September 29, 2006

Aviation program to host Chicago-area students

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Aviation Career Day, set for Saturday, Oct. 7, will expose 108 high school and community college students from the northern part of the state to one of the nation's premier aviation programs.

This is the 15th aviation career day, and the event is a continuing venture with American Airlines. Participating students will fly from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to learn more about SIUC's programs. David A. NewMyer, chair of SIUC's Department of Aviation Management and Flight, said he is not aware of a similar career-day collaboration between a university and a major airline.


Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers or news crews in the Chicago area interested in accompanying students to SIUC´s Aviation Career Day on Saturday, Oct. 7, should contact David A. NewMyer or Lori Robertson at 618/453-8898. Limited seating is available. Reporters and photographers in Southern Illinois are welcome to attend the event and interview students, faculty and American Airlines personnel.


Last year, every seat in the 136-seat plane was filled, including 20 volunteers from American Airlines, many with SIUC aviation backgrounds, NewMyer said.

This year's event also coincides with SIUC's Homecoming weekend. NewMyer anticipates the College of Applied Sciences and Arts will recognize the aviation alums making this trip during festivities in the college's tent.

Students, along with parents, teachers and chaperones, will depart from Chicago aboard an American Airlines MD-80 at 8 a.m. and arrive about 40 minutes later at Southern Illinois Airport, between Carbondale and Murphysboro.

There, students will tour the aviation program's facilities, receive introductory flights on flight training airplanes and participate in aviation career seminars. The students will then bus to Carbondale to tour the main campus and hear from American Airlines personnel – who also are SIUC aviation program graduates – about their jobs and career opportunities in aviation management and flight, and aviation technologies.

Students who are attending expressed interest in aviation careers to school counselors or contacted SIUC.

Providing a high-quality undergraduate education is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

NewMyer again anticipates that between 15 and 20 volunteer American Airlines employees – including several program alums – will be on the flight piloted by SIUC alum Captain Steve Brainerd.

NewMyer wants prospective students to meet alumni "who are excited about working in the field and I want them to see that excitement first-hand."

"There is a reason why people love to work in aviation; part of it is teamwork and part of it is the excitement of going up in the air every day. I think they will get a sense of that from the day," NewMyer said.

NewMyer appreciates the work that American Airlines and employees put in to making the day possible.

"We are very proud of our relationship with American Airlines — not only are they the No. 1 airline, they are a very professional organization," he said. "For them to do this is a great value added for our future students."

Jay Rud, one of American Airlines' three chief pilots at O'Hare, will also be on the flight. He is a 1983 SIUC graduate in aviation flight and aviation maintenance, served as College of Applied Sciences and Arts commencement speaker in May and received the college's Alumni Achievement Award.

"There are a lot of high school students with interests in the aviation field but don't really know the options available to them or even have the resources available to make career decisions," Rud said. "This trip offers them a chance to view the aviation programs and talk to the students who are enrolled in these programs."

The aviation alumni who also participate in the trip are a "valuable resource" whom students can "query on the educational path the alumni took," Rud said.

The itinerary for the day is:

  • 5:30-6:30 a.m. —Check-in at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, American Airlines terminal.
  • 8 a.m. — Depart for Carbondale.
  • 8:45-9 a.m. — Arrive at Carbondale.
  • 9:15 a.m. — Group photo at planeside.
  • 9:45 a.m.-noon — Airport tours, introductory flights and lunch.
  • 12:45 a.m.-2 p.m. — Aviation careers briefing; briefing on SIUC.
  • 2-3 p.m. – Tour of SIUC campus.
  • 3:15 p.m. — Buses depart for Southern Illinois Airport.
  • 3:30 p.m. — Check-in and passenger security screenings.
  • 5 p.m. — Return flight arrives at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Students from these communities are among those expected to attend:


Addison, Algonquin, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Bartlett, Bolingbrook, Calumet City, Cary, Chicago, Crete, DeKalb, Des Plaines, Downers Grove, DuPage, East Dundee, Elburn, Elgin, Elk Grove, Elmhurst, Evergreen Park, Geneva, Glendale Heights, Glen Ellyn, Hampshire, Hanover Park, Johnsburg, Kirkland, Lake In The Hills, Lansing, Lemont, Libertyville, Lisle, Lockport, Lombard, Maple Park, Matteson, Millington, Mokena, Morris, Naperville, Northridge, Oak Brook, Oak Lawn, Oswego, Park Ridge, Pearl City, Rochelle, Roselle, Somonauk, Sterling, Sycamore, Tinley Park, University Park, Vernon Hills Lake, Warrenville, Western Springs, Woodstock, Yorkville,