In fall 2015, Fray Holness ’20, began his first week at Vaughn College. He was a transfer student from Kingston, Jamaica, and was looking to expand his education to land a successful career in aviation management. Vaughn was his clear choice for many reasons, but when he experienced the welcoming atmosphere during orientation (known as “Welcome Week” at Vaughn), his decision was only validated.

What Attracted Holness to Vaughn?

Holness was always on the fast track with one clear focus in mind: aviation management. He earned his associate degree in air transportation management in Jamaica, moved to New York in 2015, and then quickly enrolled in the fall semester at Vaughn to earn a bachelor of science in aviation management.

“I found there were few institutions that offered a double major in my field,” Holness said. “Vaughn’s airport/airline management program meshed with my interests and was the perfect fit for me.”

He also moved into the on-campus residence hall to get the full Vaughn experience.

How New Student Orientation gets you on the right track

Whether you’re an international transfer student like Holness, or just starting out, Vaughn’s Orientation is designed to get students completely prepared to dive right in and have a successful first year. Orientation is an opportunity for new students to meet fellow classmates and new friends, as well as get personal time to ask Vaughn faculty and Academic Advisers any questions they have. It also takes care of all new student logistics such as building fall class schedules, tour the campus, and getting your official school ID and parking passes.

What Holness Got out of the Experience

As an international transfer student, Holness has a unique perspective on what prospective students should do during Orientation.

Here are his top two suggestions on how to get the most out of the experience:

  • Get involved and meet as many people as you can. Holness explains how Orientation was the perfect opportunity for him to seek out on-campus activities and clubs as a way to meet new people. “It’s a great way to promote a positive and inviting atmosphere on campus and bring students together,” Holness said.
  • Ask other students and academic advisors for tips. This Includes finding out what classes to take and what activities are available that could complement your education. “We are all here to learn, and every student is in the same boat navigating new waters,” Holness said. “Vaughn is a very welcoming campus, with students and faculty that are always willing to listen and offer advice. Never think you can do everything on your own.”

Achieving Success 

During Orientation, Holness quickly realized that the networking and job opportunities he’d be exposed to at Vaughn would be invaluable. He knew his degree would be the stepping stone he needed to meet his long-term career goal of designing and building airports. “Companies look to Vaughn to recruit its students, knowing they have all the necessary knowledge, education and training to succeed in whichever field they choose,” explained Holness.

As he enters his junior year, Holness says applying to Vaughn was the best decision he ever made. “Vaughn prepares us with the knowledge we need not just for now, but in the future.”

Two students from Vaughn College had the privilege of attending EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, held on July 24-31, 2016. The students, Paolo Adragna and Zoyla Martinez, were invited to this spectacular aviation event by Vaughn faculty and College administration, and were both in agreement that the experience was nothing less than exceptional. Adragna and Martinez are in their third year at Vaughn—majoring in Aircraft Operations and Airport/Airline Management, respectively. Although they are enrolled in different programs, both students revealed they had the same key takeaway from the event: job opportunity exposure for their future aviation careers.

What is EAA AirVenture Oshkosh?

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh was first launched in 1953 as part of the Milwaukee Air Pageant and, since then, has become one of the world’s largest air shows of its kind. This event is sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and attracts aviation enthusiasts in the fields of homemade flying craft, as well as designers of more serious craft and an expansive list of government agencies and companies involved in the aviation and aeronautics industries.

This year, more than 10,000 aircraft (including 2,855 show planes) arrived at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and surrounding airports in east-central Wisconsin. The event showcased almost 900 exhibitors and hosted over 1,000 forums and workshops that were attended by more than 75,000 people. Industry partners who were in attendance participated in over 70 news conferences and discussed how their new products and technologies will benefit the aviation community.

Adragna’s and Martinez’ Experience (Hint: They Loved It)

Adragna’s passion for airplanes started at an early age, as he always knew he wanted to become a pilot. After high school, he put himself on the fast track to begin earning his commercial pilot certificate at Vaughn. “The program typically takes one-to-two years to complete, but I decided to speed up the time frame so I can complete the program in five months and begin applying for jobs,” he said. Attending the career fair at AirVenture opened up several doors of opportunity for Adragna. “Although it was an amazing aviation experience seeing all the jumbo jets and aircraft, my favorite part of being at the event was networking with all the companies and hearing what type of experience I need to have on my resume to land a job,” he explained.

The exposure to meeting other prospects for job opportunities was priceless.

Just as you need pilots to fly the planes, you need an airport to land them in. That’s where Martinez’s interest in aviation management lies. “Running an airport is like running a small city,” said Martinez. She currently works for Air Mexico as a customer service agent at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and she says her job there is helping her gain the experience she needs to move up in the industry. “I met so many fascinating people at AirVenture,” Martinez said. “The exposure in meeting other prospects for job opportunities was priceless.” Martinez said her favorite part of the event was the night air show, where pilots performed exciting stunts as part of an aerobatics show. “I learned so much at the event,” she said. “It was so much more than just aircraft and aviation; it was an amazing opportunity to see and meet people from all walks of life, all within this growing industry.”

One-step Closer to Their Aviation Dream Jobs

Adragna and Martinez both agree that the technological innovation and advancements in aviation are amazing and will continue to be so in the future. As Vaughn students, they realize that every class, and experience like AirVenture OshKosh, will bring them one step closer to their dream job in aviation. “Hard work pays off,” said Adragna. “Vaughn is a great institution and I’m confident that my education here is a stepping stone to a successful future as a pilot. I hope to teach at Vaughn someday and give back to future students what my professors have given to me. To most people, the sky is the limit. To pilots, the sky is home.”

Interested in a career in aviation maintenance? Vaughn College invites you to register for one of our complimentary information sessions this month to learn more about this exciting field and discover how your earnings and advancement potential can soar in as little as 16 months.

Aviation Maintenance Information Sessions

We’ll be holding four information sessions on two days at two convenient times:

  • Thursday, August 11 and Monday, August 29
    • Morning at 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    • Evening at 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

What You’ll Experience:

  • Interactive aviation maintenance experiences and demonstrations
  • Personal tours of our labs and facilities
  • Interaction with our real-world aviation maintenance professors and instructors
  • Consultations with financial aid, admissions and Veterans Affairs representatives
  • Raffles/giveaways
  • Refreshments will be served

**Apply for Vaughn’s Aviation Training Institute during any of the Aviation Maintenance Information Sessions and we’ll waive the application fee.

 Why a Career in Aviation Maintenance May Be Right for You

  • Boeing® technical outlook forecasts the need for 609,000 aviation technicians between now and 2034.
  • Average salary for aircraft mechanics and service technicians is $67,010.
  • 98% of Vaughn graduates are employed or continue their education within one year.

Why Choosing Vaughn Can Take You Higher

Vaughn College excels on every level with credentials that stand out from the rest:

  • Instructors are professionals who are currently employed in the aviation industry
  • New, state-of-the-art training facility allows students to gain practical and interactive instruction
  • Connections to top employers such as Cessna Citation, JetBlue and Sikorsky
  • High FAA exam pass rate

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to learn more about a career in aviation maintenance!

Space is limited. Register today and be sure to reserve your spot. We look forward to meeting you and sharing the excitement of what could be the career you’ve been looking for.



Expecting Half-a-Million Visitors

Eyes around the world will be focused on Rio de Janeiro this month as the Brazilian city hosts the 2016 Summer Olympic games beginning today, August 5. With an estimated half-a-million visitors expected to land for the world-wide mega sporting event, the city’s only international airport known as Galeao has recently undergone a $2 billion renovation, transforming its infrastructure to handle the influx of flights, passenger traffic and to improve the visitor experience.

With the 2014 World Cup behind them, airport management realized there would be a greater aviation challenge in preparing for the 2016 Olympic games with the significant increase in commercial and charter flights as well as receiving more heads of state. Galeao airport is the fourth busiest airport in South America handling over 14.5 million passengers annually (or about 40,000 passengers on an average day). With that number expected to reach over 90,000 on some days throughout the games, management has instituted specific operating plans to ensure the best possible experience for both airport personnel and worldwide visitors.

What is Al Graser’s take?

Al Graser, an adjunct professor who teaches airport and operations management at Vaughn College, shared his insight on the renovations, advancements and improvements at Galeao. With 40 years of experience at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and his stellar reputation as general manager at New York’s La Guardia and John F. Kennedy (JFK) international airports, Graser is well versed in all aspects of aviation operations.

Brazil put forth a major effort to prepare for the 2016 Olympic games,” said Graser. “It appears this type of investment will ensure the security, service and operations for all users of the airport during the Olympic games and into the future.

Exciting Enhancements

The vast renovations to Galeao have overturned the airport’s unfavorable ranking as one of the country’s worst airports. It has two terminals, with Terminal 2 receiving the majority of international flights. Terminal 2 is home to a new section that spans the length of almost 10 football fields and is equipped with 26 additional boarding bridges to ease the flow of passengers boarding and deplaning the aircraft. To make the experience even more enjoyable for visitors, Galeao doubled and modernized the duty-free shopping area in Terminal 2 with an additional 86,000 square feet, including 100 new shops and restaurants, while business travelers now have over 64,000 square feet of their own exclusive space devoted to lounges and executive areas. The airport also expanded their parking facilities and installed new X-ray scanners, elevators, moving walkways and 68 new check-in desks to facilitate a more seamless travel experience.

They’ve Got an App for That

To keep up with technology and meet passenger demand, 3,000 Bluetooth beacons and 500 Wi-Fi hot spots were installed throughout the airport. To make the Rio experience even more exciting and help facilitate a more enjoyable travel experience, Galeao is now the first airport in South America to offer its own indoor navigation app, called RIOgaleao. The app is available in English, Portuguese and Spanish and features real-time flight and arrival information to lessen the potential overcrowding around airport monitors. Users will not only enjoy the convenience of maps and routes to navigate the massive airport, but they can also find information on airport shops, restaurants and public transportation in the surrounding areas. Other useful features on the app include paying for parking and live chat support.

Automated Passport Process

With sporting enthusiasts traveling to Rio from all corners of the world, Galeao anticipated the immigration crunch and planned ahead by installing electronic eGates to automate the passport process. They even built a new Welcome Center in Terminal 2 with a friendly multi-lingual staff to provide visitors with city and transportation information.

More Room for Aircraft Parking

On the ground, the airport has increased its number of physical aircraft parking spaces. Galeao now has 97 certified, full-time parking spaces (24 of which are E-class), and has increased its capacity to receive business jets. With hundreds of heads of state expected to attend the games, the Galeao Air Base will receive head-of-state flights and will have the ability to handle three airplanes every 20 minutes. Security measures are in place at Galeao that allow business jets to land only between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. Rio’s domestic airport, Santos Dumont (which is located in the heart of downtown), will be operating 24 hours a day during the Olympic games allowing for an additional 180 business aviation flights during the hours between midnight and 6 a.m.

Increased Security for Visitors

Rio de Janeiro is currently on high-alert with a full-scale mobilization of military units which began late last month ahead of the Olympic games. Soldiers have been deployed to Galeao, the famous Copacabana Beach and throughout the city. The Brazilian government said it plans to mobilize more than 85,000 personnel including approximately 22,000 soldiers.