Girls in Aviation Day provides opportunity for young women to learn about aviation
The War Eagle Chapter of Women in Aviation International hosted its annual Girls in Aviation Day Oct. 15. The event provided an opportunity for women of all ages to learn about different facets of aviation in an encouraging, fun environment at the Auburn University Regional Airport. This year’s event was sponsored by Delta Propel, Delta Airlines’ pilot career path program, of which the Auburn School of Aviation is an inaugural member.
Dominique Vervil, professional flight junior and president of the War Eagle Chapter of Women in Aviation International, noted the significance of the event after struggles due to the pandemic.
“This year’s setup was much smoother than last year,” said Vervil. “In 2020, we didn’t even have an event due to the pandemic. Last year, it was challenging to regain some of our community involvement. This year, it was much easier since businesses knew about us, it was easier to speak with media outlets and Delta Propel was gracious enough to sponsor the event.”
In addition to Delta, many notable aviation organizations attended this year’s event. United Aviate, Southwest Airlines, FedEx, Alabama Medevac and Endeavor Air were just some of the major companies with participants and representatives at Girls in Aviation Day. Vervil was pleased with the turnout.
“I have such a heart for serving aviation students at Auburn because they make me feel at home,” said Vervil. “To be able to put on an event with so many reputable companies that people are able to connect and build relationships with is something I value. I am so grateful to these companies for wanting to be involved as it really does help our program and the students who serve it get that frontline access to professionals who work in the fields we are training for.”
As the aviation field continues to see a decline in the number of pilots entering the workforce, Vervil emphasized the importance of getting more women in aviation.
“Auburn is at the forefront of increasing diversity in aviation fields,” said Vervil. “17 percent of pilots in Auburn’s program are women, whereas the world average for female pilots is around 8 percent.”
Vervil said as a student, Women in Aviation International has empowered her in day-to-day life.
“It’s really cool when I tell someone I’m studying to become a pilot and no one gives me a funny look,” said Vervil. “I’ve gotten some crazy looks over the years from other places when I tell them.”
Vervil also shared a recent encounter that inspired her and highlighted the importance of Women in Aviation’s engagement with the community.
“Something that stood out recently was when I was ordering some food and an older woman of color asked me if I was studying to become a pilot, noting my Women in Aviation shirt,” said Vervil. “I told her I was, and her reaction really moved me. She spoke about how growing up, she could never even dream of being a pilot, nevertheless someone that looked like her. That really stood out to me and is something I will never take for granted.”
Daphne Walker, engagement coordinator for the School of Aviation, said events like Girls in Aviation Day are an important step to cultivating new aviation talent.
“Girls in Aviation Day provides girls of all ages the opportunity to learn about different career fields in the aviation industry,” said Walker. “Younger girls can look up to and learn about our students and other female pilots that attend with their companies. This can build a lifelong relationship with aviation and allows them to view aviation as a career path.”
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