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Chemist at AFTAC earns award from national Hispanic organization

Diana Velosa (center, in black) a chemist with the Air Force Technical Applications Center, provides mentorship to Dayana Paz (seated) during the June 2015 STEMversity program on the campus of Central State Hospital in Georgia.  Velosa and fellow AFTAC member Maj. Allen Cohen (pictured), attended the summer program that focuses on STEM and gives underrepresented middle and high school youth an opportunity to conduct experiments and use precision instruments in real-life laboratories.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Rose Day)

Diana Velosa (center, in black) a chemist with the Air Force Technical Applications Center, provides mentorship to Dayana Paz (seated) during the June 2015 STEMversity program on the campus of Central State Hospital in Georgia. Velosa and fellow AFTAC member Maj. Allen Cohen (pictured), attended the summer program that focuses on STEM and gives underrepresented middle and high school youth an opportunity to conduct experiments and use precision instruments in real-life laboratories. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rose Day)

An ever-present participant when the Air Force Technical Applications Center showcases its mission on the road, Diana Velosa enjoys reaching out to America’s youth to encourage them to pursue careers in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

An ever-present participant when the Air Force Technical Applications Center showcases its mission on the road, Diana Velosa enjoys reaching out to America’s youth to encourage them to pursue careers in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

Diana Velosa, a chemist with the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., talks about career opportunities with high school students attending STEMversity in Milledgeville, Ga. Velosa spends a good deal of her time, both on and off duty, mentoring students in forensic science and math as part of the organization’s STEM/diversity outreach program.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Rose Day)

Diana Velosa, a chemist with the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., talks about career opportunities with high school students attending STEMversity in Milledgeville, Ga. Velosa spends a good deal of her time, both on and off duty, mentoring students in forensic science and math as part of the organization’s STEM/diversity outreach program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rose Day)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla -- A scientist at the Air Force Radiochemistry Laboratory here was selected to receive the Meritorious Service Award from National Image, Inc.

Diana Velosa, a chemist in the Air Force Technical Applications Center’s Ciambrone Radiochemistry Lab, earned the award for “fostering an innovative and harmonic environment between the military and the Hispanic-American civilian community.”

As one of two lead technicians in AFTAC’s world-class clean room, Velosa safely processed nuclear samples for the International Atomic Energy Agency in an effort to combat nuclear weapons proliferation. She is responsible for analyzing and identifying radiological and nuclear debris from foreign nuclear explosions in support of national security requirements.

In addition to her role at the Department of Defense’s sole nuclear treaty monitoring center, Velosa spent countless hours mentoring students and participating in regional community events to help bring science-related demonstrations and exhibits to local schools.

“Diana is a worker who not only has a huge impact on her co-workers and our national security, but also on those outside the walls of the lab,” said Lt. Col James Thomas, lab commander. “She has represented AFTAC at STEM fairs, national conferences, recruiting events and science bowls to help promote the importance of science, especially to young Americans who are still in high school, and she always receives the highest praise for her efforts. This award is very well deserved, and we’re proud to have her as a member of our scientific team.”

The mission of National Image, Inc., is to promote Hispanic employment in the federal government through training, leadership development, education and the advancement for civil rights. It is a non-profit organization and works with federal agencies to promote recruitment.

One of the traits the organization looks for when selecting recipients of their awards is leadership, especially with regard to education. Velosa’s resume certainly fits the bill.

“I am greatly honored to receive such prestigious recognition,” she said. “I truly enjoy helping my community, especially those in underprivileged areas, reach their full potential. My father moved my family and me from a country that has seen extreme violence and corruption for many years, and through his integrity, determination, honesty and work ethic, he was and always will be an inspiration to me.”

She added, “I work with some of the very best scientists in the Air Force and to know they nominated me for this award makes all my efforts so worthwhile. I can’t thank them and National Image, Inc., enough for such a great honor.”