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Embry-Riddle Women Dream of Aviation at WIA Conference
Prescott, Fla. , March 16, 2008
Embry-Riddle women were “California Dreamin’” at this year’s International Women in Aviation Conference, held March 13-15 in San Diego, Calif.
At least 80 students, alumni, faculty, and staff attended an alumni reception and panel discussion hosted by the university at the annual gathering, which attracted more than 3,000 women and men from all segments of the aviation industry.
“The conference is an excellent way to meet women in the field,” said student Allysha Telefson, a senior in aeronautical science and president of the Women in Aviation (WIA) Club at the Prescott, Ariz., campus. The campus in Daytona Beach, Fla., also has a chapter of the club.
It’s also a great time to learn about career opportunities, Tellefson adds. “I got an Alaska Airlines internship last summer from the 2007 conference. This year, I spoke with representatives of Cape Air about a job with them. Last year’s president, Kaitlin Crain, got a job with Globaljets in Scottsdale, Ariz., through the conference, as well.”
The conference featured dozens of sessions and panels on tactics and strategies for successful careers in aviation.
Alumni Bonfire on Beach Megan Simoneaux, another WIA club member at Prescott, said attending one of the sessions, a panel made up of airline pilots and corporate pilots, helped her decide to go the airline route in her career. She now aims to get a job as a pilot for a regional airline.
“Information flowed freely at the conference, from the panelists to the people in the audience,” said MaryLee Brewer, director of alumni relations at the Prescott campus. “Students asked questions about advancing their careers, and some panelists invited students to contact them about their careers and choices.”
One of the most popular sessions featured members of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs), who served in World War II. One is now 90.
“The WASPs are so spunky,” Simoneaux said. “I can’t think of a better word for it. You feed off their personalities. It seems like there’s no walls around what they do. All of my problems are no big deal compared to what they’ve accomplished.”
“The conference gives you a big kick of motivation,” said Simoneaux, who has attended for three years. “There’s a lot of energy there. To be with hundreds of women, you don’t feel so alone. I could see past the stage I’m in now to where I’m going.”
“It’s always a joy to see an entire hotel filled with female aviators,” said Tellefson, who also has gone for the past three years. “Seeing four female airline pilots walking side by side at the conference is common. The conference is an inspiration to me every year to keep pursuing a career in aviation.”
Among the attendees were Embry-Riddle alumni Katherine Wood, Susan Karkman, and Jesse Clark. A panel discussion sponsored by the university featured remarks by Norval Pohl, chancellor of the Prescott campus, and Jackie Luedtke, dean of the College of Aviation at Prescott. Staff from the alumni relations and development offices at the Prescott and Daytona Beach, Fla., campuses also attended the conference.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master's and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit http://www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.