Special to the Herald Times
RANGELY | Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) freshman Mikayla Green grew up working on cars. Her father, an auto mechanic, encouraged her love of getting her hands dirty and figuring out how things work.
While in high school, Green did well, but she really didn’t enjoy it. “I like to work hands-on,” she explained. “Lectures don’t interest me unless they are followed by application of what was learned.”
Green knew she wanted to go into a career as a mechanic, but was worried that she might get bored working on cars. “Airplanes are much more interesting and there is a lot of need for aircraft mechanics,” said Green. “You really can go anywhere with this career.”
While searching for programs in aviation maintenance, Green found CNCC and knew she had found her home. This Woodland Park native packed up her belongings and moved to Rangely.
Pursuing a dream is never easy. In Green’s case, living expenses, tuition, books and tools took a financial commitment. She began working at a local store, cleaning homes and applied for scholarships to assist with the costs.
One of these scholarships was sponsored by the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM). According to their website, their goal is to help women in aviation maintenance and find ways to network and support each other in the field of aviation maintenance.
Because it was a national scholarship, Green didn’t feel like she had much of a chance of getting a scholarship, but she applied. In her words, “Somebody was going to get it. Why not me?”
As it turns out, the scholarship committee agreed. Green was awarded a $1,500 scholarship for tools and invited to AWAM’s conference in Reno, NV to be presented the award. Already struggling to meet her educational costs, Green could not afford the trip.
CNCC Aviation Maintenance Instructor Ray Gregg did not want to see Green miss out on this opportunity. He contacted the CNCC Foundation to find out if there were funds to assist Green with her trip.
Thanks to donors supporting the CNCC Aviation Maintenance program, there were funds available for Green to go to the conference, accept her scholarship award, learn from programming at the conference, network with other women in the field and represent CNCC Aviation Maintenance in front of a national audience.
When Green reflected on her experience at the conference, she beamed. “It was a great experience. The scholarship winners got to attend classes on how to build your resume so you stand out as an applicant, what it is like to be an aviation mechanic and how to network to build your career.”
Speaking about her time in the exhibit hall, Green became most animated. “I talked to Air Force representatives. I found out that civilians can work for the Air Force as mechanics. I really want to work on military aircraft!”
Still reeling from the experience, Green returned to her classes with renewed energy. Soon after her trip, Green was honored as the Outstanding Non-traditional Student at the CNCC Rangely campus Honors Banquet.
Asked about how she felt being honored, Green deferred credit to her CNCC instructors. “My teachers are amazing,” she said. “They walk you through until you get it. I never leave a class feeling like I don’t get something. It is so much fun.”
Green closed with a phrase many would love to be able to say, “I know this is what I am supposed to do.”
Interested in a career in Aviation Maintenance? Contact CNCC Aviation Maintenance Program Director Ray Gregg at 970-675-3272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.