by Airman Jenna K. Caldwell
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Aff
9/14/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Capt.
Jessica Rybicki, 384th Air Refueling Squadron executive officer and
pilot, received the 2015 National Aeronautic Association Wright Brothers
The award was established in 1948 in honor of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the pioneers of flight.
The annual award recognizes an officer for significant contributions to
the community and advancement of enduring value to aviation as a pilot
in the U.S. Air Force.
Rybicki, a former NASA engineer and current KC-135 Stratotanker pilot,
uses her experience to teach the principles of flight and astronautics
while encouraging others to continue innovations in aviation.
Rybicki encourages youth here and within the local community, through a
number of outreach programs, to explore academics and career fields in
science, technology, engineering, and math.
"It's a fun program, and I have a lot of fun doing it," said Rybicki.
"It's important for kids to be enjoying their studies and continuing to
work hard and find opportunities to use the skills that they are
As McConnell's STEM program coordinator has reached out and formed
partnerships with local schools; visiting classrooms, arranging base
tours, teaching children and helping boost their interest in aviation.
"Rybicki demonstrates a continued dedication to the aviation community
and a passion for teaching the next generation of future aviators," said
Lt. Col. Nils Hallberg, 384th ARS commander. "Her passion is
contagious, and it lives on through each of the students she has
Rybicki, a Minneapolis native, contributes much of her success to the
guidance from the support of her family and from her mentors and