Florida Tech Scholar-Athlete Spotlight Recognizes Esports Player, Swimmer Josh McLean

Air Traffic Control Is McLean’s Major

Josh McLean is a sophomore at Florida Tech who is making tremendous strides both academically and as an athlete. Majoring in Air Traffic Control, he is a shining example of how dedication and passion pave the way for exceptional performance in the Scholar-Athlete Spotlight. (Florida Tech image)

MELBOURNE, FLORIDA, and BREVARD COUNTY – Flourishing as a scholar-athlete at Florida Tech means putting in an extraordinary level of commitment, both in academics and sports.

We had the opportunity to converse with Josh McLean. A sophomore at Florida Tech, Josh is part of men’s swimming and Esports and is pursuing Air Traffic Control. He features in this version of the Scholar-Athlete Spotlight.

Hailing from Houston, Texas, Josh was a member of the winning team at the 200 Free relay B Final at the Panther Invite two weeks ago. His solo performance was equally impressive, securing third place in the 200 Free at the season-opening meet with Rollins. For the 2022-23 season, he achieved seven top-five finishes.

The Sunshine State Conference Commissioner and the Athletic Director of Florida Tech named McLean to their Honor Roll after his first year of participation.

Join us as Josh shares his experiences while studying at Florida Tech, balancing academics and being part of two teams.

Share with us some information about your major. Why did you choose it, and what are your future plans?

The story is slightly unconventional. Initially, I intended to pursue computer science…

However, my engagement with video games, where I played as an air traffic controller, got me intrigued. It somehow resonated with my interests, and as my father and sister are pilots, aviation seemed to be a natural fit. This interest deepened gradually as I explored more about it through videos and other resources.

I assume Flight Simulator was a favorite game of yours?

Absolutely! The most exciting part for me was enacting as air traffic controller in the game – it was enthralling!

How do you think your education at Florida Tech will assist you once you finish your degree? Considering the substantial workload in air traffic control?
The opportunities provided by Florida Tech are immense. The instructors have worked as air traffic controllers, and their contacts in the field provide an excellent network. These interactions can lead to better prospects in the future.

Let us know about something you’ve learned at Florida Tech about your major that was previously unknown to you?

In one of my classes, the instructor – a former air traffic controller – provided detailed insights about the field. This included information about salaries, situational advice, and alternate career paths for those not inclined towards air traffic control. I found this information very useful.

Do you believe your participation in two distinct sports teams has prepared you better for your future career? Do the learnings from each team apply to your studies?

I’ve learned many valuable lessons. Time management is key, especially considering early morning wake-ups, late-night eSports sessions, and academic commitments in between. Persistence and hard work are fundamental, whether in swimming or eSports, where I lead the team. These experiences have strengthened my academic learning, especially for my future in air traffic control.

What suggestions would you give to a future athlete at Florida Tech who is considering Air Traffic Control?

Start with thorough research. Considering the stress associated with air traffic control and the added responsibility of sports, some may find it intimidating. However, the opportunities and life lessons it presents are equally rewarding.

What classroom accomplishment are you most proud of?

My proudest achievement is maintaining exemplary grades. While I struggled academically during middle and high school, I resolved to focus on my studies upon joining Florida Tech, and I’m content with my academic progress so far.


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