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General Janet Wolfenbarger rates four stars from the Air Force and AeroAstro Janet Wolfenbarger was commissioned at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida upon her 1980 graduation from the United States Air Force Academy with a BSc in engineering sciences. She furthered her education with MSc degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT in 1985 and national resource strategy from Industrial

Academy because I couldn’t decide which engineering discipline I liked best. After serving in the Air Force for a few years and being afforded the opportunity to attend MIT to earn my master’s degree, I knew I wanted to specialize in aeronautics and astronautics engineering to best align with my career in the Air Force.

College of the Armed Forces in 1994. She is also a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College. Her awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal. On February 6, 2012, President Obama nominated Wolfenbarger to become the Air Force’s first woman four-star general. She assumed her new rank and became Commander, Air Force Materiel Command on June 5, 2012.

AeroAstro: When did you first know you were interested in (aerospace) engineering? Wolfenbarger: I discovered early in my academic career that I especially liked math. I thought being an engineer would be a good way to use my favorite subject on the job. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering sciences at the U.S. Air Force

AeroAstro: What things particularly stand out about your time at MIT and AeroAstro? Wolfenbarger: One of the things I am most thankful for from my time at MIT was experiencing an entirely different approach to teaching and learning than I had experienced previously. That learning technique is something that has stayed with me throughout my career. I’ve been able to take the lessons from my two engineering degrees and apply them in every job I’ve had as an Air Force officer. I did so either directly when I had the opportunity to work on technical projects or indirectly when I applied the rigor of the engineering approach to non-technical efforts.

Alumna interview: General Janet Wolfenbarger rates four stars from the Air Force and AeroAstro


Profile for MIT

Aeroastro magazine 2013 14  

Aeroastro magazine 2013 14