Avondale High School Senior Ryan Feng Earns Prestigious Designation

National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist Looks Beyond

Avondale High School senior, Ryan Feng, is among an elite group of approximately 16,000 students nationwide to be been named a 2017 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). The 16,000 students represent less than one percent of the 1.6 million high school juniors who took the 2016 PSAT that serves as the qualifier for National Merit Semifinalist designation.

Avondale High School principal, Ms. Sharon Hyde and National Merit Semifinalist, Ryan Feng

Avondale High School principal, Ms. Sharon Hyde and National Merit Semifinalist, Ryan Feng

Ryan, who has been an Avondale School District student throughout his Kindergarten through 12th grade career is unassuming about being named to the prestigious list and credits his 6th grade Avondale Middle School Science teacher, Mr. John Biegun, with instilling in him a thirst to always ask questions and look for answers, “he planted in me the idea to always look at things beyond whatever the lesson was and go deeper into a subject,” said Ryan.

That lesson continues to serve Ryan in his studies and as a member of the Avondale RoboJackets robotics team where he is a lead strategist for the group. A nice fit for someone who likes to ask a lot of questions, gather data, analyze it, and then ask more questions.  Ryan joined the RoboJackets as a freshman and has worn many hats for the team in the nearly four years of his tenure. He enjoys the teamwork and problem solving that are the cornerstones of robotics competition and excels at the electrical and mechanical design and production sides.

Most importantly, Ryan sees the robotics team as a chance to work with industry leaders who pass along not only their STEM-based knowledge but also help the students develop the 21st Century soft skills that employers say are missing from many of today’s high school and college graduates. “The focus of FIRST Robotics competitions is the mentorship opportunity for the students,” he explained, “they teach us things that we can’t learn from books.”

Ryan’s plans following graduation include applying the skills he developed through his robotics experiences as well as the lesson from his early years Science teacher, Mr. Biegun, to look beyond. He plans to study mechanical, chemical or aerospace engineering and is applying to top colleges around the country including Georgia Tech who has one of the premier college robotics programs in the country and a team named the RoboJackets. Ryan is the son of Yuding Feng and Sharon Jin of Rochester Hills.

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