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Academy cadet earns national undergraduate leadership award

  • Published
  • By Katherine Spessa
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Strategic Communications

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Jabari Bowen was presented the Black Engineer of the Year award in undergraduate leadership during a gala held in Baltimore, Maryland Feb. 17.

Cyber leader
Majoring in electrical and computer engineering and cyber science, Bowen is scheduled to graduate in May of this year. He has long been interested in digital technology, but it was only upon coming to the Academy and serving as a summer cyber instructor that he developed a passion for leadership as well.

The summer course guides cadets through basic cyber skills, conducting simulated missions, planning, debriefing and mission analysis.

“I enjoyed inspiring them to be interested in cyber, especially if they weren’t interested to start,” Bowen said. “That was pretty fun and something I think is unique to the Academy.”

Nominated by his department
Bowen attended the BEYA conference last year when his fellow cadet, now 2nd Lt. Sirri Akaya, won this same award. It was his first time hearing of the program and never considered he might be nominated.

“I didn’t think I was going to win, honestly,” Bowen laughed. “That’s one of those things where you just put your name in the hat and see what happens.”

His department, however, didn’t have any reservations.

“He is an outstanding leader and technical expert in our department and absolutely well-deserving of this recognition,” said Lt. Col. Juan Jurado, U.S. Air Force Academy assistant professor and deputy head of the electrical and computer engineering department.

Bowen has been selected to serve as an electrical/electronic engineer upon commissioning as a second lieutenant. Following two internships with the National Reconnaissance Office, Jabari hopes to work with the NRO in the future, contributing to satellite operations and safeguarding critical technologies.