March 11, 2024


From Science Grad to Air Force Captain: USU Grad Dedicates Career to Health and Safety of Military

Isabella Muffoletto standing infront of a fighter jet

USU alumna and Air Force bionenvironmental engineering officer Isabella Muffoletto was deployed with the “Red Tails” 332d Medical Expeditionary Group to the Middle East (undisclosed location), as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in 2021. (USAF photo)

Propelled by an enduring passion for science that had taken root in her heart since childhood, Isabella Muffoletto ’18, envisioned herself delving into the mysteries of the medical field, eager to unravel its complexities and make a meaningful impact. As a teenager, her interest expanded when she immersed herself in the vibrant ecosystem of the STEM outreach program offered through Utah State University. From programs including “Discover Biological Engineering” to “Engineering State” and “Science Unwrapped,” Isabella participated in these enriching experiences, soaking in the knowledge and expanding her horizons.

Capt. Isabella Muffoletto, right, receives her master’s degree diploma in industrial hygiene from General Lester Lyles
Capt. Isabella Muffoletto, right, receives her master’s degree diploma in industrial hygiene from General Lester Lyles (USAF, ret.), former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, at the Spring 2023 Air Force Institute of Technology commencement ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. (USAF)

While attending Logan High School, Isabella seized the opportunity to volunteer in USU professor Randy Lewis’s groundbreaking synthetic spider silk lab, where she delved into cutting-edge research and honed her scientific acumen. The immersive experience not only deepened her appreciation for the wonders of biology, but also laid the foundation for her future academic pursuits.

Isabella originally planned to major in biological engineering; however, as she began to explore the many opportunities, her interests began to evolve. Towards the end of her first year, she serendipitously stumbled upon USU’s industrial hygiene program in the College of Science’s Department of Biology. To complement her studies in industrial hygiene, Isabella also pursued a minor in chemistry, as she recognized its integral role in understanding and addressing occupational hazards.

“The program fit all my interests – occupational health, epidemiology, toxicology, and physiology,” Isabella said.

As focused as she was, Isabella’s time at USU wasn’t just about academics. She took time to enjoy campus life, seizing every opportunity to explore her interests and make meaningful contributions. From her involvement in the USU marching band, to her role as a College of Science Ambassador, Isabella fully embraced her college experience.

Isabella embarked on yet another transformative path at the start of her sophomore year, joining the ranks of cadets participating in Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AFROTC) at USU. The experience would shape her future endeavors, instilling within her a sense of duty, honor, and camaraderie. Inspired by her father’s military service, Isabella saw the AFROTC as a path to both serve her country and further her education. Little did she know that this decision would pave the way for her future career.

After graduating from USU, Isabella’s life took an exciting turn when she was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Her expertise in industrial hygiene proved to be a valuable asset as she embarked on a career dedicated to ensuring the health and safety of military personnel. As a bioenvironmental engineering officer within the Biomedical Sciences Corps, Isabella’s first duty station was at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, where she led investigations of the bioenvironmental aspects of two fighter jet crashes. During this time, Isabella deployed for seven months to an undisclosed location in the Middle East in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and was responsible for mitigating health risks to the entire installation.

Isabella’s dedication and expertise at her job earned her recognition and opportunities for further growth. Upon returning from deployment, Isabella enrolled at the Air Force Institute of Technology, where she graduated with a master’s in industrial hygiene and earned a graduate certificate in Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction. While earning her master’s degree, she worked with the Air Force Research Lab’s Toxicology Lab to conduct her novel thesis research on occupational particulate mixtures and their effects on lung cells.

Today, Isabella proudly serves as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where she is a consultant for the Occupational & Environmental Health Department in the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine. Her work in bioenvironmental engineering not only impacts the lives of military personnel, but also contributes to the broader field of occupational health and safety.

Thinking about her time as an undergraduate, Isabella remains grateful for the opportunities and support she received while at USU. From scholarships, including the David Drown Industrial Hygiene Scholarship and the Vern and Emma Rae Eyre Endowed Scholarship; to her professors, every contribution played a vital role in her success.

“USU has some amazing professors,” Isabella said. “They really care about students, host social gatherings at their homes and provide a lot of valuable internship and career advice. I even contacted a USU professor when I was deployed to the Middle East for some advice on a noise mitigation issue and he helped me with calculations to set up a noise barrier.”

Isabella also recognized the good foundation she received from USU and was aware of what her USU AFROTC experience provided her.

“The USU Air Force ROTC cadre was incredible,” Isabella said. “I learned so much and am so thankful for all of those who mentored me, advocated for me, and taught me valuable leadership lessons.”

As she continues to make strides in her career, Isabella remains committed to giving back to her alma mater. She understands the importance of supporting future generations of students and hopes to inspire others to pursue their dreams with passion and determination. As a young alum, Isabella has contributed to USU’s A Day of Giving, as she knows that every gift counts.

“It’s easy to think that only big donations make a difference, but that’s not the case,” Isabella said. “It takes all of us working together to make an impact, and small gifts add up. If you wait until you’ve ‘made it’ to give, you’ll miss opportunities to benefit students today.”

In the end, Isabella’s journey from an ambitious student at USU to a successful Air Force Captain serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, passion, and the invaluable support of a community that believes in the potential of its members.

“What I received from Utah State was not only beneficial academically, but it gave me a community who supported me, cheered me on, and cared about me well past my undergraduate days,” Isabella said. “I truly would not be where I am today without Utah State’s faculty, cadre, and the immense generosity of their donors.”

The Utah State University College of Science Student Scholarship and Success Fund provides unparalleled opportunities for deserving students to chart a more certain future with the help of scholarships. Create Your Aggie Impact by supporting student-focused areas at


Kade Burnham
Science, Development Director

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