• STEM Hero Awards •


Capt. Jorge E.
Diaz

Lead GPS Aviation Systems Engineer Space and Missile Systems Center
Los Angeles Air Force Base
U.S. Air Force

Captain Lisa Fernandez is a Medical Entomologist at the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. She serves as subject matter expert, providing consultation on medically important insects and spiders and associated illnesses. As a principal investigator, she evaluates and researches new technologies to identify pathogens and control insect populations, overseeing a $1.6 million Defense Health Program research program at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine. This includes a 3000 square foot laboratory with over $2.5 million worth of equipment.

As an Air Force Medical Service and Department of Defense Force Health Protection and Global Health Surveillance advisor, Captain Fernandez advances education and guides national policy for prevention of arthropod-borne illness. She also trains and mentors over 100 Residents in Aerospace Medicine and Public Health officers.  Her work has garnered a Commander’s Excellence Award for her work with the Public Health Zika Team as well as a Bioscience Corps Large Team Award. Attending the University of California at Berkeley, Captain Fernandez earned two Bachelor’s degrees — a B.A. in Rhetoric and a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies — before continuing on at Cal to earn her Ph.D. in Entomology. 

She received multiple fellowships at U.C. Berkeley, including the Chancellor’s Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, an Endowed Fellowship in Entomology, and the National Science Foundation GK-12 Graduate Fellowship. Captain Fernandez was also awarded an Outstanding Volunteer Award for Community Resources for Science. She has made presentations at multiple conferences and seminars, primarily focusing on pathogens, predators, and pesticides.

Captain Fernandez entered the Air Force as a commissioned officer in August 2015, shortly after earning her Ph.D., and she’s just completed her fourth year of active duty service at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. She completed both the Squadron Officer School and Basic Instructor Course in the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine as an Honor Graduate. She has also served as the Air Force representative to the Armed Forces Pest Management Board where she was an author of a Congressional Report on the current state of Pesticide Management in the Military.