Student Spotlight: Lydia Gray, Aviation Management
“I don’t think I could have gotten a better training anywhere else.” - Lydia Gray, Aviation Management
“Aviation has always been a dream of mine. When I was little, it didn’t matter where I was going or what airport I was in, I was just happy to be in a plane,” said Lydia Gray, an aviation management student at Auburn University. Gray’s journey to Auburn was not typical, but it has led to a future career she can’t wait to begin.
Gray, originally from Decatur, Ala., found herself at the University of Alabama in her freshman year of college. A friend of Gray’s introduced her to aviation, and after flying a few times over the summer, Gray decided transferring to Auburn for its nationally-ranked aviation program, one of the longest continually operated aviation programs in America, would be best for her future.
Gray’s entire family attended the University of Alabama and she comes from a long line of “Roll Tide” fans, so when she announced she wanted to transfer to Auburn, it took some strong convincing to get her family on board. Of course, after coupling her passion for aviation with Auburn’s award-winning program, it was an obvious choice.
Gray always said that she wanted to be a pilot when she retired. After learning she could make a full-time career out of her passion, she chose to major in aviation management with a minor in business and has never looked back.
Auburn’s aviation management degree focuses on the business knowledge needed for success in the airline and aviation industries, emphasizing general management and comprehensive understanding of all aspects of aviation operations. For Gray, this means a potential future in cargo or private transportation, although her options are almost endless. After graduation, Gray hopes to move to Birmingham because of its large airport and its career opportunities. Additionally, her family lives close by, and for Gray, this would be the best scenario possible.
Gray will graduate in May 2021, and while she’s ready to get started in her field, she knows leaving Auburn will be a “bitter-sweet” experience. Gray says she will miss the community she has found within the aviation program the most but is excited to build relationships outside of the university and in her field in the near future.
“Everyone supports each other and encourages each other in the aviation program, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world,” said Gray. Within the aviation program, Gray is involved in the Women in Aviation organization and is a Striped Wings Ambassador for the program as well.
Looking toward graduation and beyond, Gray says she is “not scared at all for the future” when it comes to finding her dream job and venturing out into the corporate world. When asked about her experience at Auburn, Gray said, “I really do feel like the classes and professors have prepared me for the future, and I don’t think I could have gotten a better training anywhere else.”