Stephanie Smith, 28, of Albany, OR, couldn't believe it when she received the message that she was the winner of Daniel Webster College's NBAA raffle for a free online MBA for Aviation Professionals. Her husband, she said, saved the telephone message about her winning without saying what the message was about beforehand. "I played it once, then had to sit down and play it again," she recalled. "We're all pretty excited here."
She originally had seen the story about Daniel Webster's raffle in an online aviation newsletter and since she was in Orlando for business, made the Daniel Webster booth at NBAA one of her destinations. She starts the MBA for Aviation Professionals on Jan. 22, 2007, joining others who have decided to pursue their master's degree online with an aviation focus without many of the challenges students find attending a traditional MBA campus program.
Smith holds an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University and has worked as a mechanical engineer for Garmin AT, a subsidiary of Garmin International (www.garmin.com) for the past three years. She sees Daniel Webster's graduate degree as an opportunity to expand her opportunities at Garmin. "I'd like to see what more I can do to support Garmin's future interests."
An MBA, she added, will also give her a different focus. “While I have a technical background with the mechanical engineering degree and work experience through Garmin, I feel the MBA for Aviation Professionals will provide a more solid business background. For me, this program will allow me to learn important and necessary skills, essential for working within our organization and with others, and allowing me to look beyond the technical aspects of my work.”
Securing an MBA for Smith was not something that came up suddenly when she read about Daniel Webster's raffle. "I had been interested in an MBA for quite a while," she said, "but found that most MBAs would interfere too much with my work schedule and family life." It was overwhelming, she added, to investigate all of the MBA programs available to determine which might be the best “fit.” She really became excited about the online aspect of Daniel Webster's and the aviation focus was just the icing on the cake. "I was absolutely inspired by the aviation focus!"
"Aviation is a part of everything I do. I work with avionics installations and aircraft on a daily basis at Garmin, work on airplane projects at home, spend time with other pilots at the Albany, OR, airport (S12), and have developed friendships with pilots around the world. My vision is to see aviation become even safer and more profitable, to keep large and small aviation-related businesses going strong."
At the Salem, OR, campus where she works with approximately 165 other Garmin employees, Smith does mechanical design work and analysis for aircraft installation of Garmin avionics.
She doesn't leave aviation behind when she leaves work. Both she and her husband Dennis are pilots and currently own a Piper Tomahawk, which they fly as often as they can. Smith is currently training for her IFR rating.
With the start of Daniel Webster's MBA for Aviation Professionals just weeks away, Smith says that everyone, from her husband and parents to her managers and coworkers, are excited for her. "My parents are especially excited," she said. It's her parents' goal to see all three of their daughters earn baccalaureate degrees; Smith is the only one thus far to have done that, although her sisters are close to completing theirs. Her pursuance of a master's degree, she hopes, will be the impetus for her sisters to continue their own education.
One lucky 2006 NBAA attendee will return home not only having spent constructive time networking, developing themselves professionally, and learning about the industry’s latest developments, but...
NBAA scholarships help business aviation students and professionals ascend.
Carly Butwell garners scholarship awarded to a student attending a University Aviation Association affiliated college and who is specializing in aviation management.
NBAA offers a wide range of scholarships that encourage young people to seek careers in business aviation.