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Air Force Fellows

Bridging military expertise with scientific innovation

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) proudly hosts the esteemed Air Force and Space Force Fellows Program, an annual fellowship that offers a unique research opportunity for two distinguished members of the Air Force and Space Force. This one-year program is dedicated to individuals who demonstrate exceptional merit, rank highly in their career fields, and possess relevant education and experience that align with INL’s mission to discover, demonstrate and secure innovative energy solutions, other clean energy options and critical infrastructure.

Program Overview

The Air Force and Space Force Fellows Program is a testament to the strong and enduring partnership between the laboratory and the Air Force and Space Force. It is designed to reinforce the critical role that INL’s national security programs play in safeguarding our nation. Through this fellowship, selected military personnel are immersed in a collaborative environment where they conduct independent research on topics of their choosing within the strategic framework of INL’s national and global security initiatives.

Fellows have the privilege to access state-of-the-art facilities and work alongside INL’s leading scientists and engineers. The program encourages the exploration of innovative ideas and supports fellows in their pursuit to develop solutions to complex national security challenges. The interdisciplinary nature of the program allows for a rich exchange of knowledge, fostering advancements that integrate military insights with scientific and technological breakthroughs.

2023-2024 Air Force and Space Force Fellows Maj. Rachel E. Donoho and Lt. Col. Kurando Mensen.

2023-2024

Lieutenant Colonel Kurando Mensen

Mensen is the commander of the 96th Communications Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He leads 350 Total Force airmen and guardians in building, operating, securing and defending the cyberspace that enables the 96th Test Wing, eight other wing/wing-equivalents and 35 mission partner units across the Air Force’s largest installation. Eglin Air Force Base has the busiest air traffic activity in the Air Force, and its joint activities span 724 square miles, 123,000 square sea miles and 70 test sites.

Mensen received his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu. He has served in a wide variety of positions at the platoon, squadron, division, joint and headquarters levels. His diverse deployed experiences include a tour leading an Army postal platoon and being the communications planner for the United States Forces Iraq/Air Component Coordination Element. He was then the division chief in the Combined Air Operations Center Air Force Forces A2 Directorate.

Prior to his current position, Mensen served as the deputy executive officer to the deputy commander at U.S. European Command headquarters, Stuttgart Army Garrison, Germany. He is married to Christine Rachel and they have two children, Kaila Rose and Graysen.

Major Rachel E. Donoho

Donoho is the director of operations for the 660th Network Operations Squadron at the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The squadron is a 398-member joint and contractor force responsible for operating and defending the NRO’s more than $10 billion global communications network supporting 70,000 users across 808 sites.

Prior to arriving at the NRO in 2021, Donoho served as the military assistant to the deputy chief of staff of operations at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Allied Joint Force Command at Brunssum in the Netherlands. As assistant to the deputy chief of staff of operations, she led a six-person allied joint staff overseeing four military divisions responsible for international operations and intelligence activities in the NATO High North Region and Afghanistan theaters.

Donoho received her commission in 2011 after graduating from the Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s degree in foreign area studies. As a cyberspace officer, she has served in various assignments, including two communications squadrons, a training squadron and at NATO headquarters. Her contingency experience includes deployments to the Middle East and Southwest Asia in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve.

2019-2020

Lieutenant Colonel John W. Picklesimer
Major Karl A. Sickendick

2018-2019

Lieutenant Colonel Brian (Spanky) Snyder
Major Luis Morales Reyes

2017-2018

Lieutenant Colonel Roy Rockwell
Major Tracie Konietzko
Mr. Marcus Jones

2016-2017

Lieutenant Colonel Scott O'Malley
Major Nathaniel L. Edwards
Mr. Trevor Smith

2015-2016

Colonel David E. Stone
Major David L. Louque, dr.

2014-2015

Lieutenant Colonel Cliff Durham
Major Jeremy Thomas

2013-2014

Lieutenant Colonel Kyle Mikos
Major Regina Tate

2012-2013

Lieutenant Colonel Scott Rothermel
Major Darrell Apilado

2011-2012

Colonel John Dunks
Major Jason Huff

2010-2011

Lieutenant Colonel Eric Oliver
Major Johnathan Boling
Idaho National Laboratory