UVU and TheJetBlue Foundation Give Local Middle School Students Access to Aviation Dreams and Degrees

University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | (801)-863-6863 | LShumway@uvu.edu

Written by: Kaitlin Taft | (801)-863-7771 | KTaft@uvu.edu

The sky is the limit for future engineers, scientists, and pilots who will have the opportunity Friday, June 23, to explore the world of aviation first-hand at the Utah Valley University Provo Airport Campus.

Made possible through a grant provided by the JetBlue Foundation, nearly 100 students from local middle schools are set to tour the UVU School of Aviation Sciences as part of the UVU PREP summer program. The JetBlue Foundation seeks out programs focusing on communities traditionally under-represented in STEM fields including women, minority groups and veterans. Beyond just grants, the JetBlue Foundation provides in-kind support, mentoring, internships and more to make a difference for the next generation of aviators, dispatchers, aircraft mechanics and pilots.

Two separate tours will take place, at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., each lasting approximately two hours. Upon arrival to the hangar, two lucky students will be selected to join university instructors on a short flight over the valley, before returning to join their classmates on the tour.

“UVU Aviation is so grateful for the partnership we have with the JetBlue Foundation, sharing a common goal of benefiting and assisting young students interested in STEM-related programs,” said Michael Hollister, Assistant Professor in the School of Aviation Sciences.

As part of UVU PREP’s seven-week, mathematics-based, academic enrichment summer program, the group of ninth graders will have the opportunity to tour the School of Aviation Sciences facilities, explore aircraft within the university’s Diamond Aircraft fleet, and fly the Bombardier CRJ 200 aircraft simulator.

“I would like to thank UVU Aviation for this opportunity they’ve provided to allow our UVU PREP Year 3 students to experience first-hand what aviation is all about,” said Carlos Cortez, Program Director of Sponsored Research at UVU. “The chance to sit in the cockpit of a plane, experience a flight simulator; plus, learn about aviation careers will hopefully spark some of these students to pursue a degree program at UVU and a career in aviation.”

UVU PREP hopes to introduce young students interested in aviation to the numerous degrees and career options available UVU. Through generous funding provided by the JetBlue Foundation, each student will receive a voucher to return to the Provo airport campus for a free 30-minute introductory flight with a university Certified Flight Instructor.

“With real industry shortages already being realized, there has never been a better time to become a pilot,” said Assistant Professor Mike Hollister. “For those perhaps not interested in becoming a pilot, the industry is wide and varied enough to appeal to many, with disciplines such as aircraft maintenance, mechanical engineering, aircraft design and manufacturing, and many more.”

As part of the university’s College of Health and Public Service, the School of Aviation Sciences currently offers two and four-year degrees in Aviation Science, Professional Piloting and Aviation Administration, as well as an Unmanned Aircraft Systems Certificate.

School Community University Partnership, the outreach arm of UVU, conducts UVU PREP each summer for seven weeks for qualified middle school students in cooperation with Alpine, Nebo and Provo school districts.

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