Annika Knott

Annika Knott
Professional Flight & Aviation Management

What made you decide to choose your specific major?

Thanks to my mother’s career as a flight attendant for United, I was very fortunate to be exposed to free (standby) flights from a very young age. I fell in love with this unconventional way of traveling and knew I wanted to be a part of the aviation industry when I was older. In my hometown of San Diego, CA, I started taking flight lessons at age 14. I attended Girls in Aviation Day at the San Diego International Airport as a senior in high school, and after meeting several empowering female pilots and learning about their experiences, I knew that I wanted to be one of them. Purdue’s Professional Flight Technology program seemed to have everything I was looking for and more, so choosing a university was not difficult for me. Once I got to Purdue, I decided to double major in Aviation Management to build on the information learned in my flight courses, effectively broadening my industry knowledge.

What are a couple of your favorite things about your program of study?

One of my favorite things about my majors, the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, and Polytechnic Institute as a whole, is the strong sense of community. I am surrounded by passionate peers, instructors, and professors who motivate me to do my best and I feel supported by the professional and academic resources that are available. Another thing that has been very rewarding during my time at Purdue is the tangible expansion of my skill set as both a student and pilot. Flight students have access to a modern, well-maintained fleet of aircraft as well as courses that will prepare them for the future in an ever-changing industry.

What has been one of your favorite class projects?

One of my most memorable class projects was an Airline Simulation Group Project in AT 252 (Aviation Projects), one of the first Aviation Management courses I took at Purdue. Over the span of a couple months, I worked in a team and used a web simulation to start an airline from the ground up. We learned about a variety of factors that contribute to the success of an airline, such as fleet expansion, route planning, staff and customer satisfaction, environmental considerations, investment portfolios, and perhaps most importantly, teamwork. By the end of the project I felt immersed in a whole new side of aviation and thoroughly impressed with my group’s ability to work together and accomplish our goals.

What other activities are you involved in on campus?

I am a member of a few aviation related clubs on campus– Purdue Professional Pilots and Women in Aviation– and I am on the Executive Board of Purdue’s chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). I am also in Purdue’s Honors College and I serve as a Mentor for first-year Honors students, guiding them through project-based coursework and supporting them through their transition to college. As an out-of-state student moving across the country during the pandemic, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals through Greek life. I hold an Executive position and also play intramural sports through my sorority, Phi Mu. These involvements have helped shape my college experience outside of the classroom and are part of the reason why I love Purdue!

What do you know about your program of study now that you wish someone had told you when you were choosing a major?

Purdue’s flight program is very well-structured and has an impressive industry-wide reputation. Purdue also allows you to start taking major-specific classes and explore the discipline that you feel passionate about in your very first semester. With that being said, one thing I would have liked to hear before attending is that as a flight student, Purdue may set you up for success, but your career beyond graduation will not build itself. As you expand upon your knowledge base, it is important that you take initiative, putting time and work into keeping up with the covered material outside of class.

What would be one piece of advice for prospective students or new Purdue students?

My biggest piece of advice for prospective or incoming students is to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. You’ll get out of it what you put into it! Purdue has a seemingly endless list of ways to get involved (Boiler Gold Rush, learning communities, sports games, student-run clubs and organizations, fitness classes, career fairs...), so do your best to take advantage of them. Academics should obviously be a priority, but at the end of your time at Purdue, what you’ll remember most are the friendships, connections, and memories made.