On Thursday, March 18, the office of career services hosted an Aviation Professionals Panel featuring employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Port manages infrastructure essential to the New York/New Jersey region’s trade and transportation network.

The College has partnered with the organization in the past to offer a unique scholarship opportunity to incoming freshmen for the academic school year. This opportunity is part of the ongoing redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport and the city’s commitment to reinvesting in the communities that play host to the airport.

The partnership between the College and The Port comes at a crucial time where some of the surrounding neighborhoods around LaGuardia Airport have been the most impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scholarships provide local Queens students, a majority of which are first-generation Americans, with the ability to invest in their futures by pursuing a higher education at a leading STEM institution, cost-free. In addition to receiving paid internships while in college, students also have the opportunity to secure a full-time position with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey upon graduation. 

The panel introduced students to highly-trained professionals at the Port Authority. Among the panelists were: Otha Ward ’19, field supervisor; Andrea Welch, executive business manager; Colin Douglas, assistant manager of airport maintenance. Panelists answered questions from students and offered career advice and encouragement to students approaching graduation, highlighting both the resilience of the industry, the immense career opportunities offered by the organization and their personal experiences.