The dream of earning a college degree is becoming a reality for students, thanks to opportunity programs that include the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and the Collegiate Science and Technology Program (CSTEP), both of which are funded by the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Through a partnership with Vaughn College, these programs are giving New York State students a jump-start on their future—a futureproof education that begins at Vaughn.

This month, we are proud to share the amazing educational opportunities these programs offer and spotlight some of the success stories of Vaughn students who are pursuing their dreams because of these programs.

About HEOP

HEOP was designed for New York State residents who, without academic and financial support, might not be able to attend college. This program is an important part of life at Vaughn. The primary objective of HEOP is to help provide a broad range of services to help students enroll and succeed in college, which aligns with Vaughn’s mission and vision – to inspire a diverse community of students to achieve success with a transformational education that creates a lifetime of opportunity. Some of the academic and financial support services HEOP offers include the summer immersion program, tutorial services, counseling services and financial assistance.

Who is eligible for HEOP?

Individuals must meet certain criteria to be eligible for HEOP. These include:

  • Being a New York State resident for at least one year prior to enrolling in a post-secondary institution
  • Being a first-time freshman student
  • Being a graduate of an approved high school, or having obtained a high school equivalency diploma
  • Meeting the economic eligibility guidelines established by NYSED
  • Meeting the academic eligibility guidelines established by Vaughn College HEOP program

Vaughn students find success through hard work and HEOP

Vaughn is proud to be a part of the success of its students. Through hard work and the help of HEOP, students like Xylene DeCoteau ’20 and Zarin Tasnim ’21 are one step closer to living their dreams.

Xylene DeCoteau

In May 2020, Xylene DeCoteau received her bachelor’s degree in aircraft operations after an impressive academic career at Vaughn. While she was a student, she earned several licenses, which included her private pilot license (PPL), instrument rating (IR) and commercial pilot license (CPL) for both single and multi-engine aircraft. She has also earned her certified flight instructor airplane (CFIA) and certified flight instructor instrument (CFII) certificates, and she currently teaches and supports other students at Vaughn on a part-time basis.

“Everyone at Vaughn has supported my success, and I am happy and honored to have achieved so many of my goals. HEOP and hard work really made a difference. Plus, I get to fly and go to college at the same time. What can be better than that?”

Zarin Tasnim

Zarin Tasnim ’21 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in airport management. She overcame many cultural barriers, which included learning to speak English after having moved to New York from the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. After enrolling at Vaughn in 2017, the hard reality of not being able to afford the program forced her to begin the process of withdrawing from the College. HEOP provided Tasnim with the financial assistance she needed to remain a student at Vaughn.

“Without the support and guidance from HEOP and the Vaughn family, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Working as an airport manager will give me the experience that I need—right out of college—to help lay the groundwork for my future.”

Applying for Vaughn’s HEOP Program

If you are interested in applying for Vaughn’s HEOP program, you can start the process by sending an email to Melissa Teixeira at or Lauren Cajade at . They can help you determine if you are eligible and walk you through the various steps for admission.


CSTEP is intended to enable students to apply to college-level academic programs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Last fall, Vaughn implemented CSTEP to serve 100 students—at any given time and who are enrolled full-time—in a STEM-focused bachelor’s degree program. Like HEOP, CSTEP provides students with specific services related to the program. Depending on the student’s college level, the program will provide the following services to those enrolled:

  • Mentorship by professors at the College
  • Free gateway courses designed to increase student academic performance in fundamental courses
  • Supporting extracurricular activities, such as participation in student-led clubs and activities
  • Priority course registration for each semester the student is in CSTEP
  • Opportunities to participate in professional conferences, seminars and networking events
  • Opportunities to participate in career development events provided by the engineering department and the career services office
  • Eligibility to participate in the summer research program – a paid research program that is supported by CSTEP and Vaughn College under the supervision of faculty members
  • Participation in supplemental instructors’ program and tutoring services

Who is eligible for CSTEP?

The eligibility requirements for CSTEP differ from HEOP. A student who is eligible to be part of the CSTEP must be:

  • A New York State resident
  • In good academic standing (high school cumulative GPA of 3.0, or college cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher)
  • Enrolled full-time in an AAS or BS program in engineering or engineering technology at Vaughn

Additionally, the student must be one of the following historically underrepresented minority groups:

  • Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaskan Native


Applying for Vaughn’s CSTEP Program

If you meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in applying for the CSTEP program, fill out an application. For general inquiries about the program, please send an email to . For specific inquires or assistance, please reach out to Dr. Amir Elzawawy at or Cecelia Izzo at .

In summary, if you have your sights set on attending college – reach out to us and we can help you determine your eligibility for these programs and get you the support you need to achieve your dreams.

Are you looking for a fun and exciting way to spend your summer while preparing for a successful college career? Vaughn College is excited to announce a new six-week “Propel Forward Summer Institute” where students will learn to fly drones and prepare for a successful college experience in engineering and technology, management or aviation. You can even earn college credit and have a blast doing it. And the best part—the program is totally free!

About the program

The program was created to introduce high school students to drone technology and remote pilot operation while also providing extra support in mathematical skills to help them get on course for college success. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to explore the possibilities of a futureproof career in engineering and technology, management or aviation—all in a fun, engaging, in-person setting on Vaughn College’s campus in New York City. Please note that COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended in order to fully participate in the program.

Propelling your future to new heights

A career in engineering and technology, management or aviation can take your future to new heights. And what better time to start preparing for an exciting future than by spending this summer at Vaughn? You’ll experience college life on our state-of-the-art campus, which is steeped in aviation history and designed with the very best hands-on technology. Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll experience:

  • The program centers on drone technology, remote pilot operation and college-readiness skills with some brushing up on your math skills—which is an important part of being successful in any career.
  • Learn from top professors who have real-world experience in their fields, which will give you the inside track on career outlooks, industry know-how, current trends and the skills required for success in the field.

Your daily schedule

From Mondays through Thursdays, students will take their required classes, which will prepare them for a high-flying experience on Fridays. Students can return home on weekends. Here’s what you can expect:

Monday through Thursday—8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (academic classes)

Students will meet for breakfast at 8 a.m. All students will be taking the Drone Laws and Remote Pilot Certification course and one of three math courses offered to assist their career aspirations and to help them succeed in college. Evening activities will take place in Vaughn’s residence hall.

Friday—9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (activities day)

Students will meet for breakfast at 9 a.m. Then, let the fun begin! Students will practice flying drones, compete with fellow classmates and prepare for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exam. They will engage in instructional and fun activities that are centered on social skills, study habits and college life.

What you need to know

Who can attend?

Rising high school seniors and recent graduates who are 16 years of age or older.

Where is it located?

The program will be held on the Vaughn College campus, located in Flushing, New York. Students will stay in Vaughn’s residence hall for FREE Monday through Friday (meals included) and return home on weekends.

When does it happen?

The six-week program begins on Monday, July 12 and runs through Friday, August 20.

What is the cost?

All costs are covered!

Why is the program free?

Programs like this are funded by the Cares Act, along with grants from the United States Department of Education which have a goal of helping students whose education was impacted by the pandemic.

When is the deadline to register?

The registration deadline is July 2. Space is limited. Register today!

Signing up is easy! Here what you need to do:

  1. Show us how this program gets you excited about college and your future in aeronautics by posting a 30-45 second video on Facebook or Instagram that’s tagged @vaughncollege. Tell us all about why you want to be a part of Vaughn’s “Propel Forward Summer Institute.”
  2. Submit your application HERE. You can also send an email to if you have any additional questions.

This summer program can set you on a fast-track towards attending college and graduating with not only a degree, but a career in your field. We are so confident that you’ll achieve success and graduate with a futureproof career that we actually guarantee it.

Welcome to a special edition of the Vaughn College blog. As the world celebrates Pride Month throughout June, we’d like to connect our LGBTQ+ community with the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) – the largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender aviation professionals and enthusiasts from around the world. This organization provides resources, career connections, supplementary education, financial and networking support to LGBTQ+ aviation students and professionals. Here, we’ll dive into what the NGPA does, the various resources it offers and how you can get involved.

What is the NGPA?

Founded in 1990, this charity organization has built its membership by staying true to its mission to build, support and unite the global LGBTQ+ aviation community through education, social events, advocacy and outreach.

What the NGPA does

The NGPA encourages members of the LGBTQ+ community to start their careers as pilots by providing a place where they can pursue their passion for aviation and connect with like-minded professionals and students. The organization promotes aviation safety, addresses concerns regarding homophobia and provides a social and professional network for the LGBTQ+ aviation community. The NGPA accomplishes these goals through advocacy, inclusion training and by hosting special events, expositions, and webinars throughout the year.


The NGPA hosts several events every year including its Industry Expo, Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up and the Cape Cod Classic held in Provincetown, MA. The NGPA Industry Expo is the organization’s largest event and features keynote speakers, aviation products and services, and serves as a place for hundreds of ATP-qualified active pilots to seek employment. It has grown to be the second-largest annual pilot recruiting and aviation networking event in the United States, after the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. This is huge!

In addition to its annual gatherings and several local chapter events, the NGPA, like Vaughn, proudly participates in other national and worldwide events hosted by organizations including Women in Aviation International (WAI), the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) to name a few. Vaughn funds student travel and participation in industry events hosted by these organizations and many others.

Community and resources

The NGPA connects aviation enthusiasts, members of the military, women, families, flight schools and others. It is all about building a safe community. Those who choose to join the NGPA as members can receive counseling services, mentorship, access to jobs, podcasts, publications and more. The NGPA’s Advocacy Council is available to help anyone who has experienced discrimination in the industry, needs training or consultation on policies or procedures.

The NGPA also offers a student membership for $20 per year for a maximum of two years available to students enrolled in a full-time flight training program at a community college, university, or flight school. Some of the benefits include membership in the University Chapter, discounts to NGPA events, subscription to Contrails magazine, access to aeromedical resources and counseling, and access to job postings and forums.

The history of Pride Month and Pride Day

Pride month is celebrated around the world every June to acknowledge those who were involved in the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, New York. More recently, it has become a time when the LGBTQ+ community gathers to celebrate progress and spread awareness. Pride Day is celebrated on June 28 as the day when the first Pride march was held more than 50 years ago in New York City.

Vaughn proudly celebrates Pride Day and Month, and has a Gay-Straight Association (GSA) on campus which aims to create a safe and welcoming LGBTQ+ inclusive community for all students. The GSA is a student-led club that provides a supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students and their allies.

Scholarship opportunities

The cost of pursuing a career as a pilot can deter students from achieving their dreams. The NGPA can help. The organization gives thousands of dollars in scholarships every year to aspiring aviators. Support and memorial scholarships cover everything from private pilot’s licenses, aviation maintenance, technical and academic studies and advanced pilot training. The application window for summer 2021 scholarships will open on June 15, 2021 – we encourage you to apply!

There’s excitement in the air—literally. The aviation industry is seeing a comeback in commercial air travel as passengers are feeling more confident taking to the skies amidst the continuing rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. As air travel demand returns, airlines are starting to hire pilots again. Many are saying that domestic leisure travel has almost completely recovered at this point, after hitting an all-time low a year ago. Airlines are also promoting more pilots to captain and allowing them to bid on new positions to meet the demand. It’s an exciting time for the travel industry!

Domestic air travel comeback

According to Moody’s, an American credit ratings agency, the outlook for the global airline industry has been upgraded to “positive,” as this agency expects a strong rebound in U.S. domestic travel. To date, the countries leading the recovery are China, the United States and Australia. The business market, on the other hand, is seeing a slower recovery, since people continue to work remotely and are taking fewer business trips. Overall, the industry is adjusting and reevaluating their operations for a strong post-COVID-19 rebound.

Making connections

Pent-up travelers are expected to spread their wings this year and take long-awaited vacations to visit family, friends and popular tourism hot spots such as Florida, Hawaii and Las Vegas. This is good news for airport workers, security staff, air traffic controllers and maintenance technicians as more people are flowing through airports. The COVID-19 vaccine is proving to be an industry game changer, as it is giving people the comfort, security and safety to travel and venture out again. Airports have made safety a top priority.

Positive shifts for passengers

Slower business travel may mean greater perks for leisure travelers. Airlines are considering reconfiguring their cabins to make the business-class cabin area smaller and by improving the remaining space for premium-leisure passengers with the placement of premium-economy cabins. “The need for airport and aircraft layout designers has increased as a result of the pandemic, as airports are creating more outdoor spaces and airlines are making economy cabins larger,” said Dr. Maxine Lubner, Chair of the Management Department at Vaughn. “Our management programs are poised to prepare students for the changing demands of the industry.”

Vaughn programs continue to soar

For almost 90 years, aviation enthusiasts have flocked to Vaughn College to study the fields of aviation, engineering and management. As much as the industry has changed over the years, one thing has remained the same: Vaughn has adapted to the changes by offering new and cutting-edge coursework, programs and employment connections to meet industry demand. Vaughn’s faculty and staff have worked in the industries they teach, so they are deeply rooted and tuned in to industry and employer trends, especially as they’ve shifted throughout the pandemic.

Vaughn continues to educate, train and inspire future pilots, engineers and aviation professionals through its renowned bachelor’s, associate and certificate programs and experienced faculty. Vaughn’s aircraft operations and aeronautical sciences bachelor’s degrees are accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI).

Looking to advance your career in aviation management? Vaughn’s master’s in aviation management degree program gives mid-level professionals the ability to rise in the ranks at aviation-related organizations.

The post-COVID-19 comeback is one more reason why flight students have an edge in pursuing a futureproof career as a pilot. And with the ongoing pilot shortage that has left airlines waiting in the wings, there’s no better time than now for students to earn their degrees.

Are you seeking a career as a pilot? Vaughn College has the aviation program to help you earn your wings in this futureproof career. Looking to keep your feet on the ground? Check out the other aviation degree programs, along with our degrees in engineering and technology and management. Discover all that’s possible with an aviation degree from Vaughn. Apply today!