"Father Knows Best" was a highly popular sit-com on radio and television in the late 1940s and 1950s. For Raymone "Ray" Hayman, it was "Mom" who knew best as the family's pathfinder. Because of her version of "tough love," Ray was dragooned into attending the renowned Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. Aerospace Technical High School in his home city of Detroit. As a result, he was pointed toward the WMU College of Aviation and is now six years into what looms as a promising and profitable career in the aviation industry.
Vladislav Robinson wasn't born to fly, but it wasn't a heck of a long time after his birth that he did a lot of flying. At the age of 17 months, "Vlad" made his first flight, departing his birth country of Ukraine. His maiden aviation journey required four flights for the future Bronco to reach his adoptive parents in Port Orange, Fla, the placed he called home until 5th grade when he moved to Steeler Country: Pittsburgh Pa. While this initial flight may have introduced him to higher atmospheric elevations, his true affinity for aviation was nurtured as he grew because his father was a pilot in the U. S. Air Force.
If you think the epitome of college life is shuttering in your dorm playing video games, you don't want Braden "Brady" Wilson as a "roomie." A WMU College of Aviation junior, this "Brady" has bunched together a number of activities, all designed to maximize the enjoyment of this phase of his existence while navigating a course aimed at career success once the higher-education chapter of life ebbs into personal history.
The work-experience section of Lisa Whittaker's resume would choke a paper shredder. Which is why, as a member of the WMU College of Aviation's faculty since 2000, she has taught these courses: aviation safety (her personal favorite), airport administration and finance, introduction to aviation, aerodynamics, introduction to airports, airline flight operations, and airline administration. Her research topics include women’s studies, STEM, maintenance engineering and safety management systems.
Aviation is embedded in Jordan Unter's genes. Now a senior majoring in aviation management and operations at the Western Michigan University College of Aviation, Unter grew up in Fort Collins, Colo., listening to his great-grandfather spin yarns about World War II.
Puchacz majored in what is now aviation management and operations and minored in business on the way to his 2003 WMU degree. During this time, he held his first job in the industry as an intern at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport. That stint cemented his decision to focus on the management aspect of aviation and prepped him for his first full-time job -- at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey as an operations coordinator.
While aviators have their heads in the clouds, there are a lot of people back on the ground working to keep them up there. Dezmond Stover is excited to be among them, passionate about making flight operations run smoothly. "It's part of the aviation field where I can move around and interact with people on a daily basis," says Stover, who graduates from Western Michigan University on Saturday, Dec. 19, with a degree in aviation management and operations.
As a senior majoring in aviation management and operations at Western Michigan University, Cody Miller-Holcomb says he "loves researching and observing aircraft. I could sit at an airport lookout all day and watch the aircraft take off. I can name them all." Cody didn't have to travel very far to reach his destination in higher education. Home for him is Wyoming, Mich., a suburb community to Grand Rapids about 45 miles north of Western's home campus in Kalamazoo. It didn't take long for Cody to figure out that the college and WMU's Kalamazoo campus was indeed a special place to chart a dream-come-true pathway.
Created to inspire young women of color to pursue careers in aviation and diversify the field, Sisters of the Skies, Inc. is a nonprofit organization focused on outreach, scholarship and mentorship. Membership in the group includes a number of WMU College of Aviation Alumni: Monique Grayson, Alexis Brown, Micah Clark and Brianna Jackson!
Matthew Wietstock is not your typical pilot. His approach to higher education, which initially featured a music-composition major at Western Michigan University, is a bit backward. Double majors in the College of Aviation are not that unusual, but Wietstock's prime path leads to a degree in aviation management and operations and then one in aviation flight science. Peers normally reverse that plan.