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Branch student wins NASA essay contest

Isabella Millman (left), 11, a Branch Elementary School sixth grade student, shows her sister, Tiffany, 8, a Bailey Elementary School second grade student, her astronomy book. Isabella won second place in a national NASA essay contest. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Julius Delos Reyes)

Isabella Millman (left), 11, a Branch Elementary School sixth grade student, shows her sister, Tiffany, 8, a Bailey Elementary School second grade student, her astronomy book. Isabella won second place in a national NASA essay contest. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Julius Delos Reyes)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A Branch Elementary School student here won a national NASA essay contest recently.

Isabella Millman, 11, a Branch Elementary School sixth grade student, won second place with her essay entitled, "Dryden Flight Research Center -- The Quest for Speed -- or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Hypersonic Flight."

The contest was a component of NASA Dryden's 60th Anniversary celebration, said Michelle Davis, NASA Dryden's pre-college officer. The student essay and poster contest was designed to increase awareness and celebrate the people and events whom contributed to our remarkable legacy of flight research over the past 60 years at NASA Dryden.

The essay entries were judged for their creativity of topic selection, focus on topic, language, and grammar and writing skills. A panel of NASA education specialists, staffers and volunteer NASA Dryden employees judged the contest.

Isabella received a NASA flight jacket with personalized name tags and a NASA aircraft picture autographed by many of NASA's research pilots.

Working on her essay, Isabella only took two days to accomplish it including research, consolidating the information and writing the essay. However, she is a seasoned essayist and won the Antelope Valley Astronomy Club essay contest in May.

She said she acquired her essay-writing skills from her father, Lt. Col. Daniel Millman, the Hypersonic Flight Test Team director.

"He would give me a topic and he would let me write an essay about it," she said. "I like writing essays because I learn a lot. It is fun and I love using my imagination and creativity."

Isabella also likes reading books, knitting and playing video games. She is fluent in the Korean language, which she learned through her mother, Ae Kyong Millman. She can also play seven musical instruments including piano, violin, cello, clarinet, saxophone, guitar and accordion, most of which she learned by herself.

Her passion for academics is also shared with her little sister, Tiffany, a Bailey Elementary School second grade student. Tiffany also has an inclination for musical instruments, the Korean Language, math and is currently the Little Miss Edwards.

Isabella's parents said they were proud of their daughter winning second place for the NASA essay contest.

"My wife and I are very excited about her wanting to write," Colonel Millman said. "We are very proud of her."

Isabella said she also wants to become an astronaut.

Encouraging the youth, like Isabella, to research the past would inspire them to become engineers and scientists of the future, Ms. Davis said.

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