Feb. 20—PALO ALTO, Ca. — Christina Agnew, senior systems engineer at Stellar Solutions, a global aerospace and systems engineering leader, has been awarded the National Medal of Merit by the Air Force Association.
Agnew is a Sandusky native, who attended Perkins High School, graduating in 2000. Her mother Diane Quillen, father Jerry and stepmother Karen Quillen, still reside in Sandusky.
Agnew received the honor based upon her exceptional volunteer services in building a community-wide initiative to support members of the Space and Missile Systems Center and their families in the Los Angeles region.
Agnew said she's appreciative of the award and she's passionate about her career and her community.
"I set up a committee with representatives from different groups across our Air Force community here at Los Angeles Air Force Base," she said.
Agnew said she contacted civil, enlisted personnel and officer organizations and family groups. Through this committee, they were able to set up online mentoring programs, ensure organizations had funds and connected them to the help they needed.
Her years at Perkins set her on her path, she said.
"I went through Perkins school from kindergarten all the way through senior year, it was a super positive experience and I'm so grateful for it," she said. "I am so appreciative of the educators from Perkins, that helped set me on my path."
Her half-sister, Ava, is now attending Perkins for middle school.
"She's a superstar. I know she's going to do good things in her future, too," Agnew said. "She inspires me because I look at her and see how talented and amazing she is at a young age."
Michael Lencioni, Stellar Solutions CEO, said Stellar Solutions are enormously proud of Agnew's passion and dedication to the professional advancement and recognition of Air Force and Space Force personnel and their families."
A Major in the Air Force Reserves, Agnew joined the Air Force Association Schriever Chapter 147 Los Angeles in 2014 following nine years of active duty.
While having a full-time job and being a reserve officer, Agnew also finds the time to tutor high school students that live in her neighborhood.
"It's not even work for me, I love it and I love to see kids that may feel like they're not capable and all it takes is a bit of time and someone explaining things a different way," she said. "It's so rewarding to be able to sit down with them and help."
As a reserve officer, Agnew travels to the Pentagon a few times a year. As the mother of a two-year-old, she said she's taken her son with her since he was three months old.
"You find yourself to be very adaptable, you just kind of roll with it and figure it out," Agnew said.
She joined Stellar Solutions in 2016, where she serves as a senior systems engineer guiding U.S. Space Force launch, satellite, and ground systems through development and into operations.
In 2018, she was named Chair of the Schriever Chapter's Airman and Family Support Committee. There she forged partnerships with base organizations reaching senior and rising officers, enlisted service people and civilians, with the goal of advancing Air Force Association member mentorship, leadership recognition, family support and team morale events.
"If we all get together and work together, share resources, we can do some really neat things," she said.
Immediate past president of the General Bernard A. Schriever Chapter Arnie Streland said, in nominating her, that Agnew advanced "a model program, supporting the entire breadth, officer, airman and civilian, of the 6,000 person Space and Missile Systems Center family."
Agnew is currently serving as the deputy chief, integration division, space programs, office of the assistant secretary for acquisition where she was awarded the 2020 Reserve Field Grade Officer of the Year.
"If you have a role model or someone that introduces you to an opportunity that you didn't know of, it can change your path completely," she said. "It lights me up, I'm so inspired by young people because they're our future."