College of Aviation students always have amazing reasons for choosing their career path, but Jason Fink's might rate as No. 1. The Houston senior caught the aviation bug from the stories his grandfather told when he was a U.S. Navy radio operator on flights hunting for enemy submarines during the Cold War. That also prompted the major in aviation flight science in his pre-Western days to pursue a private-pilot certificate back in his home state of Texas.
Richardson, a senior at Western majoring in aviation flight science, says he got the flying bug from the birds, but it didn't become something of a personal pandemic until his last year in high school. And it took a bit of soul-searching. "I asked myself about all the things that interested me," he recalls. "There was a tie among music education, culinary arts, photography and aviation. As a kid, I was always fascinated with flying. Driving around with my parents, I would always tend to watch the skies."
Hailing from the area around the Capitol City of Lansing, Lantz says he had "a life-long interest in aviation, but I never thought I would make it a career until I learned about Western's aviation school." Now in his senior year, he's majoring in aviation management and operations, complementing that with a minor in general business. "When I learned that Western had this specialized program, I knew it would be a good fit for me."
Shannon Carpenter is scheduled to graduate after the 2020 fall semester with a degree in aviation maintenance technology, she is the reigning chapter president of the Association of Women in Aviation Maintenance at the WMU College of Aviation. Carpenter, who hails from the Livingston County community of Howell northwest of Detroit, has her eyes set on future employment in corporate aviation and, further on down the line, a position with the National Transportation Safety Board.
"I decided to attend WMU because the College of Aviation offers one of the best programs in the country that includes an emphasis on aviation management and operations," Pruitt says. "My instructors have years and years of experience in this field, and that is incredibly valuable."