Eskimo Native Emmalee Dutcher - UVU Aviation Alumnus

Eskimo Native Emmalee Dutcher - UVU Aviation Alumnus

"The confidence that comes with completing something that was difficult but also enjoyable was very rewarding."

My older brother introduced me to aviation when I was 17, my family was living in Orem Utah at the time and my older brother was working on his commercial pilots license while living in Denver, Colorado. My family was visiting him and he invited me to join in on a time building flight flying around the Denver area. That’s when the aviation bug bit me, I was hooked after that and the rest is history.

I chose aviation because I wanted to select a career that was unique and challenging. The idea of travelling the world as well as having the ability to not only support myself but also my family was very intriguing.

I’m an Orem Utah native, UVU is a local school and one of the top aviation schools in the nation. So, selecting UVU for my education and flight training was an easy decision.

The program at UVU is one of the best in the nation and is nationally recognized. I’ve for a long time thought that the instructors and aircraft we have at UVU are the best, you might be able to find similar training at another University or flight school but not better. Attending UVU also made it possible for me to complete an internship for United Airlines, which would not have been available if I would have attended a different University or flight school. The degree and flight training I received from UVU made applying for and getting a job at a regional airline much easier and prepared me well for the work I’m doing now.

I started taking classes from UVU in 2008 and began my private pilot flight training in the Spring of 2009. I completed a United Airlines Flight Operations internship working in their training department in 2013. After completing my degree and flight training I graduated in 2014. I began flight instructing at UVU in the fall of 2014, and became an advanced instructor for UVU in the Fall of 2017 and worked for UVU for a total of 5 years. I starting flying for SkyWest airlines as a first officer on the Embraer ERJ175 in the Summer of 2019.

The confidence that comes with completing something that was difficult but also enjoyable was very rewarding. Knowing I can accomplish difficult tasks and complete not only a degree program but also flight training has allowed me to grow as a person to be more confident more independent and a more rounded person overall.       

 Eskimo Heritage

My heritage is Inupiat Eskimo. My maternal grandmother is full blooded Inupiaq, she was born on St. Lawrence Island (Sivuqaq), Alaska. My mother was born in Anchorage, Alaska and I lived in Eagle River for 6 years of my life. In my picture, I am holding my daughters Mukluk shoes and the Fans I am holding are traditional Inupiaq Eskimo ceremonial dancing fans.

Being a Native Alaskan has given me an interest in reaching out to other Native Alaskans/Americans to motivate them to reach for the stars and accomplish great things. If my story motivates even a single person to pursue their dreams no matter what those dreams are, then me accomplishing my degree and and becoming an airline pilot was well worth it.

The aviation cliché is that flying for your career means you never work a day in your life. I’m here to say that is true! I still haven’t had to work a single day in this career field because it’s so enjoyable to be an airline pilot. I’ve had opportunities not many people will ever get. You are going to have to work very hard, it takes time, and resources. If I had to start from the beginning and complete my degree and flight training again and it was twice as hard and cost twice as much I would still do it! My advice to new pilots and anyone still in school is simply don’t give up not matter how hard it might seem, if you want to do this you will find a way and you will find that it was completely worth it in the end.