Capitol Experience: Internship puts her at the heart of aviation policy
The 32-year-old Boston resident is currently a customer service representative at Delta and pursuing her Master of Business Administration in Aviation through the Worldwide Campus. Her academic and professional journeys got a huge boost in 2023 when she started an internship with the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Aviation.
“It helped that I have taken many opportunities as they have presented themselves during my career in aviation,” Bedunah said when recounting how she earned the elite internship, which runs through the spring. “The staff director appreciated the fact that I have a genuine passion for aviation, and a willingness to learn how legislative policy is made. When a person like me wears their heart on their sleeve for aviation as I do, it is hard to be told no when requesting an opportunity.”
Fortunately for Bedunah, the answer was yes.
“This was an excellent opportunity to assist a student in contributing directly to the aviation industry,” remarked Rose Carlson, Associate Director of Worldwide Career Services. “Embry-Riddle strives to ensure that students are both academically and industry career-ready to perform at the highest level.”
Delta Air Lines employee and Worldwide student April Bedunah poses in front of a Delta A-330 decked out in Team USA colors.
This was the second yes from Embry-Riddle. Bedunah said she “had been aware of Embry-Riddle since first working in the aviation industry.”
She was told by an Eagle alumnus who flew as a Boeing 767 captain for FedEx that she could advance her career by getting her master’s through the Worldwide Campus, using the flexible online options that allow busy professionals such as Bedunah to learn on their own schedules. His suggestion was enough for her.
“It is well known in our industry that Embry-Riddle is among the top-rated aeronautical universities in the nation,” Bedunah said. “To me, the choice in higher education institutions was a clear and an easy decision. I was going to become an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Eagle.”
In addition to earning a respected degree crafted with industry needs in mind, Bedunah knew that the strength of the school’s 150,000-strong alumni network and the industry connections of its faculty and career services team would also pay off for her – and the internship is a prime example. So far, her work with the subcommittee has been everything she hoped.
“I have had the pleasure of coming up with solutions to problems that I see in the realm of general aviation, and I am learning how to write legislative policy that will be incorporated into the 2023 FAA Reauthorization Bill,” she said. “One of the most memorable experiences was sitting in the beautiful gallery of the House Chamber, as the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure were purposing legislation to address the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) situation [in the wake of the Jan. 11 computer issue.]”
Going forward, Bedunah is planning to build on her internship experience and leverage the strength of her degree to reach some very specific goals that are already in her sights.
“I want to become an executive at Delta,” she said. “I have gained priceless information from my professors and having this internship in Congress is incredible. I am networking with leaders of the world as well as in the aviation industry because of Embry-Riddle. I am learning so much about law making that one day I can see myself running to become a member of the House of Representatives.”
Bedunah believes that anyone looking to launch or boost their aviation career should connect with Embry-Riddle.“You will be learning from the best,” she said. “Everyone that I have met so far who is an Eagle is exceptionally bright and talented. Collectively, we will use knowledge gained from Embry-Riddle to help build a brighter and more robust aviation industry.”