Boomin’ in the Skies, with No Room for Errors

first_imgBy Marcos Ommati/Diálogo March 08, 2017 It is not because Karen is my cousin, but she is a warrior, really fighter!Her history is a wonderful one, and gives me hope and is one of my inspiration!Wish that she continues to grow! Impressionante e de fato extremamente inspirador a história de conquistas, e talentos, da Karen. Sendo nascida nos Estados Unidos e criada no Brasil a vida inteira, me vejo em uma posição de sonho em acreditar que vidas como a dela poem se tornar reais. Parabéns Karen por toda sua jornada que, mesmo em uma idade tão jovem, é brilhante. Tenho um orgulho imensurável de carregar o mesmo sobrenome e sangue que você. Como mulher latina que também sou, acredito um pouco mais na minha capacidade agora que descobri um pouco mais da sua. Marcos, thank you for the incredible article on my sister. You have showcased her career very brightly and we appreciate you sharing her success with the world. We have always been proud of her but this only makes it exponentially so, thank you for this amazing piece of journalism. I am indeed a proud mother of this girl. her drive and determination took her from the early age to be focus to where she wants to be.Marcos Ommati, congratulations…your article is very well written and you were able to captured perfectly the essence of this motivated, multi tasked pilot instructor…. Thanks Marcos for a such detailed story, elevating so well done the women living in a male environment and succeeding. God bless you Karen:Having known Karen since she was a baby and seeing her blossom into a wonderfully talented woman seems like a miracle, but we always knew there was something special about her. She has a rare killer combination: smart and very determined, and that’s a recipe for success.Yet she’s extremely humble and caring,We are very proud of everything she has done. Carlos A, Sanchez & Daniela Noya. WOW!!! Parabems Karen. My mom happened to find this article (not sure where) and sent it to me. She asked if I recognized the girl in the picture, and I couldn’t believe it, this is awesome! I remember well growing up together that you were always a very intelligent women, and with a very strong personality…but to be able to read about you on this article and see all the accomplishments you have achieved since the last time we saw each other MANY years ago…truly made my day. Very happy to hear you are doing well, and are making moves in life. A true inspiration. Parabéns minha amiga!!! Um forte abraço! U.S. President Barack Obama in December 2013 promoted Christine Fox to Acting Deputy Defense Secretary, the highest-ever ranking woman at the Pentagon. But despite a brilliant career, Fox may be better known to a lot of people as the inspiration for Kelly McGillis’s character Charlie Blackwood in the iconic 80s film Top Gun, in which she played a Ph.D. in astrophysics, flight instructor, and love interest to Tom Cruise’s character Maverick. Fox famously told People magazine in 1985, “I don’t know anything about flying airplanes, but I know a lot about the guy in the back seat — his mission, his radar and his missiles.” This is how many women used to think back then, meaning, they knew a lot about airplanes, but not about flying. Now, everything has changed. Meet U.S. Air Force 1st Lieutenant Karen Rubin-Santos. “Yes, I watched Top Gun, but I knew before it [the movie], [that flying] it was what I wanted to do. I always knew it. I believe the film inspired me in a sense that I did not want to be like Charlie, I mean, to know everything but never fly. I wanted to be in control of an airplane,” the pilot instructor at the U.S. Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi told Diálogo. Brazilian-American 1st Lt Rubin-Santos was born in Miami, Florida to Brazilian parents (Danilo and Enilda). She is first generation Brazilian-American, which she thinks is “great.” She grew up speaking Portuguese at home and learning English in school. Since it is not common for Latinas to join the military in their countries – let alone to become pilots – she says it was a shock for her family when she decided to join the Air Force Academy, “but I always knew that I wanted to serve in some way. I wanted to give back to this country.” She attended the Maritime and Science Technology Academy, commonly referred to as MAST Academy, a magnet public high school in the Virginia Key area of Miami. 1st Lt. Rubin-Santos joined the schools’ Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC), which gave her the first sense of military structure and discipline, a perfect fit for a self-proclaimed nerd. The U.S. Coast Guard-sponsored program allowed 1st Lt. Rubin-Santos to comply with all her required community service through the military service at their base in Miami Beach. “I became a part of it, and it was more of an extra class that I took in high school. Through the internships, I got a lot of military experience, and being a part of it was fantastic, even if I was just doing community service on the weekends.” However, there was something missing. “I wanted to be like my uncle [Bruno]. He was a commercial pilot for [now defunct] Varig Brazilian Airlines. He used to fly me to many places and allow me in the cockpit, where he showed me all the buttons and what they did. He even let me make announcements like, ‘Attention all, we are arriving now,’ on the plane’s PA system,” she reminisces. Upon graduation from JROTC, and in spite of being offered a soccer scholarship to attend the Coast Guard Academy, she pursued her dream of becoming an airplane pilot. “I knew that in the Coast Guard I would have to fly helicopters. I wanted to fly fixed-wing aircraft,” she says. During a visit to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, her mind was made. “That visit really confirmed everything I already knew. I stayed with other students at their dorms, and they told me what their lives were like. I went to class with them. The truth is, as soon as I arrived there, I thought: ‘This is it.’” An eye-opening experience The fact that only about 20 percent of students at the academy were female only made her feel more determined to fulfill her dream. “Everybody crawls through mud, wears these huge glasses… It’s not flattering, so there’s no time to think about gender discrimination. You only do what you are supposed to do, and you better excel because, in the end, only the best will advance, regardless of sex.” More than being affected by gender discrimination during her visit to the USAF Academy, 1st Lt Rubin-Santos was surprised to learn that her faith, Catholicism, is not predominant in the United States, as it had been growing up in Latin America-influenced Miami. “You could say I was much more surprised with the fact that there are so many Protestants in the United States than with the fact that I was a [gender] minority in the classroom,” she joked. “The Air Force Academy has this beautiful chapel. I remember visiting it and going right to the top, to this huge beautiful stained glass ceiling… and thinking, ‘This is so pretty. I can’t wait to pray here and go to Mass.’ The person who was giving us the tour said, ‘Oh no, this is the Protestant chapel, the Catholic one is downstairs.’ I went to the Catholic chapel, and it was much smaller but just as beautiful and it became a huge part of my personal growth while at the academy.” After graduating from the academy in 2013, 1st Lt. Rubin-Santos took a short hiatus to chill in the Caribbean and backpack through Europe. Then, she began her two-phase, 13-month pilot training program at Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi. During the first months of training, students learn the theory of flying, systems, about the aircraft they will pilot, how it works, and how it flies. After many hours in simulation machines, students move to the T-6, which is used as the training aircraft. In the practical training phase, students learn to land, do aerobatics, fly with instruments and, in the end, do formation, where they fly at a distance of 10 feet from another aircraft. “A pretty cool experience,” according to 1st Lt. Rubin-Santos. A very capable instructor The jump from student-pilot to instructor is not so easy. “There’s no room for error in what we do. There’s no room for second chances,” said U.S. Air Force Major Michael James Labarbera, 1st Lt. Rubin-Santos’s supervisor and chief of Standardization and Evaluations of the 37th Training Squadron, at Columbus Air Force Base. Known to him and their peers by her call sign “Boomin’”, Maj. Labarbera considers her a very capable student and pilot. “Now, [she is] also a very capable instructor. In the end, that is what is important. It is great that she is a female and can serve as an inspiration to young girls – and I say it based on my own experience because I have three daughters at home – but what really counts is that she is excellent at what she does. Actually, if I had to pick a quality to define Lt. Boomin’, it would be ‘excellence.’” A different kind of background Demonstrating excellence at school and in flying is one thing. It is another to teach, and that is when Boomin’ feels her background played a major role in her career advancement. “I’ve always been really friendly and easy to get along with, but I think the different languages I speak helps a lot,” she explained. “Here, at Columbus, we have a lot of international students, and sometimes the difficulties come not from a lack of understanding the program, but they need some motivation to feel more at home, so when I speak to them in Portuguese, or in Spanish, or in French, you can see how their semblances change completely.” Wait a minute, French?! “Well, growing up in Miami, everybody there speaks Spanish. I already had Portuguese at home and from spending my summers in Brazil. English was just natural for me because of school and my friends, so because I wanted to learn another language in high school, I chose French,” she explained. A true inspiration Boomin’s conjecture was common to the international students who spoke to Diálogo during our visit to Columbus. “It is an enormous privilege to be here, but we do feel homesick, and speaking to someone – especially an instructor – in your own language, helps tremendously to alleviate that feeling,” said Peruvian Air Force Second Lieutenant Rafael Hoyos Vásquez, who is taking the Aviation Leadership Program at the Columbus Air Force Base. “The fact that she’s a woman is an add-on value, since in my country there are no female fighter-jet pilots, for instance. I am sure instructor Boomin’ is a great inspiration for women from all countries.” Having accomplished so much at such a young age – she is only 25 – results in Boomin’ having only one more thing to look forward to in the near future. She would like to live closer to her husband, U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. David Miller, a KC-10 pilot. “Right now he’s serving at Joint-Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, in New Jersey,” says 1st Lt. Rubin-Santos with teary eyes. They hope their next assignment will be at the same base, hopefully at the Travis Air Force Base in Vacaville, California, close to Sacramento. “But I still have at least 1.5 years to go here,” she says with no regrets about her life. Finally Boomin’ Diálogo would be remiss to end this article without explaining 1st Lt. Rubin-Santos’s call sign. “It turns out that when I am in the airplane doing aerobatics, I like to surprise my students and say, ‘Boom!’ when they do something properly, or do something really well. I did not realize I said it all the time until my peers pointed it out, and from then on, I became ‘Boomin’.’ Also, my colleagues can usually tell I am in the building due to my ‘booming’ volume in the hallways,” she said with a laugh. But there is another interesting reason for the nickname. To add to 1st Lt. Rubin-Santos’s seemingly never-ending list of talents, she is also a quasi-professional singer with a “booming” voice. If you want to have a little taste of it, just pay a visit to Columbus, Mississippi, during one of the events organized at the Air Force Base. 1st Lt. Boomin’ often sings the U.S. National Anthem during such events. Diálogo was going to start this article by saying: “This is the story of a 25-year-old Latina U.S. Air Force pilot instructor who excels in everything she does, plays soccer, and is also a singer,” but who would have believed it?last_img read more

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Binghamton University researcher receives $1.2 million dollar grant

first_imgThe news comes in October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 12 News spoke with Sutherland who provided more details into her research and the challenges she expects. The release also highlights the importance of this study, adding that, “one in four women experiencing some form of violence in a college setting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”center_img VESTAL (WBNG) — Binghamton University announced in a press release that researcher and Decker College professor Melissa Sutherland, along with a colleague, will be receiving a 4-year, $1.2 million grant to further investigate how screenings are done in college health centers as they relate to study of intimate partner and sexual violence. last_img

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Badgers enter gauntlet of Big Ten schedule with Northwestern: Team by Team Preview

first_imgNorthwestern – After falling in their first two contests of the season to California and Northern Illinois, the Wildcats have returned to the .500 mark with wins in the last two weeks. This past weekend, Northwestern went on the road to Happy Valley and stunned then-undefeated Penn State 29-6 in a game few people expected the Wildcats to pull off. After finishing last year with losses in seven of its last eight games, Northwestern has a favorable schedule this season in hopes of contending in the new Big Ten West Division. Its toughest test of the season comes this Saturday against Wisconsin, and after that it has a relatively non-threatening schedule, other than a road test at Iowa and a home game against Michigan. Speaking of non-threatening, the Wildcats’ offense hasn’t been anything special this season, scoring just 23 points a game, with a rushing attack that averages only 112.2 yards per game. Northwestern has given up more yards on average to opponents but does have a plus-two turnover differential.Star player: Senior QB Trevor Siemian – Siemian has produced the best of the mediocre offensive numbers so far, completing 58.5 percent of his passes for an average of 218 yards a game with two touchdowns.Illinois – The Illini have started the season with a 3-2 record, but don’t expect that record to stay above the .500-mark for long. In their only two games against above average competition, Illinois has given up 89 points in losses to Washington and Nebraska this past Saturday. After getting hammered 45-14 in Lincoln, the Illini’s schedule doesn’t lighten up in the near future with road games at Wisconsin and Ohio State over the course of the next four weeks. The passing game has carried much of the load through the first five games of the season, averaging just over 309 yards a game while the rushing attack has had a tough time averaging 102.2 yards per game.Star player: Sophomore QB West Lunt – Lunt transferred from Oklahoma State, and after sitting out last year, he has had an immediate effect on the Illini this season. His biggest game came against Western Kentucky when he threw for 456 yards. He has also tossed at least 250 yards in each game this year. Lunt has completed just over 65 percent of his passes and has 11 touchdowns in five games for Illinois.Maryland – Although the Terrapins have a strong 4-1 start to the season and should make a bowl game this year, they have yet to face a quality opponent. Their closest matchup thus far was a three-point home loss to West Virginia, with the next closest game a seven-point win on the road at South Florida. The first big test will come this weekend when Maryland hosts No. 20 Ohio State for its Big Ten home opener. The Terrapins have multiple backs in the rushing attack with three players who average over 35 yards per game, but neither running back averages over 50. Quarterback CJ Brown actually averages more than both of the running backs with just over 50 yards per game.Star player: Redshirt senior QB CJ Brown – Brown is the premier player in the Maryland offense as the leading passer and rusher. He has passed for just under 1,000 yards this season with a per game average of slightly less than 200 yards, while rushing for an average of 53.2 yards.Rutgers – The Scarlet Knights’ win at Washington State in their first game of the season looks pretty good considering second-ranked Oregon barely escaped with a win over the Cougars. With a similar 4-1 opening mark to Maryland, the other Big Ten newcomer is going to have to run the gauntlet to reach the Big Ten title game. Rutgers drew Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraksa, Wisconsin and Michigan State, and the Knights have their work cut out for them. For Rutgers to have success, it will have to rely on a balanced attack offensively. The Scarlet Knights average just over 170 yards rushing and 240 yards passing each game with a defense that is 41st in the nation in points allowed.Star player: Senior QB Gary Nova – Despite throwing seven interceptions already this season, quarterback Gary Nova has accounted for over twice as many touchdowns as any other player with 13. Ten of Nova’s touchdowns have come through the air, while averaging almost 240 yards passing per game, and he has also rushed for three more.Purdue – The Boilermakers dropped their first Big Ten game of the season last weekend to Iowa, and own a 2-3 overall record to start the season. Purdue’s two wins this season (one more than they had last year) have come against Western Michigan and Southern Illinois while their losses came to Notre Dame and the Hawkeyes. Purdue currently ranks 12th in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing 27.8 points per game, and are last in total offense with 312 yards per game. The Boilermakers currently have three rushers who average over 45 yards on the ground in Raheem Mostert (58.6), Akeem Hunt (53.8) and Keyante Green (45.5).Star Player: Sophomore QB Danny Etling – A 4-star quarterback out of high school, Etling has thrown for 800 yards and six touchdowns with a 54.9 completion percentage through five games this season in his sophomore campaign.Nebraska – Nebraska enters the sixth week of the season as the only undefeated team in the Big Ten with a perfect 5-0 record, including a win over Illinois last week, and are arguably the favorites in the Big Ten West. The Cornhuskers are first in the Big Ten in total offense (527.6 yards) and second in scoring offense (45.4). The Nebraska rushing attack is also the best in the Big Ten thanks to senior Ameer Abdullah, as they average 354.8 yards per game on the ground. Sophomore quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. has had a fast start to the season, throwing for 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns to just three interceptions with a 154.2 passer rating.Star Player: Senior RB Ameer Abdullah – Abdullah is one of college football’s top talents and also the nation’s leading rusher with 833 yards on only 114 attempts (7.3 yards per carry). He has found the end zone eight times and is a leading candidate for the Heisman trophy.Iowa – Thought to be a dark horse in the Big Ten this season, the Hawkeyes picked up their first conference win of the Big Ten season against Purdue last weekend and are 4-1 overall with their lone loss coming to in-state rival, Iowa State. Iowa is second to last in scoring offense (22.6) but have given up only 17.2 points per game. Their run defense could pose a threat to the Badgers as they rank fourth in the Big Ten allowing only 93.2 rushing yards per game. The Hawkeyes have a tough finish to their Big Ten slate as they take on Wisconsin before closing out conference play against Nebraska as they hope to contend in the Big Ten West.Star Player: Junior QB Jake Rudock – While Iowa plans on playing two quarterbacks this Saturday, Rudock has had a strong start to the season. Despite sitting out last weekend’s game with a leg injury, Rudock has thrown for 798 yards and five touchdowns with a 66.9 completion percentage in the four games he has played.Minnesota – Minnesota had one of their biggest wins in program history when they beat Michigan 30-14 last weekend to improve their record to 4-1. The Golden Gophers follow a typical Big Ten formula as they pound the ball on the ground while relying on a stout defense. Minnesota averages 230.2 yards per game on the ground while giving up only 19 points per game. The Gophers have struggled through the air with quarterback Mitch Leidner averaging just over 100 passing yards per game (105.8) while their best receiver, redshirt sophomore Maxx Williams, has only 161 receiving yards on the season. The Badgers and Gophers will finish their Big Ten conference slate and battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe at Camp Randall on Nov. 29.Star Player: Senior RB David Cobb – Cobb already has 722 rushing yards this season with four touchdowns as a senior. Last season, as a junior, Cobb ran for 1,202 yards and seven touchdowns for Minnesota.last_img read more

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