Profiles

In 2011, Embry-Riddle Executive MBA graduate, Lisa Anderson Spencer was offered an opportunity of a lifetime - to create a new office with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS). This office, operating on behalf of all UN Organizations, would have a dedicated focus on providing an evidence-based, global approach to assessing the relative risk and suitability of air operators for use on official UN Travel, as well as a policy role. With a passion for aviation and the drive to never stop exploring, Lisa and her team are making a quantifiable difference in today’s world of aviation transportation.
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Damon D'Agostino is Chief Commercial Officer for CIT Commercial Air. In this role, he is responsible for all aspects of CIT Aerospace's commercial strategy including aircraft placements; airline marketing and sales; contract management and negotiation; and new aircraft acquisitions. In 2012, he and his wife established the Damon and Debra D’Agostino Endowed Scholarship to benefit undergraduate and graduate students in the Daytona Beach Campus’ College of Business where he is also an Industry Advisory Board member.
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Jennifer Whitlow was appointed to her current position of Senior Vice President of Communications at Lockheed Martin in 2013 and previously served as the Corporation’s vice president of Media Relations and chief spokesperson. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin in 2010, Whitlow held a number of roles of increasing responsibilities with United Technologies Corporation and Cessna Aircraft Company. 
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After 10 years of service in the U.S. Marines Corps, 2014 graduate Jose Salinas is now a Foreign Service Specialist with the U.S. Department of State. As a highly motivated, performance-driven security and management professional, Jose breaks it down on why Embry-Riddle was the best choice for his career. 
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Graduating with his MBA in 2013, Henry Quartey-Papafio is now a Financial Analyst working for The World Bank in Washington D.C.In this role, he is responsible for preparing quarterly and annual reports, periodic forecasts and other related projects for operations. Take a moment to read why Henry considers Embry-Riddle the “Ivy League of aeronautical and aviation studies.”
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Having an office at 30,000 feet is something most people will never experience. For 2005 graduate Moritz Koester, he experiences this everyday as a First Officer on the A320 and A330 for Air Berlin. He credits his business degree for helping him to lead the company’s safety department.
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When the Sigma Chi Fraternity lost one of their own, the Embry-Riddle students joined together to create a scholarship fund to carry on their brother’s legacy. 
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The Embry-Riddle community gathered to congratulate and say farewell to Dr. Richard Heist, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Research, on Aug. 24 at the Daytona Beach Campus.
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As an undergraduate math major in the 1980s, Beverly Wood had a nemesis: calculus. It wasn’t until she took a mathematical statistics course that its use finally clicked. “Well before the end of that semester, I was asking my instructor what sorts of jobs would use statistics,” said Wood. “I loved it. It was kind of like having a crystal ball that’s just a bit fuzzy.”
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Joe Bassi has been many things. He’s been an officer in the Air Force. He’s worked for the Secretary of Defense. He served a stint as a pre-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. He’s even written a book. With a wide array of experience, it’s no wonder the Worldwide professor cites learning as his greatest passion.
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Many students find themselves working at internships at some point during their college careers. One of our most experienced interns is Amreesh Raghavan, a recent Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering graduate who landed five internships to help advance his goal of becoming an aircraft structure specialist. 
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The College of Security and Intelligence Studies graduated its first Master of Science class this past May. Bryce Barrette was one of those students and is focused on identifying cyber-attacks before they do damage to businesses.
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As it celebrates its 90th year, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will be the host sponsor of the historic 2016 Air Race Classic (ARC) beginning June 21 at Embry-Riddle’s campus in Prescott, Ariz., and ending June 24 at its Daytona Beach, Fla., campus.
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When students at Embry-Riddle Worldwide take a course with Dr. James Peters, who has taught dozens of graduate courses in the areas of Space Operations, Technical Management and Aeronautical Science since 1998, they are getting a vault of knowledge that literally helped to save the space program.
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Embry-Riddle Aviation student Marieka Waites’ dream of becoming a commercial pilot was put on hold when a car accident left her in a wheelchair this spring. The sophomore, who lives in St. Augustine, FL, was on her way to Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus when a car accident left her with a broken pelvis, torn hip joints and three broken vertebrates. 
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Dr. Anne Boettcher, Director of Embry-Riddle Prescott's Undergraduate Research Institute and Honors Program has been elected to serve as the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) President for 2017-2018. CUR, with over 700 institutional members and more than 10,000 individual members, supports faculty and student development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship.
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What began as a business relationship with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to help secure simulators and aircraft grew over the course of 25 years to include positions on the university’s Board of Trustees and ultimately a full-time role as Vice President for Corporate Relations and Government Affairs. Exemplifying a lifelong passion for aviation and unwavering support of quality higher education opportunities for all, Lou Seno retired on May 10. His impact on students, staff, faculty, alumni and the industry as a whole will be felt for years to come.
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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has named Jaré Allocco Allen to the position of University Controller. In addition to ensuring the university’s fiscal practices and policies comply with federal, state and local regulations, Allocco Allen will be responsible for Embry-Riddle’s accounting records, annual external audit and internal controls
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With a father who worked for Alaska Airlines, a mother who once served as a flight attendant, and a childhood lived in the shadow of Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport, it’s safe to say that aviation was in the blood for Brian O’Dwyer. O’Dwyer, who now serves as an adjunct professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Asia campus based in Singapore, has a long history in all facets of the aviation industry.
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In Jill Brown’s professional life, she’s involved in high-level projects related to the Federal Aviation Administration’s much-anticipated sUAS policies. Her fascination with unmanned systems also extends to her personal life as a student in Embry-Riddle Worldwide’s Master of Science in Unmanned Systems.
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Being part of the next generation of developers who will help connect the world brought Embry-Riddle student Courtney Thurston to the F8 Facebook Developer Conference in San Francisco earlier this month. During the conference, Thurston, a Computer Engineering freshman, had the opportunity to see Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg deliver a keynote address in which he unveiled the social networking company’s 10-year roadmap.
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Rob Williams considers himself a lifelong learner. He’s earned two associate degrees, a bachelor’s degree and Lean 6 Sigma Green Belt and Associate Safety Professional certifications. The 42-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran is now pursuing a Master of Science in Leadership at Embry-Riddle Worldwide and was recently named as a volunteer examiner for the prestigious Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.
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Prescott AFROTC student Serafino Bohrer-Padavos has received the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME)​ Award for the Southwest region. The SAME ROTC Award of Merit is a bronze medal with bronze key replica, authorized in 1948 to be awarded annually to outstanding junior and senior engineering students in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).
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At 90 years old, Magda Herzberger is one of the few remaining survivors of the Holocaust. Sponsored by the College of Security and Intelligence, Ms. Herzberger recently visited the Prescott Campus to deliver her powerful yet inspiring story. "What a privilege it was to have her on our campus," said Chancellor Dr. Frank Ayers.​ Ms. Herzberger is a distinguished poet, lecturer, composer and author of several books, including Survival, ​the compelling autobiography of her childhood and suffering in three Nazi death camps during World War II. Check out photos from the event.
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Dr. Daryl Watkins will become the interim dean of Worldwide’s College of Business effective Friday, March 18. He assumes the role from Dr. Bobby McMasters, who acted as interim dean for the past 14 months and will return to full-time teaching. “We’re grateful for Dr. McMasters’ service to the college and Worldwide during this transition,” said Chancellor Dr. Brad Sims. “I'm confident Dr. Watkins will continue the successful momentum the college has had as we move closer to selecting a permanent dean.” Dr. Watkins previously chaired Worldwide's Department of Leadership and has served as an assistant professor since 2010. He was an F/A 18 fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, resigning after 13 years of service. He went on to work in the high technology and transportation and tolling industries in California. Dr. Watkins has also managed organizational change initiatives and information technology projects during his career. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he earned an MBA from the University of California at Irvine and a Doctorate of Management in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. The search for a permanent dean is underway, and a selection is anticipated later this year.
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Aerospace Engineering senior Ethan Higgins is one of only 75 participants nationwide selected for the 2016-2017 Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) for Young Professionals. This fellowship will allow Higgins to study in Germany for one full year. Higgins’ quest for this opportunity is one of perseverance.  
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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott Campus student Brett Ahola has been awarded the 2016 MD 500 Transition Training Scholarship by MD Helicopters Inc. The unique training opportunity has a value of approximately $10,000. The MD 500 is an advanced, turbine-powered helicopter that most students are not yet qualified to fly.
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To encourage a future generation of engineers during Engineers Week Feb. 21 -27, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University awarded five scholarships to prospective students who showed innovation and creativity in an engineering contest. By using household items, contestants constructed devices, structures and robotics that were displayed through social media. Each winner received a $1,000 scholarship to apply to any Embry-Riddle campus.
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After hosting Embry-Riddle students, faculty and staff for a Feb. 19-20 weekend of tours and networking events at its Savannah, Ga. headquarters, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation presented university officials with a $25,000 donation to help fund student co-ops and engineering projects. “Offering hands-on educational opportunities in a real-world setting is a priority for Gulfstream, and we gain great talent as a result,” said Mark Bennett, senior manager of Community Investment and Public Affairs at Gulfstream. “Our support of Embry-Riddle helps us promote student success and build the business aviation industry's future workforce.”
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Embry-Riddle’s Naval ROTC unit in Daytona Beach is flying high with the No. 1 and No. 3 ranked officer candidates in the nation – Midshipmen 1st Class William Orsborn and Adam Guy. NROTC midshipmen are ranked according to their grade point average, aptitude scores and physical fitness assessments. Ship selection is one of the most significant events in their lives as they take their first steps toward joining the U.S. Navy surface warfare officer community as Navy ensigns.
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When Heather Taylor began the Master of Science in Leadership at Embry-Riddle Worldwide, she needed flexibility to complete her degree from home while taking care of her newborn daughter.
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While financing your education can be a challenge, you may be surprised by the number of public and private aid programs available to students throughout the world. In addition to more traditional options like institutional scholarships and government aid programs, Embry-Riddle students may also qualify for awards from industry groups and associations. 
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After serving as an Unmanned Aircraft Systems team leader and pilot in the U.S. Army, Andrew Wentworth saw an opportunity to build a second career. He wanted to further his education in aviation, but traveling several weeks at a time for his job at a UAS manufacturing company posed a logistical problem. By earning his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics through Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus, the Dayton, Ohio, resident was able to juggle his career and education. Next month, Wentworth is the first student to earn a Master of Science in Unmanned Systems from the Worldwide Campus.
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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University alumnus Greg Feith (’96, Daytona Beach) was inducted as a member of the Living Legends of Aviation at the awards gala held Jan. 22 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Actor, pilot, and “Official Ambassador of Aviation” John Travolta hosted the 13th annual event. Feith is a former National Transportation Safety Board air safety expert who investigated more than 2,500 aviation accidents worldwide during his 36-year career. 
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While traveling to Germany 11 years ago, Dawn Elkins snapped a photo of her son and his great grandfather gazing at planes from the airport window. For Elkins the photo represents the love for aviation that spans through three generations of her family. Her grandfather was an airline mechanic for an airline carrier during World War II.
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Virtual reality is a valuable tool for simulating environments as NASA astronauts prepare for space missions. They also train underwater to get a feel for what it’s like to be in space. Two Embry-Riddle students are looking to merge those worlds. Human Factors students Nathan Sonnenfeld and Matt Meyers have used a 3-D printer in the Game-based Education & Advanced Research Simulations (GEARS) Lab to make a plastic headset that uses wireless technology to create virtual environments, similar to Oculus Rift goggles.
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Nicholas Damron fell in love with aviation as soon as he was exposed to it in the Army. But instead of being drawn to aircraft you get in to fly, Damron’s passion landed with unmanned systems instead. Now an Army-qualified operator for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and with over nine years of flight training and operational experience to include combat UAS operations, Damron is sharing his experience in “Read Before Flight,” a new book to help those looking to get into drones safely. He is also a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide.
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If you own a smartphone, odds are you’ve encountered that moment when your phone cord bites the dust after falling apart at the seams. For most of us, that frustration ends with a trip to the store and a new phone cord. For Wes Goulbourne, that just wasn’t enough.  Goulbourne, a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide, used his knowledge of manufacturing and business to create Snakable, a USB cable alternative to phone cords that has an advanced strain relief at the connectors to protect the cable from breaking.
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Centenarian Zalo Lopez-Garzón (‘42, MC) was one of the first international students at Embry-Riddle’s School of Aviation.
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Aviation Business major Jason Leslie traveled to Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach (Florida) Campus in the spring to be adventurous and to meet new people. He also took advantage of the opportunity to study next to a flight line. “I was always interested in being a pilot and am fascinated by planes,” he said. While Jason’s career goals have changed over time, he still looks forward to working in an aviation/airport environment like the one he studied in during his semester abroad in the United States.
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Ron Garan, former astronaut and Embry-Riddle graduate, shares his experiences from his 71 million mile journey through in his new book, “The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles.” While clamped to a robotic arm during a spacewalk to replace a 500-pound nitrogen tank, NASA astronaut Ron Garan peered down at the International Space Station and the swirling hues of the Earth spinning 240 miles below him.
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The aviation and aerospace industry is like the ideal small town. Everybody knows everybody else, and everybody’s happy to give you information – especially if you’re asking a pilot about her airplane. This lesson is one of many learned during Linda Shiner’s career. Working with helpful and cooperative sources is a blessing for journalists like Shiner, who has worked at Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine since 1987.
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Imagine having to tell a manager that he needed to personally pay a $30,000 hotel bill knowing the company no longer could reimburse him, or overseeing an employee whose spouse needed brain surgery and didn’t know if the employees at the bankrupt investment bank still had health insurance. These were very real situations faced by Dr. Linda M. Pittenger in her role as managing director and global head of human resources for technology at Lehman Brothers when the 158-year-old company went bankrupt in 2008.
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Whether in the military, civilian life or higher learning, Stefan Kleinke has always believed in diversification. “I like to fly, teach different things and stay current with my various qualifications,” Kleinke said. “Being diverse in the different aspects of aviation and aeronautics presents many opportunities for learning and employment."
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Conducting research in many varied fields is Dr. Soumia Ichoua’s passion. “I’ve always wanted to be a scholar, try to conduct research that has an impact and impacts students as an educator as much as I can,” said Dr. Ichoua, an Associate Professor and Director of Research for the College of Business at Embry-Riddle Worldwide. “I’m lucky to be in a field — Operations Research — that allows you to work on different real-world problems that are relevant to society.”
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In his role as Assistant Professor at Embry-Riddle Worldwide, Dr. Aman Gupta ensures that graduates of the Master of Logistics and Supply Chain Management program leave with the skills they need to be successful in their career. In his role as Program Chair, Dr. Gupta also ensures that graduates keep a little extra money in their pocket, thanks to a waiver he helped the program obtain.
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Location was a major factor for Josh Griffeth when he decided to pursue his bachelor’s degree. Having earned his airframe and powerplant (A&P) certification, Josh knew he wanted to pursue studies in aviation. He considered attending other schools but didn’t want to relocate. When Josh learned Embry-Riddle was coming to Rockford, Ill., the 27-year-old Winnebago resident said the choice was easy.
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With his methodical nature coupled with a deep curiosity about the world around him, Joe Bushnell is perfectly suited for a career in logistics — though he didn’t always know it himself. Instead, it was a Navy supervisor who noticed his natural aptitude for planning, and recruited the young soldier for his first job in the field.
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