“Space: the final frontier.” For many, these famous words echoed out of television and movie screens, providing viewers the opportunity to passively engage in outer space exploits. For some, the words acted as a magnet, drawing the individuals towards the human quest to explore and colonize the space immediately beyond Earth’s atmosphere. For Margo Vriesinga, the call of the final frontier would come after a journey that took her from cars to complex jet engines to Virgin Galactic!
Simi Razvi epitomizes the contemporary aircraft-maintenance tech in the world of high-skilled, modern-day aviation. She has leveraged her time in education, pushing and applying pressure when needed, advancing her career to American Airlines at warp-like speed.
The thrill of piloting is to be in command -- to be the one behind the controls, calling out directives, the one people look to for advice and guidance. This is so important to pilots that they track their time as “pilot in command.” But the command aspect goes beyond being the authoritarian behind the yoke. For some, being in command begins when individuals take control of their lives and begin charting their own destinies.
“I've never known an industry that can get into people's blood the way aviation does,” stated Robert Six, founder of Continental Airlines. For Monique Grayson, her first infusion occurred at the age of 12, when she took her first flight to San Francisco with her family. Little did the young girl from Kalamazoo, Michigan realize how this initial aviation experience would direct and change her life.
"Hey Patrick! Apply for this internship. If you get it, drop your classes and push your graduation date by seven months." This was, essentially, what my uncle said to me when he tried to “sell” me on the United Airlines internship.
I have read with interest stories of WMU students from the College of Aviation and their movement through their career. Most seem to be those who graduated with a degree and became professional pilots. I thought that my story might show that there are other paths available with a degree from WMU College of Aviation.
Happy New Year to our aviation family and friends! Now is the time of year when I like to reach out to our partners, alumni, advisory board members, and friends to share with you updates from the institution, as well as invite feedback you may have.
Western Michigan University College of Aviation has developed a reputation in the industry of producing professional pilots that are highly sought after and consistently top performers in airlines and corporate aviation departments.