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Student Spotlight: Jake Garella

Student athlete and pilot, Jake Garella, poses with a small airplane. 

Parks College student soars--literally and figuratively--in aviation science program and in collegiate baseball career.

Division 1 athletes notoriously have very strict and demanding schedules, from practices to workouts to travelling for games during the season.  Likewise, collegiate flight students spend a great deal of time at the airport, dedicated to their training in addition to their class schedule.  One Parks student has navigated the schedule demands of both pursuits, and found success in both his baseball and his flight careers.

One of the few student athletes in SLU’s flight program, Edwardsville, IL-native Jake Garella is a senior and finished his multi-engine commercial certification at Parks College this year.  Inspired by his father, who is a recreational pilot, Garella says his fascination with aviation began as a young child.  That interest brought him to pursue a flight career.  His favorite memory at Parks? His first solo in a Diamond DA-20 aircraft, completely in charge of the aircraft.

When he wasn’t at Hangar 8 for his flight blocks, Garella also excelled as one of Billiken Baseball’s strongest players.  His baseball career at SLU over the previous four years is full of accolades.  This March, he set a new career doubles record for SLU. In the 2019 season, he was named First-Team All-Conference in the Atlantic 10 and was twice named A-10 Player of the Week.  He will leave SLU having made a huge impact in the baseball program.

Up next for this graduate-to-be is completion of his Certified Flight Instructor certification and taking an instructing job this summer.  Long term, he hopes to work his way up to becoming a major airlines pilot.  Based on his track record, we can expect him to reach those goals and more.

Check out the Fox 2 News story about Jake from March 2021.