"Since I graduated I obtained a position with the FAA as an air traffic control specialist. I use things I learned at CBU all the time. My experience there was unforgettable and helped shape who I am."
Program: B.S. in Aviation Management
Graduation Year: 2016
Current Job Title: Air Traffic Control Specialist at FAA
Hometown: Vacaville, CA
Current City: Boise, ID
Life at CBU
Why did you choose your major? What interested you in this particular field of study?
Aviation as a whole has always been interesting to me. I lived right near Travis AFB so naturally I grew up going to air shows and visiting aircraft museums. I went to CBU initially on a soccer scholarship and that was all I cared about. Once I realized CBU was starting an aviation program my sophomore year I knew I wanted to see what it was all about. I interviewed Dr. Prather for a different class and he ended up selling me on the endless opportunities in the aviation industry as a whole.
What did you like about being in this program at CBU?
One of the best parts about being in the aviation program at CBU was the tight-knit family feel the program has. Dr. Prather was always accessible and willing to meet with me and encourage me. He gave me countless opportunities to broaden my knowledge and even hired me to assist with his consulting work with the Transportation Research Board.
What did you think about your professors?
The professors were phenomenal. Each and every one of them made a conscious effort to make us feel like they cared about not only our success in the class but in the industry after college and our personal lives. They were all extremely personable, even the professors I didn't have classes with would go out of their way to talk to me and make me feel a part of the program.
Did you complete an internship?
I completed an internship in the summer between my junior and senior years. I worked at Alpine Aviation in Grass Valley, CA. The internship included maintenance work on various types of aircraft, pre-flight all aircraft each morning, scheduling charters, and editing FAA certified maintenance manuals. It was a great experience learning how the charter, maintenance and management side of the business works. I also worked at the CBU Flight Ops front desk for a short time where I scheduled flight training and exploration flights, and occasionally washed the flight school aircraft.
Did you participate in anything else at CBU?
I participated on the CBU men’s soccer team from 2012 to 2015 until I got a career-ending back injury. The time I had on the team was some of the most memorable, challenging and fun I had while at CBU. I would recommend participating in intramural sports if you're not able to play on one of the varsity teams. Being involved with sports at CBU in any aspect is a must.
How did you grow (spiritually, socially, educationally) while in this program at CBU?
CBU helped me grow in many ways as a person. Spiritually, I was challenged by professors daily. One of the most influential people was John Montgomery. He led a small discipleship group that helped me grow exponentially. Another thing about CBU is the people you meet that become your best friends and challenge you spiritually. The education of course was challenging and taught me how to budget my time.
Did your major help you figure out your purpose?
Since I now work full time in the aviation industry, it has made me realize how much of what I learned from being in the program at CBU helped prepare me for my career. I probably would have never pursued this career field if not for the aviation department, Dr. Prather, Kim Roper, and the professors I had.
Life after CBU
What have you done since graduating?
Since I graduated I obtained a position with the FAA as an air traffic control specialist. While I was at the academy from November to February the washout rate was 50–70%. Out of the 18 students that started only 13 finished. It was a stressful few months but I became really good friends with the people in my class. We beat the odds that were heavily against us. It was one of the greatest feelings to complete something that stressful. Now that I am at my facility in Boise it has been incredibly difficult with the amount of information I've had to learn and apply on a daily basis. It can be stressful at times because of how much training is involved. I have been training since November and will be in training for another 2–3 years.
How has your major and time at CBU prepared you for your life and career after college?
The time at CBU had prepared me in the sense of realizing how important relationships are and learning how to get outside of myself.
Is there anything you learned at CBU that you still use in your professional life
Since I work in the aviation industry I use things I learned at CBU all the time. I talk to ops vehicles everyday and operate lighting panels that I learned about in my ops classes. All of the different acronyms I have memorized, I first learned in my college classes. I have to memorize FAA manuals and regulations that I was exposed to in college. The list goes on and on.
How are you making a difference in the world? How are you living your purpose?
I would like to think I am making a difference by being a hard worker no matter what the others around me may be doing. If I can be an example to the others by doing the right thing even when no one is watching or when others are not doing the right thing, I hope Christ can be seen through how I act on a daily basis even though I make mistakes constantly. The real world is pretty messed up at times and sometimes doing the right thing is much harder when faced with difficult situations on a daily basis.
Would you recommend CBU to others?
I highly recommend CBU to anyone and everyone. I loved my time there and wish I could do it all over again. The experience was unforgettable and helped shape who I am.