“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”- John Dewey, philosopher and psychologist
Where It All Began
It was third grade, and I’m playing four-square during recess holding the coveted “A” server square, when an airplane flies over. I take a moment to pause from serving to admire the magic of flight overhead.
It was here that I knew what I wanted to do in life and where my passion lied; a career where I would never have to work a single day, one of an airline pilot. Soon after that moment, my dad purchased my first remote controlled airplane. I was addicted, flying them year round.
However, that was not enough, I wanted to actually fly them. I went to my local airport, West Michigan Regional Airport, and took my discovery flight.
I was hooked, I still remember that flight clearly. However, my flight instructor explained the vast amount of studying and challenges I would face in acquiring my licenses to one day be an airline pilot – a challenge I happily accepted.
The Wright Stuff
Years later, I graduated from Western Michigan University majoring in Aviation Flight Science and joined the U.S. Navy. After Officer Candidate School graduation, I pursued my dreams of being an airline pilot, and interviewed at Envoy Air, where I acquired a Cadet Instructor position teaching individuals the principles of flight.
The Cadet Program afforded me the chance to experience what so many of my professors had the ability to watch someone grow. I learned that teachers who love teaching, teach individuals to love learning.
My job caused me to gain a new passion in life – a passion for teaching. I learned that a great teacher’s passion for the subject gets their students curious about the subject material and generates enthusiasm in the classroom.
That affects the students’ performance, and drives their success. As a flight instructor, I loved the opportunity to challenge my students and push them to be the best pilot they can be.
Attitude is Everything
During flight instructing, I observed that student performance is greatly altered by the instructor’s assessment of the student’s ability. If the instructor thinks that the student has the aptitude and skill, the belief will become reality.
A good instructor needs all of these skills. An instructor that knows a lot but has poor communication skills will have a hard time conveying knowledge to their students.
As a flight instructor, I begin by figuring out my student’s hobbies and what he or she enjoys. This allows me to tailor the information in ways they will easily understand.
As a pilot and a teacher, I knew I should never stop learning no matter what. In an effort to provide the best instruction and knowledge to my students, I acquired my Master of Science in Aeronautics, double majoring in Aeronautics and Human Factors in Aviation Systems.
I am currently working on a second master’s degree with a double major, and I plan to pursue a PhD in General Psychology, specializing in Cognitive Science, Human Factors and Human Performance in Aviation Systems.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”- Nelson Mandela
Life at Envoy
At Envoy Air, I now work as a Check Airman. With my position, I’m afforded the opportunity to help new hires become prepared, successful, and safe airline pilots.
Along with being a Check Airman, I’m also an ALPA Mentor and volunteer with the Education Committee. It is through these programs that I’m able to help pilots with situations and questions that arise from day-to-day operations and life challenges, as well as spread the love for flight through pilot educational programs.
My career provides me great satisfaction from how I am able to connect the world, and get passengers to where they need to be safely. I love hearing from flight attendants and ground personnel that they are following their dream and starting their flight lessons — it is never too late to pursue any passion, whether it’s teaching, flying, starting your own business or going back to school.
“Do or do not. There is no try”- Yoda