What were your responsibilities? What projects did you work on while completing your internship/co-op at Flight Safety Foundation?
I was primarily hired to help develop a methodology for a project being completed for the FAA. The project is a global assessment to determine the capability of states and regions to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and achieve the International Civil Aviation Organization’s goal of zero accidents by 2030. My main contribution to the FAA project was to help identify potential resources to be used for the assessment and conduct preliminary research, presented in a spreadsheet, on accidents, accident rates, and other ICAO metrics (including State Safety Programme implementation percentages, number of IOSA certified operators, FAA IASA category, and State Safety Concerns) to provide an overview of aviation safety within a region. I also helped construct PowerPoint presentations for a webinar series and answered participant’s questions during the live webinars. The project I most enjoyed completing, however, was the development and construction of a survey to determine the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on international aviation professionals. Since I have been working as a flight attendant for over 9 years, I was able to provide detailed insight into the job’s requirements and challenges.
What advice do you have for students interested in obtaining an internship/co-op?
Take advantage of all the help ERAU offers. Career Services is there to help you build a strong resume and many of your classes have already prepared you for the interview process and the tasks that will need to be accomplished during your internship (research, spreadsheets, presentations, case studies, etc.). Research the company you are interested in working for and apply to those whose mission statement aligns with your passion and career goals. Do not hesitate to ask for additional guidance or advice from your professors. They are invaluable tools to help you succeed.
What are your career aspirations, and have they changed since you completed your internship/co-op?
I have been in the aviation industry as a flight attendant for almost 10 years. The Flight Safety Foundation internship gave me a chance to have real work experience in a different area of the industry and expand my knowledge on aviation safety. It solidified my pursuit to become a pilot and aircraft accident investigator as I saw first-hand how an organization can affect change within an entire industry.
Please tell us about your learning experience, both professionally and personally. What are the benefits you will take away from these experiences?
With every class and assignment I complete, I feel I am one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a pilot and aircraft accident investigator. The internship experience has introduced me to aviation safety professionals and showed me the high level of collaboration among organizations in pursuing a safer industry. Working with these individuals has made me feel more secure in stepping onto an aircraft every time I fly because now I know and have met the people who are working daily to improve my safety. I have a deeper understanding of the “how” and “why” of the safety regulations I enforce as part of my job.
What was the most beneficial part of the internship/co-op?
Collaborating with aviation safety professionals and seeing how they do business. Everyone at Flight Safety Foundation was so helpful, kind, and understanding. They were more than happy to take the time to explain aviation safety concepts and teach me how all the international organizations work together towards the common purpose of eliminating aviation accidents by exchanging ideas and information. Since I completed the internship for academic credit, I am now also able to graduate an entire term early.
What skills came in handy and what skills did you develop?
All the research, writing assignments, case studies, PowerPoint presentations, and group projects helped me immensely to excel during the internship. I better developed and finely tuned my time management skills as I was handling two classes and my internship throughout two terms.
In what ways has your co-op/internship experience impacted your college experience?
It has taught me the importance of remaining unbiased when conducting research or presenting data. I also gained a better understanding of which organizations are the driving forces in aviation safety and have a larger pool of reliable sources to use for future assignments.
Do you think it was important to complete an internship/co-op?
Absolutely! It gave me first-hand knowledge and experience in a field I am interested in and helped me determine if Aviation Safety is something I want to continue pursuing. The internship also showed me the value of my education at ERAU. Everyone I met was very impressed that I was completing my Aeronautics degree at Embry-Riddle.
What would you say to students who are uncertain to complete an internship/co-op?
Go for it! Do not let fear or a lack of confidence in your work experience keep you from putting yourself out there. Your Embry-Riddle education has entirely prepared you to be a part of the workforce and many organizations out there are excited to give you wonderful opportunities because of it.