What made you decide to choose your specific major?
Having grown up in a family involved in the aviation business, being around airplanes was something I knew I always wanted to do. By the time high school arrived, I was already busily working on becoming a private pilot and started to look for programs to continue my flying education while attending a great university. Purdue fit that bill, and with the highly regarded industry reputation other aviators mentioned, I was sold on professional flight. After my fall of freshman year, I realized that I had an unmet desire to continue my learning in a whole new world that fascinated me, which was aeronautical engineering technology. With the amazing support of my professors, they encouraged me to check out the program in depth having seen my interest in their classes. Here I am now, double majoring in Professional Flight and AET at Purdue and have never looked back since.
What are a couple of your favorite things about your program of study?
On the AET side of my studies, I enjoy the hands-on experiences we get day-to-day working on real, flyable aircraft. The professors have all come from the industry and the stories they tell to teach us are invaluable. Some of the side topics such as being able to pursue specialization in non-destructive testing for aircraft is something you will not find elsewhere. On the flying side of my studies, Purdue’s well-run program and great fleet of modern aircraft means that I can pursue my goal of working as a professional pilot taking courses that will prepare me for the future of air transportation, and classes that will give me an edge over my future colleagues.
What has been one of your favorite class projects?
While taking AT278 which is non-destructive testing for aircraft/materials, one of the machines we use to assess the materials’ structural integrity is an ultrasonic machine. Not only was this a brand-new experience for me and something that most professionals do not ever get to learn, but being able to prepare for the NDT society of America’s practical exam to get a certification on it was something I will never forget.
What other activities are you involved in on campus?
Apart from being an ambassador over at the aviation campus for specific aviation tours, I enjoy playing tennis at a competitive level with Purdue’s club tennis team, which is a great way to meet many other students from all backgrounds. I am involved in the Purdue flight team, an organization that competes with other aviation schools around the country on events such as landing competitions and aircraft recognition quizzes. Lastly, I participate as an event chair in Alpha Eta Rho, a professional aviation fraternity that focuses on industry networking and connections, as well as giving college students of all aviation interests the opportunity to meet one another.
What do you know about your program of study now that you wish someone had told you when you were choosing a major?
When I was applying to college, I thought that was you were going to study was going to be your set-in- stone career path forever. What I quickly realized is college is the best time in your life to immerse yourself in many things and explore what you are truly excited about. I would tell others to do your research on the programs that Purdue offers, and what colleges within the university interests you the most. Within those colleges, the options for you to explore outside the boundaries of just your declared major will be the greatest, and had it not been for me doing exactly that, I would have not ended up where I am today.
What would be one piece of advice for prospective students or new Purdue students?
It can be easy to fall into the routine of daily life and only mingle with those in your major whom you are always around. Encourage yourself to join clubs or go to events where you might meet students of different interest, beliefs, or ideas that might challenge your own. Learn what air travel represents to the connection of cultures on a broader scale from an anthropology student here at Purdue, not just your technical knowledge. Apply into the honors college or join a club you may not directly identify with. Part of the benefit at such a large institution is the great diversity that comes with it, and part of our responsibility to get a well-rounded education is to learn all aspects about how our studies impact the world around us.