Micale Ward-a senior in the University of Utah’s Department of Chemical Engineering and a member of the Air National Guard, recently nominated assistant professor Kody Powell for the Patriot Award, given by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. The award reflects the efforts made by employers to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

As an aircraft maintenance technician, Ward can be found inspecting aircraft, and refueling and performing scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on the KC-135 Stratotankers, a giant military refueling plane. She is with the 151st Air Refueling Wing (ARW) at Rowland R. Wright Air National Guard Base in Salt Lake City.

In her more than four years of military service, Ward has been deployed once to the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, and to Europe in support of NATO missions. She has been to over 10 countries and has visited over 20 states. She also was involved in two support missions for the President of the United States.

Powell’s first memory of Ward came from teaching her in his Heat Transfer class, where she had to miss the first two weeks of class because she was to be deployed. Despite the lost class tine, she got caught up quickly, and finished as one of his top students in the class, which made a big impression on the professor. Since then, he has worked with her as a student energy consultant and as a teaching assistant.

“I have found her to be very bright, creative, and resourceful. She has helped identify energy savings for Utah employers totaling over $700,000 per year,” Powell Said. “It makes me proud to know that one of our students is not only excelling in the classroom but is making a big impact on our economy, and most importantly, applying that same dedication to serve us in the armed forces.”

“I am truly honored and humbled to have received this honor,” he said about the award, which he received January 22. “And people like Micale, who make such huge sacrifices to balance a busy life with military service, deserve the accolades.”

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