Stacy Jeffrey is flying high. An aviation technology student from Kona, Hawaii, Stacy chose to trade sandy beaches for snow-capped mountains to attend UAA’s recognized aviation program.
When she was 12 years old, Stacy and her mom were taking a walk around their neighborhood when they passed by a home with beautiful French doors. She said to her mom, “When I’m an adult, I’m going to have a house with doors like that.” Her mom told her that she’d have to have money first, and that the person who owned the house was a pilot. “Well, I’m going to have to be a pilot, then,” Stacy said matter-of-factly.
She started thinking seriously about a career in aviation in high school. “You get to travel, you’re in charge of something–I like to be in charge–and being a pilot requires a lot of attention to detail,” said Stacy. “And eventually, you can make a lot of money… Someday I can get those French doors!”
Stacy started ground school during her senior year of high school, and took flight lessons after she earned her diploma. She got her private pilot license and instrument rating for single-engine land aircraft before coming to Alaska to further her education in the aviation field.
“Flying is a great challenge–there are a lot of things to think about–but I love it so much,” Stacy said. “Even if things aren’t going well on the ground, everything’s different up there.”
After considering flight programs in New York, Louisiana and Missouri, Stacy opted for Alaska because of its relative proximity to Hawaii and UAA’s excellent aviation program. As a resident of Hawaii, she also qualified for the Western Undergraduate Exchange tuition reduction program, making her college education much more affordable.
When she first arrived at UAA, Stacy enrolled in the aviation program’s professional piloting track, but quickly made the switch to management. Though her ultimate goal is to become a commercial pilot, Stacy is enjoying learning about the management side of the aviation industry. “I think it’ll help me become a better pilot and give me more options in my career,” she said. “It’s helped me learn more about the industry as a whole.”
Stacy speaks highly of her professors and credits them for many of her successes at UAA. “I absolutely love the aviation professors; they’re awesome,” she said. “Each one of them has influenced me in a different way. They’re all really knowledgeable and encouraging. If they don’t have the answer, they’re always willing to go and find it for you.”
Stacy is the proud recipient of the Delta Air Lines Aviation Business Management scholarship awarded through Women in Aviation International. The $5,000 scholarship will cover the cost of Stacy’s remaining tuition at UAA. As part of the award, Stacy attended the 22nd annual Women in Aviation International Conference held Feb. 24-26, 2011 in Reno, Nevada. Stacy explained that for many years women were not accepted in the aviation industry, but that is changing–more and more women are becoming pilots.
A student worker at the UAA/APU Consortium Library, Stacy will earn a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology with an emphasis in management in December 2011. Looking long-term, Stacy plans to become a commercial pilot and is exploring the option of an accelerated flight program after she earns her bachelor’s degree from UAA.
After she earns her commercial certificate, Stacy would eventually like to become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). She explained that being a CFI would allow her to get her necessary flight hours in, but would also be a great way for her to gain additional experience and knowledge.
Stacy believes that the aviation management education she’s received from UAA will give her a leg-up when she starts applying for jobs. “Everything I’ve learned in my classes is more than I expected,” she said. “The information that the professors provide is just phenomenal. I feel very lucky that I chose UAA–it has provided me with so much knowledge.”
One of Stacy’s favorite things about flying is being able to share the experience with others. She truly enjoys taking her friends and family up in the air with her. “I enjoy seeing the happiness and joy on their faces,” Stacy said. “It’s one of the best feelings in the world.”