November 25, 2019
Oklahoma State Becomes 12th University to Bring ALPA Club to Campus
Pictured here (l–r) are ALPA volunteers Capt. Nick Bowers, Capt. Kent Moffer, and F/O Costas Sivyllis, along with OSU mascot Pistol Pete, two student volunteers, and Dr. Jon Loffi.
ALPA and Oklahoma State University (OSU) formalized an alliance recently to develop an Aviation Collegiate Education (ACE) Club, making it ALPA’s 12th collegiate professional development and mentoring program—and its sixth new program in as many years. Oklahoma State is the first and only college in the Big 12 Conference to receive this honor.
“Airline pilots are in high demand, making mentoring programs like the ALPA ACE Club a critical component in the professional development of those pursuing the career,” said ALPA vice president-administration/secretary Capt. Bill Couette, who oversees the Association’s Professional Development Group and its Education, Leadership, and Membership committees. “We’re proud to expand our outreach through this partnership with Oklahoma State University and look forward to sharing our experience and expertise with the aspiring aviators on campus.”
Alliances built between ALPA and leading aviation universities like Oklahoma State aim to promote the profession and support aspiring aviators as they prepare for careers within the airline industry.
“Our students now have direct access to major airline pilots through a formal mentorship program,” said Dr. Jon Loffi, assistant professor of aviation and space in the OSU College of Education, Health, and Aviation. “Representatives from ALPA will be on campus at least once a semester to provide support to our students and make themselves readily available for questions related to flight training, crew resource management, career paths, job expectations and much more.”
Regular visits and presentations by active airline pilots will give students practical workplace examples, emphasizing professionalism. In addition to on-campus outreach, ALPA’s Education Committee organizes annual field trips for students to tour airline operations and other aviation-related facilities. These trips provide students with a behind-the-scenes look at how airlines operate and a first-hand experience of what it takes to be a professional airline pilot.
Capt. Kent Moffer (UAL), an Oklahoma State alumnus, was instrumental in helping establish this partnership over the last two years. Moffer and Education Committee chairman F/O Costas Sivyllis (UAL) were on campus to present a plaque and celebrate with students and faculty during a special recognition event on November 18. Moffer will serve as the ALPA representative on the OSU Professional Pilot Advisory Board.
“Being on the advisory board is an honor and gives me the opportunity to promote the profession and give back to my beloved alma mater,” said Moffer.
After spending time on campus, Sivyllis was blown away by the Oklahoma State community’s hospitality and enthusiasm.
“With such a motivated student base, we hope to truly provide mentorship and guidance as these aviators grow through the ranks,” said Sivyllis. “I’m very excited to see the ALPA ACE Club exist in such an engaged environment.”
Today, the OSU aviation program enrolls more than 300 students annually, offering undergraduate degrees in professional pilot, aerospace security, aviation management and technical service management. Oklahoma State is one of only 18 universities in the nation to offer graduate-level aviation degrees. In the last five years, overall enrollment in the program has increased nearly 40 percent, with the professional pilot option experiencing nearly 50 percent enrollment growth. This directly reflects industry demand.
Professional pilot students are trained at the OSU Flight Center, located north of the Stillwater Regional Airport. The 37-aircraft training fleet includes five brand-new Cirrus SR20s and new Cessna 172 and Piper Seminole multiengine planes. This year, the OSU aviation program was selected to participate in the 2019 Top Hawk program, a partnership between Textron Aviation and top university aviation schools that provides students access to the world’s most popular single-engine aircraft, the Cessna Skyhawk.
ALPA, through its Education Committee, works to promote the piloting profession, mentor aspiring aviators, and prepare future generations of pilots to join the ranks of our members. For more information or to get involved, contact Education@alpa.org.