Each spring, the Association of Graduates has the pleasure of honoring graduates who attended the United States Air Force Academy within the last 15 years with our Young Alumni Excellence Award. The award is presented on the basis of the recipient's outstanding professional achievement and contributions to community, whether in military or civilian life.


Young Alumni Excellence Award Promo Video

2023 Young Alumni EXCELLENCE Award Honorees


U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (April 25, 2024) – The U.S. Air Force Academy Association of Graduates has announced its 2024 Young Alumni Excellence Award recipients. The award is presented to graduates within the last 15 years based on outstanding professional achievement and community contributions, whether in military or civilian life.

Honorees are Maj. Syed Saad Javaid ’08, Ph.D., Emma Przybyslawski ’10 and Maj. Laura Jones ’11.

Maj. Syed Saad Javaid ’08, Ph.D.

Maj. Syed Saad Javaid ’08, Ph.D.

Maj. Syed Saad Javaid earned a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering and aeronautical engineering in 2008 as a distinguished graduate. In addition, he was an airmanship instructor pilot and won top laurels in the highly competitive Flight Test Techniques course. He also won an Outstanding Engineer Award of Merit from Colorado Engineering Council in 2008. 

As a newly commissioned second lieutenant, Javaid deployed as an engineering officer, managing flight lines during the Global War on Terror. He served as a liaison between the U.S. and Pakistan Air Forces during the first participation of PAF in Exercise Red Flag. Javaid contributed to Pakistan’s F-16 fleet midlife upgrades, including ferry of aircraft to Turkey, and helped set up an aircraft failure analysis center to investigate aging aircraft issues.

Javaid earned the Fulbright scholarship for Ph.D.-level education in the U.S. and completed four graduate degrees in five years, including a Ph.D., an MBA and two master’s degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology. He was also a Sam Nunn Policy Fellow and leadership coach for undergraduate students.

He has numerous military and personal accolades, including three Chief of the Air Staff Commendations. Javaid currently serves as an instructor at the Pakistan Air Force Academy where he won the Best Faculty Award for his teaching

Emma Przybyslawski ’10

Emma Przybyslawski ’10

Emma Przybyslawski's career began as a USAF special operations intelligence officer, where she excelled in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

She was involved in the kinetic drone program in Iraq in 2015, earning a Bronze Star. Przybyslawski collaborated with U.S., Canadian and Australian special operations forces and demonstrated expertise in one of the world’s most challenging combat environments. Her orchestration of drone strikes helped degrade enemy capabilities and support ground operations.

Przybyslawski later transitioned from active duty to leadership roles in the civilian technology sector. She supported the U.S. Air Force and Space Force at Gartner Inc. beginning in 2018 and achieved the highest sales across all verticals.

As a CEO and co-founder, Przybyslawski has established and developed Strike Solutions, an edge solutions integration company focused on delivering meaningful products to defense customers. Strike has secured several Department of Defense and commercial contracts to support surveillance missions. She is also the owner of Dare Venture Group and Delta Technical and Engineering Services, both focused on serving government customers with services-based support.

 Przybyslawski is the Association of Graduates’ first board director from the 2010+ decade and has been elected to her position twice. She has been a strong advocate of inclusive membership policies that help ensure all graduates have a voice in the Association's affairs, especially the younger graduate community. Przybyslawski's strong support of reconfiguring the awards process has amplified the celebration of graduates' accomplishments, allowing Academy alumni stories to be shared more broadly.

Maj. Laura Jones ’11

Maj. Laura Jones ’11

Maj. Laura Jones graduated from the Academy with military distinction and has since deployed as a liaison to the French military; filled a staffing shortfall at the U.S. Embassy in Paris; proposed and led a RAND research project which then shaped U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command exercises and force structure; served as an instructor pilot in both the T-6 and the CV-22; and was the first officer chosen by AFSOC for the command’s new Ph.D. fellowship.

Jones later excelled in pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas, where she was selected as a first assignment instructor pilot.

During her role as FAIP, Jones was involved in a serious traffic accident and had to be airlifted to a San Antonio hospital. After relearning to walk, she returned to the cockpit only four and a half months after the accident. Although she has limited range of motion in her wrist, she has adapted and continues to fly and exceed standards.

Jones also helped shape the Irregular Warfare Initiative while on its board of directors and led the podcast team for the past three years. Under her leadership, the podcast is downloaded nearly 50,000 times a month. She has personally interviewed the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, a former member of Congress, the head of the Brookings Institution, the chief of defense staff of the United Kingdom, and the editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy magazine, among other senior leaders and leading scholars