Pilot Student Signs With Air Force Academy


Sarah Long, Reporter

Southside senior Madison Marsh signed with the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Jan. 25. Both an undergraduate school and officer school, Marsh must continue to serve in the military for 9 years after college.

“I hope to spend that time flying F-22s or F-35s then going on to graduate school at the University of Texas then getting my PhD at Stanford,” Marsh said.

She plans to major in astronomical engineering in college in order to reach her goal of becoming an astronaut. Marsh dreams of piloting the aircraft going to Mars, something she realized after attending a marine biology camp over the summer of 9th grade.

“There was one night when we were on an overnight sail and we got to see the stars. It was the first time I’ve actually looked at that stuff without having the light pollution like you see here. It was very very different, and that kind of sparked my interest in astronomy. I ended up finding out about space camp and went there and then I really realized that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” Marsh said.

While at USAFA, Marsh must maintain 3 separate GPAs: academic, athletic, and military. These three aspects count into class ranking which determines priority for her final job and station. She prepares for this in a variety of ways, including training almost every day for basic training, taking 7 AP classes, flying 4 times a week to obtain her private pilot’s license before attending the Academy, and maintaining leadership roles.