Last fall, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University student Drew Cochran received the 2010 Angel MedFlight Scholarship for Excellence in Aviation. Angel MedFlight’s scholarship season is in full-swing again (we are taking applications through June 30, 2011), and we caught up with Drew to see where he is now.
You’re just finishing up your junior year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. What are you enjoying most about being there?
The personal instruction; all the instructors are really friendly and approachable, and they drive you to succeed. The aviation environment is great and it’s challenging.
When we spoke last year, you were on track for a May 2012 graduation with a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science…how is that going?
It’s going well. I will be graduating next spring, and I’ve actually added a minor in Economics. So now I have two minors: Business Administration and Economics.
As of last year, you had made the Dean’s List every semester – have you been able to keep that up through your junior year?
Yes. My GPA is actually 3.961. My only B was in Aviation Legislation my freshman year.
When you won the 2010 Angel MedFlight scholarship, you held a Private license with an Instrument rating, and you had 126 hours total time. Where are you now with your certificates, ratings and flight time?
I have a Commercial license with Single Engine and Instrument ratings, and I’ve started working toward my Multi Engine rating. I have 180 total flight hours now.
You had been working two jobs while going to school – are you still?
Only one – I work at the Prescott YMCA, teaching pre-schoolers swim lessons, which is great because they’re happy and laugh a lot. And I just taught a lifeguarding class there.
Are you involved in any activities or organizations?
I am the treasurer for Embry-Riddle’s Virtual Air Traffic Club. I keep track of the books, keep accounts updated, do fundraising events. One of our events was selling Krispy Kreme donuts on campus; that was a lot of fun.
How did you find out about last year’s Angel MedFlight scholarship?
I receive a daily pilot e-mail from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and the scholarship announcement was in that.
Is there anywhere else students should look for this and other scholarship opportunities?
I would say check with your schools. If they knew of a scholarship opportunity for their students, hopefully they would disperse that to the students.
What is the next step for you after graduation?
I’ll probably move back to the Seattle area, where I grew up and where my family still is. I’d like to start working on obtaining my aircraft dispatcher certificate, and find an aircraft management job. I’ll get my CFI certification and teach flight lessons to help pay off school loans and to keep flying.
What are your ultimate career goals?
To keep flying, work my way up to a corporate flight department, maybe even start a business.
Do you have any advice to students interested in a career in aviation?
Don’t do it unless your parents are rich! I’m kidding. Some practical advice: go for it, but study something else, too, to keep yourself well-rounded. It’s critical to be able to change jobs quickly.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Take advantage of the opportunities you have. If you have a chance to take classes for free or at little additional cost, do it.