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Janet Fender

Janet Fender

Dr. Janet S. Fender
Command Chief Scientist and
Scientific Advisor to the Commander of Air Combat Command
United States Air Force
SPIE Fellow

Photo: Janet Fender after flying an F16 training mission designed to familiarize Air Force pilots with significant new optics capabilities being integrated into their aircraft

Who or what inspired your career choice? General Hal Hornburg, Commander of Air Combat command, inspired my most recent career choice as the Chief Scientist of Air Combat Command. As the Commander's scientific Advisor, I have had the opportunity to observe, be mentored by, and serve with one of the great leaders of tour time. Earlier in my career a number of awesome individuals such as Jean Bennett, John Otten, and Professors Bob Shannon and Bill Wolfe were powerfully inspiring forces.

What is exciting about your work? As an air Force scientist I have the opportunity to match high priority needs with smart technology options for the USAF. Identifying emerging technologies that will make a significant difference in the performance of our people, systems and operations is exciting and fulfilling.

Knowing what you know now, what educational route would you recommend for aspiring optical scientists? Optics is inherently a multi-disciplinary field. With a broad education that includes mathematics, physics, computer sciences and electrical and mechanical engineering, an optical scientist or engineer has unlimited possibilities. An education in history, literature and political sciences is indispensable. Art and physical exercise will balance and make life even more interesting. People are the greatest educators. We learn by example. In the presence of the best, we perform at our best.