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Parks College Hosts Virtual Aviation Camp for High Schoolers

Zoom screen shot of campers during the virtual aviation summer camp

Campers during the Virtual Aviation Exploration Experience

More than 30 students logged into Zoom last week for industry presenters, learning modules led by SLU faculty and CFIs, and small group work to explore the many career paths available in aviation.

From June 14-18, 2021, high school students from across the country and world logged in to Zoom for four hours each day to participate in SLU’s Virtual Aviation Exploration Experience, presented by Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology.  Together, the group of 32 campers and five camp counselors attended presentations from aviation industry professionals, academic lessons from SLU faculty and certified flight instructors (CFIs), and small group sessions with other campers to research potential aviation careers.

Each day, at least two industry professionals shared their career journeys.  Campers heard first-hand experiences from a variety of perspectives, including airport directors, transportation security inspectors, airfield fire and rescue, naval aviation, corporate aviation, air traffic control, and flight attending.  During each 30-minute session, professionals spoke about their careers, their job responsibilities, and how students may pursue a similar path before taking questions from campers. 

The week also included academic modules led by Parks faculty members and certified flight instructors.  From these daily modules, campers learned how to preflight an aircraft, plan a cross country flight and interview aircraft accident witnesses.  Additionally during these sessions, campers explored the business aviation model, aircraft accident investigation and the forces of flight.  

In the middle of each day, the camp presented a brown bag lunch series presented by Take Flight Girls, Inc, that brought in guest speakers focused on student and professional development to aid students in the transition from high school to college.  Campers were invited to grab their lunches and participate in these more informal sessions.  

Finally, a closing ceremony on Friday afternoon, presented by Diamond Aircraft Industries, concluded the camp week.  After hearing from Aviation Science Department Chair, Steve Magoc, and Interim Dean, Scott Duellman, Ph.D., campers broke into their groups and presented on aviation careers they’d spent the week researching. Presentation topics included aerospace engineering, corporate aviation, air traffic control and more.

Rising high school senior Juan Almanza joined the virtual camp from Chicago, Illinois. He said of the week, “I participated in SLU’s Aviation Experience Exploration hoping to learn the pathway to my dream pilot career. I learned that and more. In just one week, I was able to meet amazing presenters, made new friendships, and got to know the aviation field like never before.”

This is the first virtual aviation summer camp Parks College has hosted.  Steve Magoc, Aviation Science Department Chair, expressed thanks to the students who applied for and accepted a position in the camp.  He said, “These students chose to attend our virtual summer camp and dedicated time out of their summer schedules to spend four hours each day with us.  All of our summer camp students were very eager to learn about different aspects of the aviation industry and the academic programs that SLU has to offer them.  A good time was had by all of the participants.”

The camp was sponsored by Diamond Aircraft Industries, Take Flight Girls, Inc, and Republic Airways. 

Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology has a worldwide reputation for research-inspired, project-based education in engineering and aviation. Parks has a rich history of creating well-rounded leaders in engineering and aviation fields.

For more information: please contact Parks College Outreach Coordinator, Amy Preis, at amy.preis@slu.edu or visit slu.edu/parks.