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RMS Student Earns Full Scholarship to National Flight Academy Summer Camp

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RMS Student Earns Full Scholarship to National Flight Academy Summer Camp

Learning translates to real-life success in Megan Bluma’s eighth-grade STEAM class, which prepared eighth grader Rylan to write an essay as part of an application to attend the National Flight Academy in Pensacola, Florida this summer. Thanks to his application and essay, Rylan earned a full-ride scholarship to the six-day summer camp, which is held aboard the world’s largest simulated aircraft carrier.

At the summer camp, Rylan will have the opportunity to engage in STEM-based exercises and be exposed to STEM and aviation-related career opportunities alongside students in grades 7-12 from all over the country. Working in squadrons of 12, students will practice effective communication, teamwork, leadership and critical thinking while playing the role of pilots and air traffic control coordinators, as well as learning about flight prep procedures and aircraft maintenance. The camp, which has partnered with Delta Airlines since 2013, will also introduce the students to professionals in the aviation field including flight operators and pilots (the Blue Angels!), engineers, and administrators in the operations control center (OCC).

An interest in aviation runs in the MacAdams family. Rylan’s dad, Chris, is a pilot with Delta Airlines. Chris introduced Rylan to the National Flight Academy Summer Camp for the first time when he mentioned that another captain he flew with had sent their kids to the camp. 

“I am excited to attend because it provides a large-scale experience that has to do with all things connected with flying,” said Rylan. “The school is hosted in an aircraft carrier where we eat and sleep, and has different buildings for simulators and other flight tools.”

In the essay he wrote, Rylan talked about the STEAM class at Richfield Middle School and how STEAM has affected his life. “It’s a great class that makes me want to come to school,” explained Rylan. “We had a unit where Ms. Bluma gave us old electronics that were not working, and tasked us with dissecting them to see what was on the inside. I chose a Blu-Ray player because they have always interested me. I took off all of the screws and it showed a heatsink, the loader, buttons and the motherboard. I put it all back together and surprisingly, it worked!”

After successfully fixing the Blu-Ray player, Ms. Bluma gave Rylan a chance to work on the class’s 3D printers, which weren’t functioning properly and were needed for the next unit. Although he couldn’t fix the 3D printer, he was able to successfully diagnose the problem as an issue with the motherboard. 

“Even as early as his sixth-grade year of STEAM, Rylan has always demonstrated exceptional aptitude in creative and innovative thinking and problem-solving,” said Ms. Bluma. “He has a dynamic skill set inside and outside of the classroom, and it gives him the perfect kind of knowledge base for the interdisciplinary fields of STEAM. Rylan has been such a delight to know and teach (as well as learn from!) over the years. I will be sad to have him leave RMS, but I'm even more excited to see what he does in the next chapters of his life.”

At RMS, it’s not surprising that STEAM is Rylan’s favorite class. In elementary school at Richfield Dual Language School, Rylan first found his love of STEM-related projects. 

“I remember one project where we had toothpicks and marshmallows and had to build the tallest tower. My team did not win, but I gained something more valuable than a victory with my newfound liking for STEM projects,” said Rylan. “RDLS helped me become the person that I wanted to be.” 

Outside of school, Rylan is on mountain biking, swimming and tennis teams. He enjoys biking around various woodland trails in the Twin Cities, including Theodore Wirth and Elm Creek, and racing with his team, the Bloomington Riders. In swimming, he mostly focuses on training to become faster. On the tennis team, Rylan uses principles of STEM to get better: “Tracking the ball, while having good positioning and knowing the correct stroke for the situation, while trying not to hit the ball too hard and overshoot the court,” he explains. “The faster the ball gets, the more difficult the game gets.” 

We are excited for Rylan to experience the National Flight Academy Summer Camp and can’t wait to hear how it goes!

Learn more about STEM and STEAM in Richfield Public Schools.

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