Pictured above by Hanna Frank: Aviation students examine opportunities in their prospective industry during a career conference Nov. 23.
Shelby Ray, Contributor
The Lewis University Department of Aviation and Transportation offered the opportunity for high school and college students to take part in the Aviation Career Conference on Nov. 23.
The conference started with breakfast and the landing of an American Eagle Regional Jet flown into the Lewis Airport.
After the landing, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) talked about his recognition in the United States House of Representatives of the school’s Aviation Department for winning the prestigious Loening Trophy. The congressman presented the aviation students and university officials with an official copy of his statement.
“Lewis University has seen significant growth in their aviation department over the past few years and has emerged as one of our nation’s preeminent programs,” said Lipinski. “This honor recognizes that Lewis continues to be a collegiate aviation leader in our nation.”
With more than 600 people in attendance, students had the chance to converse with 84 aviation professionals at the conference.
“I would say that at least 60 percent of our aviation professionals here today, graduated with an aviation degree from Lewis,” said Frank DuBois, director of aviation and transportation.
Adam Milnes, a 2010 Lewis graduate and a first officer for trans state airlines, took part in the conference because he wanted to show students that dreams can really happen.
“When I was a student at Lewis, I had the dream of being a pilot and now I’ve made that happen,” said Milnes. “I think that it is important for the students at the conference to see that their dreams of going into the aviation industry can really come true.”
Yana Meinert, a United Airlines flight attendant and a Lewis graduate student, attended the conference when she was a student. Now as a professional, she sees how important is it to come to the conference, so she can educate and converse with prospective aviation students.
“The conference is such a great tool for students to really connect with the aviation industry,” said Meinert. “I think it is so important for students to attend because so much can be learned for the professionals here.”
Lewis students in the aviation industry have seen an increase in job opportunities. Modest employment growth is expected as air travel gradually increases over the decade and as more travel takes place.
Job opportunities will be spread between both passenger and cargo airline companies.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of airline and commercial pilots is projected to grow 11 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.”
With the increase in employment possibilities, many high school students attended the conference to discover what aviation has to offer them.
Seth Severson, a high school student, took part in the conference to find future opportunities.
“Someday I would like to go into the aviation industry and this conference is giving me the opportunity to talk with people and to learn about college and job opportunities within aviation,” said Severson.
The conference taught both students and professionals more about the industry.
Students saw what aviation is all about, and professionals had the chance to see the future of aviation.