Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Museum of Flight Pathfinder Creative Team Includes Local High School Students

SEATTLE – For over forty years The Museum of Flight’s annual Pathfinder Awards have honored Northwest visionaries that have made significant contributions to the development of the aerospace industry. The Pathfinder Awards Banquet is a high-profile autumn event for the Museum that features the current year’s selection of Pathfinders. Four key members of the event’s 2023 creative team were Shorecrest High School student Brendon Rudberg, Ballard High School student Ryder Waltmire, plus Max Watt and Nour Khalifa from Raisbeck Aviation High School. Pathfinder Awards co-chair Steve Taylor described the Interns and their contributions to the program as “amazing.”

Students from Raisbeck Aviation High School have been a part of the Pathfinder Intern program since it began in 2011, and the Museum has since opened the internship to students from other high schools while they are enrolled in Museum education programs. Waltmire is a student in the Museum’s Aeronautical Science Pathway program, Rudberg was in the Museum’s 2023 Washington Aerospace Scholars program, and Watt was a participant in the Museum’s 2023 Private Pilot Ground School program.

2023 Pathfinder Interns
The 2023 Pathfinder Awards Banquet on Oct. 28 honored Blue Origin spaceflight engineer Gary Lai, and retired Boeing president Ray Conner. The format of the Pathfinder event centers upon “fireside chats” with an emcee and an honoree that look back upon the Pathfinder’s accomplishments; and despite casual appearances the conversations are based upon well-researched scripts created by the Pathfinder Interns.

Pathfinders Lai and Conner were interviewed extensively by the interns to write their biographies for The Museum of Flight’s magazine, Aloft, and for developing a script for the Awards banquet. Waltmire even toured the Blue Origin facility with Lai to learn more about his professional world. The interns were engaged in the Pathfinder program for about six months, culminating with the Pathfinder Awards Banquet.

The Museum’s Pathfinder Intern program has given dozens of high school students the rare opportunity to personally engage with some of the most recognized leaders in aviation and space including Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Col. Joe Jackson and entrepreneur Jeff Bezos, and to be creative force in a major event at The Museum of Flight.

For Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit

Image: 2023 Pathfinder Interns Shorecrest Hight School student Brendon Rudberg, and Ballard High School student Ryder Waltmire at the podium during the Pathfinder Awards Banquet.