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AFMC Command News

AAPI panel highlights mentoring, diversity

  • Published
  • By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
  • Air Force Materiel Command

The Air Force Materiel Command held a Cross-Cultural Mentoring Panel, May 24, in conjunction with the observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

The event was hosted by Amanda Gentry, Director, Sensors Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, who is also the AAPI Major Command Barrier Analysis Working Group lead.

Panel members included Edwin Oshiba, Acting Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Installations, and Environment; Maj. Gen. (Retired) Sharon Dunbar, Vice President of Cross-Company Business Initiatives, General Dynamics Mission Systems; Dr. Yoon Hamrick, Director of Staff, Ogden Air Logistics Complex; 1st Lt. Sofia Smith, Medical Laboratory Scientist, 711th Human Performance Wing, Air Force Research Laboratory; and Staff Sgt. Kevin Blevins, Technician, United States School of Aerospace Medicine.

The panelists spoke on personal experiences as members of the AAPI community and addressed topics ranging from finding a mentor and community, to micro-aggressions, meritocracy and more.

“I credit those people who opened themselves and cared, to making a difference in my life and career. Find people who will listen,” said Dunbar on the importance of seeking a mentor and the support of what she calls “interventionary leaders.”

People look up to you as an example of what you can aspire to be,” said Oshiba, sharing advice on mentorship and representation given to him by another AAPI leader during early days of his career. “That was the first time I realized that I have the responsibility to consciously give something back.”

View the full video recording of the event:

VIDEO | 1:24:13 | Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Mentoring Panel

The next mentoring panel will be June 8, held in conjunction with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month.  For up-to-date event information and mentoring resources, visit .