Ashley Van Milligan

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I first started flying competitively at age 7, but model rocketry has been part of my life since I was born. My dad is the owner of a model rocket company, so I grew up around all things rockets. At age 9 or 10, I wanted to become more involved. I began flying internationally and competing with AMA in 2016. I have competed in four different countries, including Romania, Poland, Ukraine, and Bulgaria, since joining AMA. I have podium placed seven times, with one gold medal in streamer duration. Competing for the US at the FAI competition sparked my interest in designing and creating and learning. Through model rocketry, I have learned how to problem solve, work efficiently under pressure, be a team member, and other essential skills that will allow me to succeed in the future.

I am thankful to the members of AMA who have helped me achieve many goals. I would like to thank Jay Marsh, a teammate on the US team, who has encouraged me to go far with model rocketry. Jay and a few others encouraged me to fly internationally, and always supported me when I was running around the field trying to get qualified flights. I am thankful for all the opportunities I have been provided, and that wouldn't have been possible without the immense support I have received.

A big goal for me was to do something in life that would benefit others. I knew that I wanted to be able to help people, but I also wanted the opportunity to design and build. And because of model rocketry, I have decided I want to pursue a career in engineering. In the fall, I will attend the University of North Texas where I will major in biomedical engineering. I hope that in the future I will be able to use my degree to develop prosthetics or other medical technologies that will advance medicine. Although I have graduated high school, I am still an active member of AMA. In July I will be competing for the US senior team for the first time in Austin, Texas.