Meet the Education team

This month we want to introduce you to two new members of the three-person Education team, as well as help you get to know a longtime member better. The Education department is made up of Julia Bladen, whom you might know, and now also Kyle Jaracz, the new director of Education, and Claire Aldenhuysen, the new curriculum development coordinator.(Note: Kyle was interviewed shortly before he began his new role.)

Q: What are/will be your responsibilities?

Kyle Jaracz: It’s actually going to be pretty exciting. We are taking programs that are working and update them and sunset things that are not working. I’m excited about building relationships with clubs and supporting them more fully than we have in the past.

Julia Bladen: I’m supposed to oversee MASC and UMASC and coordinate with clubs and schools to provide activities.

Claire Aldenhuysen: One of the things I have been told I will be doing is designing new curricula, redesigning Camp AMA, and working with Tony Stillman to revamp CD and EM testing. I will continue to give tours at the museum and host Fly By and Ask Claire.

Q: What are your goals for your job?

KJ: To equip the people around me to do the work that they love doing. Being a servant leader—helping when I can. I see myself as a bridge builder between our staff and the aviation community as a whole. I want to find people who do the good work and form partnerships with them to develop those programs.

Q: What are you most excited about for your new position?

KJ: I think I’m most excited about building relationships and connecting individuals to the resources that they need. Learning along the way and working with knowledgeable and passionate individuals.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

JB: Meeting with the members and clubs and going to club events because [the aviation community is] like family. [Seeing them is] like a reward for your hard work.

CA: So far, getting to see the innerworkings of the AMA in a more hands-on fashion. Getting to work with Tony. We have a really cool program and we get to rebuild that.

Q: Why do you feel that the Education department is important?

JB: I think that the Education department is a very important piece of the AMA. It helps sustain our members and grow our membership. It targets youth. We want to ensure that AMA is going to continue to thrive.

CA: We are showing people that model aviation is more than a hobby. It’s a way to show people that you can leverage your interests into something that can become a career. It’s not just a hobby, it has practical applications in the real world. It’s a cornerstone of the AMA in a lot of ways. We’re the ones out there finding new Youth members.

3 comments

  1. Nice to meet you all, Welcome!!
    How long have each of you been members of the AMA and in the hobby? Also, Do you fly RC Planes, Drive Cars or boats? If so, how long?

    1. Hi Travis. The Education team shared the following:

      Kyle: I got into the hobby when I was 12 signed up as a member of the AMA for the first time in 1993, flying RC sailplanes, warbirds, park flyers, FPV freestyle and racing drones, as well as EDF jets.
      Claire: I am relatively new to the hobby, having become an AMA member in 2016 after being hired at the National Model Aviation Museum. However, soon after I started working for the AMA, I learned I had a family history of aeromodelling: I unexpectedly received a package from my grandparents containing a rubber band powered FF airplane my grandfather had built as a child!
      Julia: I started in RC as a kid when my stepdad got me into RC cars and building model train sets. I also had an RC robot called the RAD 2.0 that shot foam missiles, so you could say I was a little bit of a tomboy. I became involved in aeromodeling in 2015, and so far have flow both RC planes and Control Line.

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