
Hometown: Montgomery, Texas

Preston Roche ’18
Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado

TFAS International – Hong Kong

Erica Barnett ’18
Hometown: Magnolia, Arkansas

Justin Peterson ’18
Hometown: Montrose, Colorado

Cayden Sparks ’18
Hometown: Chesterfield, Missouri

TFAS D.C. Summer Programs

Catherine Malone ’18
Hometown: Motta di Livenza, Italy
Internship: Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind

Diana Myers ’18
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Internship: National Defense University – Center for Near East South Asian Studies

Ryan Ramseyer ’18
Hometown: Gainesville, Virginia
Internship: Center for Strategic and International Studies

The following students will begin their TFAS Journeys in our programs in Prague, Hong Kong and Washington, D.C., this summer before venturing on their final year as cadets in the academy this fall:

Summer 2019 TFAS Cadets

TFAS International – Prague

Youssef Abubaker
Hometown: Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey

Randall Pietersen
Hometown: Elk Grove, California

Justin Joseph Scilufo
Hometown: Pleasantville, New York

Taylor Yucus
Hometown: Benton, Illinois

TFAS International – Hong Kong

Gianna Lescas
Hometown: Newtown, Pennsylvania

Madeleine Morlino
Hometown: Moorestown, New Jersey

Jonathan Novak
Hometown: Jarrettsville, Maryland

TFAS D.C. Summer Programs

Justin Bowen
Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia
Internship: RWR Advisory Group

Zachary Bradley
Hometown: Colorado Spring, Colorado
Internship: Center for Education Reform

Michael McLaughlin
Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware
Internship: So Others Might Eat


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