November 4, 2020

Chasing the storm

Aerospace student pursues his hobby as a future career.

Although UND Senior Evan Rys’s childhood dream was to become a pilot, storm chasing is the first hobby listed on his resume. Enrolling in UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences opened the possibility to turn his hobby into a future career.

The New Jersey native combined his fascination for Atmospheric Science and his love for Commercial Aviation as a double major at UND and added a minor in Mathematics. Studying under two acclaimed programs of the University, Evan considers his double major as “the best of both worlds” and has taken advantage of the opportunities they offer. As a summer project, he conducted research on snowflake crystals for Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences Dr. Aaron Kennedy.

The collective knowledge and experience of every professor really shapes you to get a well-rounded idea of what you're going to be experiencing when you graduate,” said Evan.

Evan is the recipient of the UND Presidential Scholarship, the Canadair Regional Jet Training Scholarship, and has been recognized with the Atmospheric Sciences Outstanding Freshman, Sophomore and Junior awards. The first of his family to study these industries, Evans says receiving these awards funded by UND alumni and supporters has given him confidence and direction.

“I tend to think about money in terms of how much time it would take me to work to get that amount. If I wasn't receiving these scholarships, then I wouldn't have time to be involved in leadership activities,” explained Evan. “It just makes my quality of life so much better. Not having to be stressed about finances makes it a lot easier to focus and study.”

To accompany his studies, Evan became a certified flight instructor, an Atmospheric Sciences teacher's assistant, an admission ambassador, and joined the Varsity Gentleman Choir. He has taken on leadership positions for the Student Aviation Management Association, the Student Chapter American Meteorological Society and his AΣΦ Fraternity.

Like some UND alumni before him, Evan’s new aspiration is to take his training to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences Administration (NOAA Corps), a scientific agency that monitors oceanic and atmospheric conditions.

"I know the hard work will be worth it once I graduate," said Evan.

– by Jenn Lukens

Evan Rys braves the elements on a storm chasing trip in Northwest Minnesota.

Supporting students is vital. For the last 20 years, tuition has steadily increased, but the number of scholarships has not kept pace. Creating more scholarships will create more opportunity for tomorrow’s leaders, like Evan.

For more information about supporting students, give us a call at 701.777.2611 or check out our guide to giving.