Success Story: Equalizing opportunities in the cockpit

September 27, 2017

NMC aviation student Kate HauchNMC Aviation, already celebrating its 50th anniversary, notched another notable accomplishment this fall – the largest number of new female students ever.

The six women, from Michigan to Indiana to Alaska, more than double Aviation’s total female enrollment. They took various paths to the Aero Park campus – from a sight-unseen enrollment after a relative’s recommendation to a cold-hard calculation of cost to value. But after only a few weeks of class, they share a sentiment of satisfaction with the small, welcoming program that gets students into the pilot’s seat ASAP.

“It was amazing. The second week of school we were up in the air,” said Kate Hauch, 29 (above), the Alaskan who enrolled upon the recommendation of her brother-in-law, a former student. She never set foot on campus until she arrived from Juneau a couple days before classes, but has felt welcomed.

“You’re a new student, you don’t know how to fly, let’s learn,” is the attitude she found.

“Being able to fly the first week of school at NMC really made a big difference,” agreed Regan Lezotte, 18, of Howell. She had wanted to go to Western Michigan University and spent months agonizing over her choice. A cost analysis showing she’d save six figures by attending NMC tipped the scales.

“There are some smaller houses that I could buy with this money I’d be saving,” Lezotte said.

At Western she wouldn’t have been flying until summer 2018, and would have been among 800-900 students instead of 50.

“It’s more intimate. My instructor knows me, he knows my name,” said Lezotte, whose goal is to fly in corporate aviation. She’s also already found an internship for next semester, working in the Airport Operations and management offices at Cherry Capital Airport.

Hauch plans to return to Alaska and work in either the aerial survey industry or flying medical evacuation flights. Meanwhile, the Saginaw native is enjoying the warmer weather and the local scenery, like her “gorgeous” first flight up the Leelanau peninsula.

“I love the northern area,” she said.

NMC Aviation will celebrate its first half-century with a symposium and gala dinner at the Grand Traverse Resort Thursday. More details are available at nmc.edu/aviation50.

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