The Vaughn College Management Department hosted Women Exceeding Barriers, an open panel discussion on Thursday, October 26. The six panelists were prominent women in the aviation industry including pilots, managers, and educators. Each guest spoke on challenges that women can face in a male dominated industry, as well as their success stories and professional journeys.

Guest speakers included Olga Custudio, retired United States Air Force lieutenant colonel and retired American Airlines captain; Lillian Dukes, former vice president of Spirit Aerosystems; Erin Egan, New York Police Department detective and pilot; Dr. Maxine Lubner, chair and professor of the Vaughn College management department; Lysa Scully, general manager at LaGuardia Airport and Vaughn College President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo. Current members and personnel from the management department industry advisory board, and transportation security administration (TSA) were also in attendance.

“One of our main objectives was to generate an interest in the aviation and airport/airline management industries,” said Morgan Stewart, administrative assistant in the management department. “Interactions such as these allow our students who are seeking employment to network with the panelists and guests, and get a better understanding of the industries they’ll enter after graduation.”

Following the discussion, the panelists held a networking session with guests and attendees, where students continued conversations and gleaned more information about the aviation industry from the professionals.

“My best advice is ‘don’t let anything stop you from doing what you want to do,’” said Detective Erin Egan of the NYPD Aviation Unit. “Deal with it, grow from it and keep moving forward.”