For an aviation student, Shelbi Lynn Tierney is decidedly grounded.
It’s not the high-flying adventure of aviation that is her beacon. Her interests lie in what’s on the ground—everything from airport management and crash investigation to air traffic control. And she’s taking a big interest in promoting the field of aviation to other women.
It all started with a tour of WMU, during which she was told of the College of Aviation.
“I honestly had no idea about the aviation program here,” she says. “I scheduled a tour of the College of Aviation and after that tour I knew that that’s what I wanted to go into.”
The aviation administration major is currently working at the College of Aviation in recruitment and outreach. Much of her attention is focused on attracting women to aviation. Teirney, along with another woman in the office, are members of the national organization Women in Aviation.
“They work with us and all of the aviation schools across the country to try to get more women involved and more interested in aviation,” Tierney says. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve seen more success, so I’m hoping it keeps going and keeps increasing.”
Tierney, a Sterling Heights, Mich., native, has been an intern at Northern Jet Management in Grand Rapids and plans to graduate in spring 2015. After that, she plans to enroll in the FAA Air Traffic Control Academy in Oklahoma City.
WMU is one of just 35 schools nationwide to be part of the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative, which puts students on the fast track for acceptance at the academy.