By Gail Strickland, AIM Orlando Student Services Coordinator
On Friday, June 15, 2018, Luis Navas attended his exit ceremony at Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) Orlando. However, this was no ordinary event for him. Also, in attendance was his father, Gustavo Navas, who had graduated from AIM Orlando himself, almost exactly one year earlier, on June 11, 2017.
Utter pride showed on Gustavo’s face as he discussed what it meant for not only himself to have graduated, but his son, as well.
Luis Navas (left) and his father Gustavo (right) pose for a photo at Luis’s exit ceremony.
A Father’s Story
Prior to his time at AIM, Gustavo was working as an industrial mechanic in a Staples Warehouse. He wanted something different and better though. Gustavo has a cousin who works for Cessna and says that becoming an Aviation Maintenance Technician wasn’t on his mind until he received a tour of the Cessna hangar. It was then that he fell in love with aviation. He says that since he graduated, he has reached his goal of working for Cessna and that people now look at him with respect.
Gustavo encouraged his son to go into the aviation field because he wanted him to have a bright future and be successful. However, Luis had different goals for himself.
Like Father, Like Son…Eventually
Luis began attending Lake Sumter State College. After attending college for a time he felt like he was at a dead end and eventually dropped out. Upon leaving Lake Sumter, Luis worked at U-Haul as a hitch pro but quickly grew frustrated. It was performing an oil change that changed his mind about becoming a mechanic. He realized that he enjoyed working with mechanical things, then he took a tour of the same Cessna hangar his father had previously visited and recognized that it was a totally different world.
After the Cessna tour, he decided that this was what he wanted to do with his life – become an Aviation Maintenance Technician.
Almost exactly one year after his father began the program at AIM, Luis followed in his father’s footsteps and started school. The father and son duo didn’t have any classes together, until Gustavo’s last block, Reciprocating Engines, taught by AIM Orlando Instructor James Allman. Gustavo states that it took a push to get his Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Certification but, with support from Mr. Allman, he did it.
“The process is not hard, but you need passion,” says Luis. “That way, when challenges do come, you don’t feel intimidated, but can enjoy it.”
Gustavo wants to encourage future students to consider AIM and says, “In my opinion, this (AIM) is one of the highest quality schools in the industry.” Gustavo and Luis are both looking forward to working together in the aviation field.
Campus open houses are the time to experience how it feels to attend a certain college. It’s also the time to ask important questions since campus staff is available to assist you. While the amount of questions you could ask is endless, we’ve compiled questions you don’t want to forget to get the answers to when visiting an open house:
- What is your process of admission?
This question helps you assess your chances of getting admitted into the college based on your qualification details.
- What are your educational requirements?
- What do I need to succeed while at this campus?
Get an idea of the personal principles and values you need to do well at the college. This question also helps you evaluate the general attitude of the campus towards education and non-academic issues.
- What is the total cost of my tuition?
This could be a broad question, so break it down into sections you consider most important to you. Ask about the tuition fees and the types of payment plans offered. And don’t stop there. Go on to read any financial guide the campus gives you to ensure that you are ready to handle all the financial obligations.
- Are tools and books included in tuition?
- Does the program you’re interested in require a uniform? If so, is it included in tuition?
- Are there any scholarship programs available?
- Do you have financial aid programs for your students?
Most schools do and it’s important that you find out so you have the opportunity to access a form of extra financial support.
Questions about the Campus Environment
- What is the overall campus environment like?
Learn the “vibe” of the campus and it surrounding facilities to make sure that it is an environment that you can adapt to and will be comfortable in for a long period of time.
- What kind of social activities does your campus participate in?
Find out what types of events are held at the campus, if any. This could be a way for you to meet new friends and also network to find a connection for your career down the line.
Adult Learners- Support Questions
With more responsibility comes more questions. You may be presented with a different set of obstacles that require you to seek out additional support to make your education possible.
- Do you aid in job placement assistance?
- What counseling and guidance services do you offer to students? Are these services accessible?
- Is tutoring available?
- Is there a Student Center?
- Do you offer child care or have services nearby?
- Transportation is key. Do you have a ride share program or provide transportation services for students who don’t have a vehicle?
- What can career services help me with?
Be sure you ask the questions that are most important to you when attending an open house. Make the most out of this opportunity to get the information you need to help decide if the institution is right for you!
By Jul DeGeus
We’ve all had that one teacher. You know, the one that was so cool that we didn’t really consider them a teacher. I mean, yeah, we were learning from them, and all, but it didn’t feel like it was their “job” to teach us; they did it because they sincerely wanted to see us succeed. They wanted us to be who we wanted to be and would give us every tool they had at their disposal to help us to get there. We’ll never be able to thank that person properly, but in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day on May 9th, we’d like to thank some of our instructors who are making a difference in all that they do:
“At AIM Houston, Mr. Michael Riccardelli has been instrumental with providing his skills and expertise to our students. He has especially been an important influence on our A&P Skill Competition Team, the Houston Hawks, who recently placed first at the PAMA Olympics and 2nd at the Aerospace Maintenance Competition in Orlando. His hard work and dedication to our students at AIM Houston is imperative in the success of our Skills Team and all our graduates. AIM Houston would like to thank Mr. Riccardelli and all the AIM Houston faculty for the hard work they do every day. Every one of you is truly appreciated.”
– Aaron Armendariz, Campus Executive Director, AIM Houston
“Mr. Robert McRight was selected as AIM Orlando’s Instructor of the Year 2017 due to his professionalism, dedication and attention-to-detail; He raises the bar for excellence. His unselfish example exhibits him as a team player, which is always evident in his willingness to go above and beyond what is expected. The students that Mr. McRight taught consistently rated his professional and caring teaching style among the best they had received. The manner in which he conducts himself reflects total dedication to the mission of the school. He is most deserving of a job “well-done” recognition!”
-Jerry Moore, Campus Executive Director, AIM Orlando
AIM Kansas City
“Mr. Decker has been an instructor at AIM Kansas City for just over a year. In that short amount of time, he has had a great impact on the students. Mr. Decker once sat right where our students sat, as he is a graduate of AIM Kansas City. Mr. Decker creates a class environment that leads students into additional exploration of advanced subject matter above and beyond the standard curriculum. He won instructor of the year at AIM Kansas in his first year, and is always looking at ways to improve the campus. Keep up the great work Mr. Decker!”
-Adrian Rothrock, Campus Executive Director, AIM Kansas City
“Tom Oriole is the resident “helicopter guy” and one of our finest instructors at AIM Atlanta. Having received his A&P license in 1972, Tom has worked all over the world including Nuevo Leon, Mexico and Jiangxi Province, China. Tom joined the faculty at AIM Atlanta in September of 2012 and quickly became an invaluable asset to the school. Whether introducing new students to Aerodynamic Fundamentals in block 1 or showing a student in block 5 how to calculate sheet metal bend allowance, Tom exhibits the skill, patience, and natural ability to excel as an instructor. Tom has the respect of the students, the faculty and staff and we’re proud to acknowledge him on Teacher Appreciation Day.”
-Ben Sitton, Campus Executive Director, AIM Atlanta
“Mike Morgan was selected as the AIM Indianapolis instructor of the year for many reasons. Mike has been instrumental in developing new training aids, such as the JT – 8 engine with functional thrust reverse and the Cabin-Atmosphere mock-up improvements. Mike works on projects outside the bounds of normal class hours and is always successful in getting students involved with the extra projects. Mike is an excellent instructor in the classroom and while students claim they are joking about switching shifts to ensure they have class with him, I think they are only half joking. Mike is a mentor and role model for his students and co-workers. We are proud to have Mike on staff at AIM Indy.”
-Andy Duncan, Campus Executive Director, AIM Indianapolis
“James Heaver has worked on 8 different aircraft fleet types, for 3 different Airlines and has been an instructor for the past 12 years. James has held many position in the aviation field, such as Airline General Maintenance Manual Instructor, Engine Run & Taxi Instructor and FAA FAR Part 147 Director of Education, which make him a well-rounded educator for our campus. In April of 2017, we honored James by choosing him as AIM Manassas’ “Instructor of the Year.” Thank you for all that you do!”
– Marion Dobbins, Campus Executive Director, AIM Manassas
By Jul DeGeus
By Jul DeGeus
Imagine this: Your final paper on ”The History of Cleaning and Corrosion Control” is due tomorrow but you forgot to cite the book you used, and even worse, you forgot the name of the book. You make an emergency trip to the library, but when you walk in, no one is there. A building abandoned, books are scattered everywhere, piled atop of one another with no rhyme or reason in how they are categorized. Will you find the book in enough time to turn in your paper?
Thanks to the hard work and organization skills of librarians, this is an unlikely situation to find yourself in. April 4th is National School Librarian Day and here at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, we wanted to take the time to recognize some of our all-star librarians:
Rebecca (left) assists a student with homework.
“Rebecca Crosby has been working for AIM Atlanta for nearly 14 years. She is a superstar on campus and we are proud to have her as our librarian. Rebecca became interested in Library Science as a high school student. She took five years of Library Science courses while attending Berkmar High School in Lilburn, GA.
Rebecca began her career at AIM as a receptionist. The campus was based out of a hangar called “Briscoe Field” and had no library. When AIM Atlanta moved into its new campus building nine years ago, Rebecca made the leap to Campus Librarian. Rebecca loves working in the library because she is able to help students and connect with them on a daily basis. Like almost every other librarian, she also loves to read! Rebecca’s favorite book, for now, is “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks. “
-AIM Atlanta Staff
“Shout out to the amazing Mrs. Leah Veal, our Librarian and PSI proctor. No matter the task or project, she is always willing to assist wherever she is needed. Even if that means hunting down a missing manual; she will look for it and she will find it. Both students and staff appreciate you and your enthusiasm when helping others. Thank you, Leah, for everything that you do!”
-AIM Chesapeake Staff
“Valerie Harris has worked at AIM Dallas as the campus librarian since 2015. Prior to that, she worked in education for over 25 years. She graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor’s Degree in Library and Information Science and minored in History. Valerie has improved our library processes and coordination. She is always willing to provide a helping hand to students searching for specific information or material. Thank you for always making sure the library remains a quiet haven for our students to study. “
-AIM Dallas Staff
“Lucero ‘Lucy the Librarian’ Rosales began her career at AIM Houston as a part time receptionist and was promoted to Assistant Librarian shorty after. Lucy is very creative and always willing to help any student or staff member. She currently attends Houston Community College where she is studying pastry arts and plans to open a bistro after college. We’re so proud of all of your hard work, Lucy!”
-AIM Houston Staff
AIM Kansas City
Frederick Douglas Thomas
Aptly named after the famous Frederick Douglass, AIM Kansas City’s Frederick Douglas Thomas is treasure to our school. A man of many titles, Fredrick is the Librarian, Career Services Coordinator, director of FAA test proctoring, and head of the graduation committee. He is a constant rock of support for his students and colleagues, encouraging excellence, honor, integrity and humility. He challenges everyone he interacts with to become their best selves and does it all while looking like a million bucks! Thank you for all that you do!”
-AIM Kansas City Staff
“Karoline received her BA in History from the University of Central Florida and her Masters in Library Science from San Jose State. Karoline became a librarian because, ‘I have a deep love for history and books; this is a career that allows me to fulfill that passion and share it with others.’ We’re lucky that our library is the one you get to share your passion with!”
-AIM Oakland Staff
“Noreen started at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Orlando on January 26, 2015 and plays a dual role. She is the testing proctor in the afternoons and the Evening Library Assistant, accommodating students with their Learning Resource Center needs. Noreen comes from New York, likes to keep busy and ‘loves to help people.’”
“Ruth is the Daytime Library Assistant at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Orlando. She started at the campus on May 12, 2016 and ‘loves working with our students.’ Originally from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Ruth enjoys cooking and singing gospel music in her spare time. “
-AIM Orlando Staff
AIM Orlando held its annual Aviation Maintenance Summer Camp for the 4th year in a row and it was the most successful yet! We had such great interest from the community, that three sessions were held throughout the month of July to accommodate the number of students wanting to be a part of this year’s summer camp.
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