Over the past three years, being a part of the Purdue AAAE chapter has given me great insight into the aviation industry and has paved the way for me to begin my career as an airport executive. Whether it was a guest speaker at our monthly meeting or a trip to O’Hare to see the control tower, the chapter has provided the basis for me to grow my career and build my skill-set. In October of last year, the faculty head for our chapter provided me with some information on a job opening as an airport manager locally. I immediately applied and within a month, I was voted in to be the next airport manager for the City of Delphi. Not only has the AAAE given me job opportunities, but it has provided me with a whole world of connections.
With this scholarship, I have been able to devote more time to my studies and the Delphi Municipal Airport rather than work a second job to pay for school. Some of this free-time gave me the opportunity to run the first real event at Delphi which I titled a “Fly-In or Drive-In.” The objective was to build community support and show them exactly what we do at the airport by generating a dialogue between pilots and civilians. It generated so much traffic, we ended up filling up most of the airport. I hope to do it again this coming year. Another thing the scholarship allows me to do is dedicate my time to a new program I am trying to start to “inspire the next generation of aviators” where I hope to connect with the local schools and show students what the industry is all about as well as what happens at their local airport. With the support from the AAAE, I am able to chase my dreams more than I thought I’d be able to. It is an honor to be a recipient of this scholarship and I am forever grateful.