CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Education

March 19, 2014

WSCC Flight Technology student Chelsie Sloan becomes first female in program to earn Ninety-Nines, Inc. scholarship

HANCEVILLE — Wallace State Community College dual enrollment student Chelsie Sloan wasn’t sure about her career path as she approached her senior year at Corner High School.

One auditorium visit at Corner from Wallace State’s Kristi Bain regarding dual enrollment opportunities at the college sparked Sloan’s interest in joining the Wallace State Flight Technology program.

Sloan has been soaring ever since.

Sloan was recently awarded a scholarship from the Ninety-Nines, Inc., which is an international organization of women pilots promoting advancement of aviation through education, scholarships and mutual support while honoring its unique history and passion for flying. The scholarship covers flight time costs and other fees aside from tuition.

“I’ve fallen in love with aviation. Going into my senior year I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Once I heard about it, I thought it sounded very interesting,” said Sloan, 18. “I have a cousin who does a little flying, but other than that, I had never considered flight technology a career until I became aware of it through Kristi Bain visiting with our school.”

Sloan isn’t the first female student to be enrolled in Wallace State’s Flight Technology program. In fact, there are multiple females in the program this semester, but Sloan is the first to earn a scholarship from The Ninety-Nines, Inc. Like most scholarship opportunities, Sloan had to complete an application process and submit an essay as to why she was worthy of consideration. As of 2011, the 99’s has awarded more than 550 scholarships to members across the globe in support of prospective women pilots, from student pilots to civilian and military pilots.

“The opportunities are wonderful for females in aviation. The problem is most females don’t think about careers in aviation. It’s just not a traditionally female-dominated industry. It’s wide open for them, though, because they make great students. Females are detailed-oriented where males are more interested in kicking the tires and lighting the fires and flying. Females make sure all the paperwork is right and all the checklists have been crossed before they take off,” said Bert Mackentepe, Wallace State’s Flight Technology Department Head. “We’re proud of Chelsie (Sloan) for earning the scholarship. She put in a lot of hard work to obtain it. She has accomplished a lot in her short time with us. She’s already soloed an aircraft and is about to start on her cross country training. She can fly an airplane to different airports by herself. She continues to succeed at each stage.”

Sloan leaves her high school around 11:30 a.m. each weekday and ventures north to the Cullman Regional-Folsom Field Airport in Vinemont, where Wallace State’s Flight Technology program is located.

Sloan didn’t wait until the beginning of her senior year in August to dabble around the airport. She actually enrolled and started her training last summer. Sloan has effectively passed every requirement thus far and is preparing for her upcoming knowledge test and more advanced flight requirements.

“I’m excited about the steps I still have to take. The day I flew my first solo was probably one of the best days of my life. It confirmed I made a great decision to join this program,” said Sloan, who estimates she flies three times a week. “The solo day was perfect. Everything was quieter and things seemed to fly better.”

Sloan is grateful for the dual enrollment program provided by Wallace State, especially for it helping her pursue an exciting career.

“It’s such a pleasure to be able to attend classes here through Corner High and Wallace State because a lot of people don’t get to have that opportunity,” Sloan said. “It’s an amazing program with amazing instructors. It’s so nice to be a part of it all. It’s one big family.”

Bain, an engineering technology instructor at Wallace State, visits high schools in the college’s service areas, explaining, among other things, the dual enrollment opportunities available to upperclassmen. Bain was glad to see Sloan embrace the opportunity last year and has been equally impressed with Sloan’s willingness to share her positive experience with her high school peers.

“I try to talk about every program possible at Wallace State as far as what we can pay for regarding dual enrollment. Chelsie was determined to get started in the summer with the flight technology program even though it wasn’t during her normal high school hours,” Bain said. “Chelsie has taken the dual enrollment opportunity and run with it. She followed one of my presentations recently with one of her own, explaining and presenting her dual enrollment experiences through Wallace State. It’s impressive and neat to see Chelsie talking to her fellow students about the things she’s accomplished and trying to sell that program to others who are coming up behind her.”

Sloan hopes she can influence others to find the program they’re most comfortable with.

“It’s an amazing opportunity all the way around. I love promoting the dual enrollment program and aviation. I want to do it the best I can,” Sloan said.

For more information about the Wallace State Flight Technology program, visit wallacestate.edu or contact the airport at 256-737-3040.

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