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Parks College Celebrates Girls in Aviation Week 2021

CFI demonstrates how algebra is used in flight training during Girls in Aviation virtual session.

SLU Certified Flight Instructor, Dave Chilenski, leads a class of Algebra 1 students in an exercise applying algebra equations to cross country planning.

Between September 27-October 1, the Department of Aviation Science at Parks College hosted a series of virtual visits with high school classes in the St. Louis area to promote the opportunities and careers in the aviation industry.

Since 2018, Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, in partnership with Women in Aviation, International, has hosted Girls in Aviation Day events that introduce young women to the careers and opportunities available in the aviation industry. In the first two years of the event, more than 100 area high school students traveled to SLU’s Center for Aviation Science and spent the day meeting with dozens of industry partners, taking flights in simulators, exploring static aircraft displays and enjoying lunch with a keynote address.  In 2020, the event was moved to a webinar format and students and classes from across the country logged in for a young women in aviation panel, career exploration sessions, keynote addresses and a virtual discovery flight.

This year, given continued public health guidance, SLU’s Parks College and the Department of Aviation Science offered individualized virtual visits for high school classes the week of September 27 - October 1, honoring the spirit of Girls in Aviation Day with a week of virtual visit opportunities for high school students. Teachers signed up their classes for one-hour sessions with faculty, certified flight instructors and current students. They were then able to select which elements of the visit they would like included in their session.  Throughout the week, high school classes logged in for hangar tours, aircraft pre-flight lessons, Q&A sessions with current SLU students, cross country planning lessons, and career exploration sessions. 

Grace Kane, a senior flight science student and current president of SLU’s Women in Aviation Chapter led hangar tours and participated in current student panels during multiple visits.

Kane said of the visits, “Girls in Aviation Day helped me realize just a few years ago that the sky is literally the limit and it was so meaningful for me to be a part of this inspiring event that exposes high school students to aviation and encourages them to pursue their passions. In a field that isn't traditional for women, by listening to females that have paved their way and persevered in the industry, we are hopeful that these young girls walked away with the confidence to visualize themselves in the aviation industry and pave their own path.”

The virtual format of the sessions during Girls in Aviation Week allowed for SLU faculty, staff and students to interact with high school students in new ways. Through Zoom, Parks College and the Department of Aviation Science was able to bring the hangar and flight operations into high school classrooms. 

The classes that participated in the visits ranged from freshman algebra to aerospace engineering courses from local high schools. These events reached nearly 100 high school-aged students during the virtual visit sessions.  

To learn more about Girls in Aviation or opportunities to participate in future events, contact Amy Preis at Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at amy.preis@slu.edu.

Learn more about Women in Aviation International.