Air Force Featured Stories

USAFA cadet wins Student Leadership Award at 2024 BEYA STEM Conference

  • Published
  • By Capt. Shane Ellis
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Cadet Jabari Bowen of the United States Air Force Academy was recognized with the Student Leadership - Undergraduate Level Award at the 2024 Black Engineer of the Year Awards, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Conference held at the Baltimore Convention Center, Feb. 15-17.


The prestigious honor celebrates Bowen's outstanding contributions to leadership, academics and service within the STEM fields.

Bowen's journey toward this remarkable achievement was marked by a blend of academic excellence, unwavering commitment to service and a profound dedication to helping others succeed.

Hailing from Houston, Texas, his passion for electrical and computer engineering, computer science and cyber science was evident early on. His infectious smile, coupled with a serious dedication to his studies, set him apart from his peers.

During his time at the USAFA, Bowen has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities. Notably, he was competitively selected to be a part of the Cadet Summer Research Program at the National Reconnaissance Office, where his exemplary work earned him recognition as the top CSRP cadet in the engineering division.

His contributions to the USAFA Cadet Cyber Team further underscore his skill in the field, with extraordinary victories in the National Security Agency's annual cyber competition.

Beyond his academic achievements, Bowen has also proven his commitment to serving and supporting his peers. He has dedicated his time to tutoring fellow cadets, both academically and in the French language. Additionally, his outstanding leadership as a section chief within his squadron during the COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies his dedication to the well-being of his peers.

In a statement regarding his recognition, Bowen expressed his gratitude and excitement, highlighting the importance of inspiring others in STEM fields; moreover, he emphasized that fostering a broader understanding of STEM concepts among his peers can lead to greater inclusivity and excellence in the field.

“I am extremely grateful to the BEYA Conference for this award and for all my mentors and peers at USAFA, who helped make me who I am today,” he said. “I am excited that my academic and military journey thus far can be an inspiration to other young people. STEM permeates modern life in America, and the field needs more people willing to immerse themselves in its complexities. As I continue to move forward, I hope to make a positive impact in satellite acquisitions, helping the DAF maintain its competitive edge for decades to come.”


When asked about his future, Bowen expressed his eagerness to leverage his leadership skills and experiences as a developmental engineer in the U.S. Air Force. He credits his mentors, including Lt. Col. James Hall, USAFA Commanding Squadron 32 air officer, and Col. Joshua Egan, head of the USAFA Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, as sources of inspiration for their exemplary leadership and commitment to fostering a supportive environment for success.

Egan reflected on Bowen's leadership accomplishments and was present at the conference.

"Jabari Bowen exemplifies the essence of leadership,” he said. “He combines academic excellence with a selfless dedication to serving others.”


Bowen's journey serves as a testament to the power of passion, dedication and service in the pursuit of excellence. His recognition at the 2024 BEYA STEM Conference not only celebrates his individual achievements, but it also highlights the vital role of inclusive leadership in advancing STEM fields and inspiring future generations.