Bios – Linda & Rich
Linda Fritsche Castner: Linda grew up on her family’s small airport in Pittstown, NJ. She owned and operated the airport with her brother for over two decades. A Private Pilot and Advanced Ground Instructor, she is President of Up, Up, and Away in Hunterdon, Inc., which promotes general aviation through innovative aviation-themed programs. With the help of a Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education Program grant, she created the Central Jersey Aviation Education Collaborative.
Drawing on diverse backgrounds in corporate health and wellness, collegiate coaching and teaching, and general aviation, Linda developed and serves as Lead Ground Facilitator for Take Flight Workshops. An author and motivational speaker, she is a 2018 Inductee in the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame. Linda received the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Coalition Award for Innovations in Aviation Education in 2011. She holds an M.S. in Exercise Physiology and is a three-time Master Aviation Educator.
Rich Stowell: Drawing on his career as an award-winning flight instructor and early work as a mechanical engineer, Rich has created a range of aviation-themed STEM content and delivered programs to adults and children in New Jersey, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon.
In 2016, Rich received the Idaho West Central Mountain STEM Gem of the Year award. As a 4-H STEM Program Leader, he received both the Valley County and Idaho Southern District Distinguished Leader awards in 2019. Also in 2019, he was invited to speak about “STEM through the Lens of Aviation” at the Western Regional Space Grant Meeting in Big Sky, MT. In 2020, Rich was part of a team that won the Excellence in Workforce Development award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) for programs to inspire future aviation professionals. The team included 4-H coordinators and airport stakeholders in Idaho and Oregon. From October 2019 to October 2021, he was certified by the Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEAR) Institute to assess the quality of STEM programs in Idaho using the PEAR Dimensions of Success rubric.