• STEM Hero Awards •
Captain Jessica M. Astudillo knew she wanted to be in the military the moment she joined the Junior ROTC at the age of 14. Now as the Lead Operational Analyst for 15 Test Flight Detachment 2 at Edwards Air Force Base, she is living her dream as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
Her assignment involves the development and design of experiments, as well as the analysis of data for global test operations in support of multiple Air Force combatant command missions. Captain Astudillo has developed test plans for four major USAF programs including: two aircraft platforms, aircraft mission planning systems integrated across all aircraft models in the USAF, and a warning and reporting system enabling leadership to determine how and when to evacuate personnel in the event of chemical or nuclear attacks. These programs alone comprise a portfolio of $1.2 billion. In addition to her primary job as an operations analyst, she is also in charge of the unit’s Emergency Management, Anti-terrorism, and Communications Security programs.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany to an Air Force family, Captain Astudillo moved multiple times during her childhood. She joined the Junior ROTC in high school as soon as she was able to, eventually rising to the leadership of close to 100 junior cadets. Her discipline and aptitude in her studies earned her a place in the National Honor Society. Captain Astudillo’s high school record led to an Air Force scholarship to the University of Texas at San Antonio where she joined the school’s Air Force ROTC detachment and earned her B.S. in Mathematics.
In her last year as an ROTC cadet, Captain Astudillo was awarded the John and Gracie Hancock Image and Appearance Award, presented to the top cadet who epitomizes the appearance of a military member. Upon graduation she was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. She is currently competing for a spot to attend the Air Force Institute of Technology to receive a Master’s degree in Operations Research. After graduate school she seeks to be placed in a position at the Pentagon where her experience in test and evaluation can transition into providing an analytical approach to Air Force manpower.