Prospective students and their families were welcomed today by the Vaughn College community at the first of two spring open houses. Audience members came from the tri-state area as well as California, Maryland and even Ecuador. Vincent Galarza was a flight attendant studying to be a pilot in his home country when he saw a sign for Vaughn on a recent visit to New York. He learned more about the College online and dropped by the open house.
Attendees spent time hearing about Vaughn, touring the newly renovated and soundproofed main building and the College's new location in Astoria. The revamped engineering laboratories and the simulator and air traffic control complex were popular destinations. Despite the limited view due to rain, the tower tours were also crowded as attendees gathered to watch planes taking off and landing at LaGuardia Airport while listening to the air traffic controllers.
"Vaughn's open house is unique because it allows for hands-on interactive experiences to show what it would truly be like to study here at the College," said Ernie Shepelsky, vice president of enrollment services who welcomed the crowd before turning it over to Vaughn's newly appointed President Dr. Sharon DeVivo.
Jorge Rojas traveled from Torrance, CA to hear about Vaughn and learn more about the airport and airline management bachelor's degree programs. He has had an interest in aviation, air traffic control and flying from the age of 13, since he first stepped into an air traffic control tower at one of the busiest airports in the US.
According to Rojas, "The experience was amazing and I was impressed by the people working in the tower and the technology they employed to bring order to chaos." During the summer of Rojas' sophomore year in high school he was offered an internship as a computer specialist with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Through this affiliation, he learned of Vaughn College and now hopes to come here in the fall. The proximity of New York City and the ability to experience the seasonal changes are a huge draw for him.
Others at the open house expressed interest in the engineering programs offered at Vaughn including senior Doriann Alaric from Staten Island and high school junior David Dequattro from Rhode Island. The Dequattros started their drive at 4:30 a.m. to make sure they arrived on time. According to David Sr., both were impressed with the friendly staff and current students they spoke with, and the unique mechatronic degree offering.
For those interested, Vaughn offered a special tour of the new Aviation Training Institute (ATI) building in Astoria. The building, and future home of the ATI program, includes a newly designed, 33,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility. It opened in January and houses classrooms, laboratories, lounge space and faculty offices to accommodate the growth of the ATI as well as accommodate the 65 percent growth in enrollment in the last five years.
Dr. DeVivo summed up the event by saying, "Today is the day to learn about Vaughn College and what we offer and determine if the College is the right fit for you. If you decide to attend Vaughn, we will do all we can to help you be successful in your studies and in future career endeavors."
Clockwise from left to r ight: California attendee Jorge Rojas; Associate Professor Andrew Kneissl addresses a crowd in Vaughn's flight simulator lab; ATI Associate Director Fred Parham shows a new lab in the ATI building; and Assistant Professor Mudassar Minhas illustrates a GPS navigation system.