AFIT Staff Member Receives 2023 STEM Outreach Award

  • Published
  • By Katie Scott
  • Air Force Institute of Technology

Michael Hill, a staff member at the Air Force Institute of Technology received the 2023 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Outreach Award. Hill serves as the laboratory division chief in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department within AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management.

The award, given by the office of the Air Force Chief Scientist and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Technology and Engineering, recognizes Department of Defense civilians for their technical contributions, career achievements and superior dedication to the mission.

Hill's extensive outreach efforts as part of AFIT’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Affinity Group are noteworthy. He contacted the niece of Jean Shoates, a former “Hidden Figure” at the Foreign Technology Division (now National Air and Space Intel Center). Shoates agreed to be a guest speaker for AFIT's review of the film “Hidden Figures,” where she shared insights into her success and contributions to national defense.

He also contributed to developing the AFIT Defense Organizational Climate Survey process. His efforts helped gather data from Institute members, leading to actionable insights to improve DEIA awareness and address organizational challenges.

As a member of the AFIT DEIA Outreach Committee, Hill played a key role in the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration coordinating food truck vendors for the “Taste of Hispanic Culture Event,” enhancing AFIT's cultural awareness and supporting local businesses.

During the inaugural Air Force Research Laboratory/AFIT Historically Black Colleges and Universities Summit at Central State University, Ohio, Hill promoted the Department of Defense Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation scholarship program and the Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education internship programs. He assisted CSU's audio/visual team in connecting with guest speaker retired Gen. Lester Lyles, raising awareness of STEM opportunities among CSU, NASIC, and Wilberforce University members.

In 2020, Hill was the first AFIT member to be nominated for the National Black Engineer of the Year Award, receiving the “Modern Day Technology Leadership” Award. He has since championed the recognition of other eligible AFIT minority members. Notably, he led a team to nominate then dean of the Graduate School, Adedeji Badiru for the BEYA “Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award,” which Badiru won in 2022.

Hill's commitment to outreach and mentorship extended to hosting a tour for a Dayton STEM School freshman mentee, facilitated by Adrienne Rice, an AFRL BEYA winner. This initiative provided the mentee with valuable exposure to AFIT laboratories and STEM career opportunities, fostering a deeper understanding of the impact of STEM on national security.