News Release: SUNY Faculty and Students Excel in Air Force Research Laboratory Fellowship Programs in All-Virtual Setting

News Release: SUNY Faculty and Students Excel in Air Force Research Laboratory Fellowship Programs in All-Virtual Setting

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 09:36
News Releases
Research News
SUNY Poly News Logo

For Release:           Immediate – September 16, 2020
Contact:                  Steve Ference, Director of University Communications
| (518) 429-7742 |

SUNY Poly Professors Leverage Opportunity to Advance Quantum-Based Research; SUNY Poly Student Gains Hands-on Experience

ROME, NY – Faculty and students from the State University of New York, including SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly), successfully engaged in multiple research programs through the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI) this summer, thanks to a robust collaboration between AFRL/RI of Rome, NY, and SUNY. The partnership established a thriving virtual research setting that enabled students and faculty to work on innovative new technologies, even amid COVID-19 precautions.

“SUNY is extremely grateful for our partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate and the experiential learning these programs bring to our faculty and students,” said Dr. Grace Wang, senior vice chancellor for research and economic development and interim president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “Together, we are developing next-generation scientists, engineers, and researchers, and pursuing innovation, entrepreneurship, and commercialization in areas of shared strategic interest.”

“Each summer, AFRL/RI research talents increase by almost 150 people through multiple programs that focus on recruiting both faculty and students from U.S. institutions of higher education, of which SUNY has played a critical role,” said Dr. Stanley Wenndt, academic research and outreach Lead at AFRL/RI. “This additive talent is invaluable to research, productivity, mentoring, and intellectual capital. Many publications, patents, education partnerships, and professional relationships have resulted from these collaborations. This vital collaboration with SUNY and other academic partners keeps AFRL/RI on the bleeding edge of new research trends and technology.”

“I am very thankful for the 12-week Summer Faculty Fellowship Program with the AFRL/RI,” said Dr. Carlo Cafaro, assistant professor of applied mathematics at SUNY Poly. “It gave me the opportunity to engage in online-collaborations with Dr. Paul Alsing, principal research physicist, and Dr. Shannon Ray, postdoctoral research fellow, whose work will have significant ramifications in the future of quantum science.”

“This has been an intellectually inspiring summer conducting quantum computing research in the Summer Faculty Fellowship Program at AFRL/RI,” said Dr. Chen-Fu Chiang, assistant professor of computer science at SUNY Poly. “Thanks to our gracious host, Dr. Paul Alsing, we enjoyed tremendous intellectual freedom and were able to learn about others' advanced research.”

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, companies were faced with unprecedented decisions for their summer programs, whether it be to cancel, abbreviate, or conduct them remotely. AFRL/RI chose to go the bold route of keeping all their summer programs, which included faculty research programs, student internships, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) camps. The three programs were implemented virtually in a complementary and synergistic fashion, resulting in a well-rounded and complete summer collaboration for all participants.

SUNY and AFRL/RI kicked off an unprecedented educational partnership in 2019. The collaboration is working to develop game-changing technologies with the potential to enhance national security, promote domestic competitiveness, and accelerate new technologies to the application stage.

Three SUNY Poly faculty members and one student joined faculty and students from across SUNY who participated in multiple AFRL/RI summer research programs. This summer, SUNY and AFRL/RI had a record number of students and faculty collaborating, with 13 SUNY faculty and 13 SUNY students representing 12 different SUNY campuses. In addition, three SUNY students helped convert the AFRL/RI STEM classes to a virtual curriculum ( The goal of the AFRL/RI STEM Outreach Program is to foster a new generation of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technologists.

Overall, AFRL/RI had 63 faculty accompanied by 17 students from universities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in their summer research programs. One program is sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the other is sponsored by the AFRL/RI. 

Additionally, AFRL/RI had 75 students from across the country participating in remote summer internships. AFRL/RI’s internships last 10 weeks and culminate in a presentation of the student’s research. The students range from first-year students to PhD candidates and are partnered with an AFRL/RI civilian mentor. The majority of the students are majoring in electrical and engineering, computer science, mathematics, and physics (

Beyond internships, the AFRL and SUNY partnership has expanded into new territory with the most recent announcement of Innovare Advancement Center, an open innovation campus immediately adjacent to AFRL/RI’s Rome, NY, campus. The center offers a globally connected innovation ecosystem that drives advances in key strategic areas, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, cybersecurity, and quantum. 


About AFRL Information Directorate:
The Information Directorate is the Air Force's and nation's premier research organization for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) and Cyber technologies. The directorate explores, prototypes, and demonstrates high-impact, affordable and game-changing technologies. These technologies transform data into information and subsequently knowledge for decision-makers to command and control forces. This knowledge gives our air, space and cyberspace forces the competitive advantage needed to protect and defend the nations.

Our Mission: To explore, prototype and demonstrate high-impact, game-changing technologies that enable the Department of the Air Force and Nation to maintain its superior technical advantage. 

About SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly)
SUNY Poly is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem. SUNY Poly offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience and nanoengineering, as well as cutting-edge nanobioscience and nanoeconomics programs at its Albany campus, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in technology, including engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, and the engineering technologies; professional studies, including business, communication, and nursing; and arts and sciences, including natural sciences, mathematics, humanities, and social sciences at its Utica/Rome campus; thriving athletic, recreational, and cultural programs, events, and activities complement the campus experience. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts billions of dollars in high-tech investments and hundreds of corporate partners since its inception. For information visit