A cloudless day with near-summer temperatures brought an inspired crowd to Vaughn College on Saturday for the first of the College's two fall admissions open houses.
With Thanksgiving but two weeks away, a standing-room-only crowd, the largest in the College's history, seemed to have an appetite for learning about Vaughn.
"I am looking at what I want to do after Queensborough Community College," said 19-year-old Brandon Bramble of Fresh Meadows. "If you go on the Vaughn website and see the simulators and the planes, it's very eye-catching."
Bramble and others arrived well in advance of the 9 a.m. kickoff of festivities. Most were local but some took advantage of Mother Nature's generosity and traveled from outside the metropolitan area.
"It was really worthwhile," said Henry Bash, a high school senior from Gainesville, Va., west of Washington D.C. "I've always wanted to do something in engineering related to airplanes and not a lot programs are available."
The day began with registration and breakfast, after which the crowd was welcomed by Vice President of Enrollment Services Ernie Shepelsky and Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Sharon Devivo.
Information sessions in five undergraduate academic concentrations followed before a series of "Ultimate Open House Experiences" showcased some of the College's other possibilities.
In between, guests gathered in the hangar area for snacks and a raffle for prizes that included an iPod Touch, an Auto Cad student education program and a flying lesson.
Vaughn faculty opened eyes when they asked students to consider future career possibilities. Few in the Aircraft Operations academic session, for example, knew that there are more than 150 airports in the metropolitan area, or that aviation job opportunities extend beyond large commercial carriers to areas such as law enforcement, agriculture, photography and even fishing.
"When we think about aviation, it's more than just Delta Air Lines," Aircraft Operations professor Dr. Vincent Driscoll said.
In the Engineering academic session, faculty offered up some common-sense tips for students interested in mechatronics, mechanical or electronic engineering technology, animation and digital technology. Know your math, they said, but remember, what you don't know can be learned.
"Math is the key if you plan to go into an engineering program," associate professor Khalid Mouaouya said. "You want to learn it the right way. If you have a positive attitude you can do it."
Vaughn's open house attracted potential students from as far away as Virginia.