Education Sessions


787-10: Connecting the World, Inspiring a Generation

The 787-10 is a new, innovative commercial airliner that connects the world in ways other airliners cannot.  Learn facts and discuss the challenges faced by Boeing teammates while building the 787-10.

Presented by: Brandi Cobbs, Katharine Langland and Donna Waln


Aircraft Dispatcher – The Best Aviation Job You Have Never Heard Of!

This presentation will discuss what an Aircraft Dispatcher is and is not.  It covers job responsibilities, the process to become a FAA Certified Aircraft Dispatcher, and future job possibilities.

Presented by: Sharon McGee


Airline Pilot Families- Making It All Work

Finding a healthy balance between work, home and family is especially challenging in the airline profession. Our panel of pilots, who also juggle the job of being a mom, will share their strategies for “making it all work” in a hectic career.

Moderator: FedEx FO Kandy Bernskoetter

Panelists: Endeavor Air Capt. Brandi Cockrell; United Airlines FO Faye Matthews; United Airlines FO Kaori Paris


Airline Pilot Panel

Explore the training, flight experiences and job-related challenges of airline pilots.

Presented by: Capt. Becky Howell, N.D., R.Ph., retired;  FedEx FO Danielle Spiewak; United Airlines  FO Kara Hatzai; Envoy Air Capt. Nicole Mott; Frontier FO Elyse Swedberg


Alaska – Flying the Last Frontier

Katie Writer has piloted float planes in Alaska over 13 years.  Her passion for wilderness is expressed through her writing and aerial photography. Katie will share her photos and discuss the uniqueness of float flying in Alaska.

Presented by: Katie Writer


An Aviation Marriage

Learn the effects and acquire tools to strengthen your aviation marriage.  Gain insight to the uniqueness of a flight career. The session is for pilots, future aviators, and spouses; providing insight into pilot personality, aviation stressors, and the influence they have on a marriage.  

Presented by: Janette McMurtrie, PhD


Are you ready for the ADS-B mandate?

In January 2020 the FAA will require ADS-B Out to fly where a transponder is required today. What does this mean to you? Learn what you need to know.

Presented by: Mike Collins, AOPA Pilot


Aviation Weather Center Product Update and Q&A

The Aviation Weather Center (AWC) issues warnings, advisories, and forecasts to ensure aviation safety across the globe. As technology advances, the AWC evolves its products and services to fill the needs of pilots, and dispatchers.

Presented by: Amanda Martin


Being a Leader You’d Want to Follow: 10 Leadership Lessons in FBO Management

Fixed Based Operation management offers a challenging and exciting career field for those interested in aviation. It is a fast paced, dynamic and ever-changing environment for individuals looking for a rewarding career within the General Aviation sector.

Presented by: Jessi Rowden


Best Tools for the Job, “Tools in the Toolbox”

Whether a new mechanic or a seasoned professional, what are some of the “tools” you may want to add to your toolbox or resume to take your career to the next level.  Talk with a panel of AWAM members from various aspects of the maintenance field to hear what some of the tools they have used.

Moderator: Lynette Ashland

Panelists: Jill Corrigan, Nicole Crosby, Keri Martin, Andrea (Dreaha) Monticue, and Ava Shubat 


Checkride-Itis; How to Overcome Fear & Anxiety

Acquire the tools to strengthen your confidence, lower anxiety, and manage the negative effects leading to “Checkride-It is. The session is for pilots and future aviators providing insight into preparation for a successful checkride.

Presented by: Janette McMurtrie, PhD


Corporate Aviation Career Panel

Learn about different career opportunities in business/corporate aviation. This interactive discussion will feature each panelist’s path to their career, quality of life, work/family balance, job satisfaction, reasons for a career in corporate aviation, and example of a typical work day.

Moderator: Ava Shubat

Panel: Angela Jennings, TMC Jets Standards Captain; Robin Bray, SJ Management Chief Pilot; Jacqueline Charles-Spears, Nordstrom Flight Operations Scheduler/ Dispatcher; Jamie Santiago, World Fuel Services Corporation Senior Product Manager; Lara Gaerte Century Aviation CEO; Karin Muller, Sterling Global Aviation Logistics Regional Director Business Development & Sales


Defrag Your Brain – A Holistic & Healthy Approach to Life and Work

Trying to do too much increases our stress levels and decreases quality and productivity in our lives and our careers. Learn to Defrag your Brain by applying proven antidotes designed to improve your ability to be more balanced & effective using relaxation, time management, and brain enhancing techniques.

Presented by: Sherry Kytonen


Dialects of Aviation – Aren’t we all speaking the same language?

By exploring some common miscommunications, not only within a flight department, but also with ATC and airport operations, participants can leave with tools to handle these communication breakdowns gracefully.

Presented by: Michelle Crismore


Digital transformation in Aviation. What will you invent? Who will you inspire?

Digital transformation in aviation aftermarket services is creating career opportunities related to software, gaming, design, and augmented/virtual reality; allowing room for innovation and invention. What role will you play?

Presented by: Danielle Heyniger, Jessica Kolta and Kelly McCauley


Emergency! Getting It Right When Things Go Wrong

We spend time training for them, but real-world emergencies are rare enough that it’s easy to get complacent. They don’t always happen to “other pilots,” though, and preparation can make a big difference when things don’t go as planned.

Presented by: Richard McSpadden


Fight Stress and Find Serenity: Yoga in the Cockpit

Even the most experienced pilot will experience stress in the cockpit.  Learn to use yoga techniques such as breath control, meditation, and asanas, both on the ground-and in the air- to manage stress and be a more in-control and comfortable pilot.

Presented by: Lindsey Ott, Ph. D.


Flying from Military to Commercial Aviation

For military pilots who want to fly for the airlines, we will cover getting hired, training, airline life, and continuing military service in the Guard and Reserve.

Panel: Capt. Mary Ana Gilbert, Col. Julie Tizard, Capt. Margie Varuska and Capt. Lucy Young


Flying While Pregnant: Making an Informed Decision

Each woman and each pregnancy is unique. Some stop flying immediately, while other choose to continue. Medical and policy issues will be discussed, which will help women make an informed decision.

Panel: FO Mikhael Madello American Airlines,  FO Kathleen Malone American Airlines, Capt. Kathy McCullough retired NWA/ Delta Air Lines and Capt. Aileen Watkins Atlas Air


From Plane to Publication

Everyone has a story. Learn how make yours fly! Two airline pilots provide insight to plotting, writing, editing and publication. A brainstorming, networking session to go from PLANE to PUBLICATION!

Presented by: Andrea Coppick and Karlene Petitt


Just a Private Pilot

It's a license to fly, but so much more!  How did it change you?  What opportunities would never exist without it? Stories, experience, advice, adventures, and inspiration from 331 different airports and 6 continents.

Presented by: Diane Ballweg


Landing Your Dream Job Panel

Want to land your dream piloting job? You’ve got stiff competition. But don’t worry. Our panel of experts have been there and will help you stand out from the crowd.

Presented by: Angie Marshall, Capt. Paul Ryder and FO Sara Wilson


Learning to Lead

Confidence, strength and fortitude is a strong admiration of a great leader. Join our panel discussion to learn about 360-degree management, leaning in and discovering the great leader within you!

Presented by: First Officer Christi Dobelli American Airlines; Captain Deborah Hecker Chief Pilot American Airlines; Captain Dolores Pavletic Senior Manager of Flight Ops,Airbus Fleet Captain FedEx; Captain Bebe O'Neil Managing Director System Chief Pilot United Airlines; Captain Gloria Hatcher Assistant Chief Pilot, B-757/767 Check Airman UPS; Captain Kathi Durst Chief Pilot, Fleet Manager, Check Airman A300, B-737 American Airlines 


Legal Issues Everyone in Aviation Should Know

Raising awareness about legal topics impacting aviation activities, including the FAA’s Compliance Philosophy, FAA enforcement policies, BasicMed, TSA requirements, voluntary safety programs, insurance, lease agreements, and employment contracts.

Presented by: Kathleen Yodice


Look, No hands! Understanding Unmanned

The rapid expansion of unmanned systems in aviation can be bewildering, but once you know a bit about the industry, you can see that it’s not just unmanned, it’s unlimited.  This education session is designed to provide an industry overview for the novice, helping people from all parts of the aviation business find a place in the world of unmanned.  Topics covered include an overview of mission types, introduction to common platforms, description of possible careers, explanation of certifications, and discussion of educational opportunities in the unmanned world. 

Presented by: Bettina Mrusek, PhD and Kristy Kiernan, PhD


Look Up! Clouds Tell a Story

Cloud varieties and supplemental formations can tell us a great deal about what we can expect when we climb into the sky. Discover the secrets clouds hide in plain sight.

Presented by: Veronica Cote


Military to civilian transition in Maintenance

A panel discussion with members of AWAM on how to make the transition from a military maintenance career to a civilian career.  Ideas on how to set yourself up for a smoother transition before you leave the military.

Moderator: Gail Rouscher

Panelist: Karin Ellis, Judith Grigsby and Jane Shelton


Night Witches and Soviet Women Fighter Pilots of WWII

Description of the Soviet all-female aviation corps in World War II Russia, its origins in dire necessity, its accomplishments against overwhelming odds, and the stories of some of its heroines. 

Presented by: Justine Saracen and Col. Julie Tizard


Onboard Cabin Connectivity

Satellite and Air-to-Ground communications play a vital role in connectivity.  Onboard Cabin Connectivity outlines the fundamental knowledge and basic concepts of cabin connectivity for aviation crewmembers.  

Presented by: Holly Linaugh


Perspective vs Perception: You didn’t hear what I said I meant

A discussion of how social, political, cultural, and emotional drivers distort the communication in a global environment; including interactive learning and tools on how we can prevent miscommunication.

Presented by: Tim Lewis


Prepping your Aircraft for the Air Race Classic

Getting ready for the 2018 Air Race Classic? We will detail a timeline, maintenance requirements, and airplane preparation to have your airplane race ready for the Sweetwater, TX start.

Presented by: Lynette Ashland and Lara Gaerte


Professionalism in Flight Training: A CFI’s Vision of Flight Training Management

What does professionalism in the flight training environment mean for you as a student, CFI or school? For me, an educator, CFII and entrepreneur, it involves effective flight training management.

Presented by: Amy Labus-Olson


Road to Air Force Wings

As Air Force Pilots, they will share their experiences and provide guidance on the application process to become an AF Pilot in each component, Active Duty, Reserves, and Air Guard.

Presented by: Major Monica Riggs and Major John Kerrigan


Six WAFS Up Close and Personal 

Author Sarah Byrn Rickman tells the story of The Original WAFS in film, using 1942 archival newsreel footage plus her own film, shot during interviews with six Originals in 1999.

Presented by: Sarah Byrn Rickman


Spaceports: Gateway to the Stars, and the Future

Delusional paeans to a phantom galactic tourism industry or the drivers of a new space economy?  This presentation will evaluate the development and prospects of the commercial spaceport phenomenon.

Presented by:  Michelle L.D. Hanlon, ABH Aerospace, LLC Partner


Success Takes Flight – Leveraging Experiences in Aviation and Operations to Inspire Winning Teams

Whether landing F/A-18’s on aircraft carriers or delivering promises to customers, applying leadership lessons from both passions yields a culture of excellence and drive to reach a team’s highest potential.

Presented by: Sarah Rhoads


The Impostor Phenomenon: Are you affected?

Do you give credit to luck, timing or others for your accomplishments?  Do you use self-limiting language? You may be affected by the Impostor Phenomenon. Come learn how to embrace your strengths.

Presented by: Alisoun McCloughen and Dawn Newman


The Other Side of the Counter- FBO Operations

What do you need to start and run an FBO? From responding to an RFP to the daily customer expectations, what it takes to be a successful Fixed Base Operation.

Presented by: Lara Gaerte


Thriving with the Millennial Generation Today and Tomorrow

Join us for a dynamic and interactive forum that explores the opportunities and challenges that come with companies engaging the millennial generation in today’s workplace.

Presented by: Roda Barket and Caroline Prado


Thunderstorm Hazards

Thunderstorm Hazards will examine the theory and practice to understand where thunderstorms develop and how to predict where they will be in the future. We will look at the various tools pilots can use to detect and predict thunderstorm activity.

Presented by: Mike Cetinich


Timing the Reno Air Races

Learn how aircraft are timed at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV.  There are two timing methods, and aircraft are timed to fractions of a second as they pass Home Pylon.

Presented by: Lara Gaerte


WASP Then and Now: The Women Who Changed the Skies

Tells the story of the WASP who chose to boldly defy gender barriers and destabilize the glass ceiling leading to its eventual crash in 1976 changing the military and opening the door for women to occupy a place in the cockpit of our nation’s warbirds.

Presented by: Kimberly Johnson and Sheila Bickle


What Do You Really Want to Ask ATC?

A panel of air traffic controllers for Question & Answer session on ARTCC, TRACON, and Tower operations.  No topics are off the table and we look forward to showing you who Is behind the mic.

Panelists: Christina Calvert, Central Service Area Executive Technical Representative; Dawn Cawrse, Northern California TRACON Frontline Manager; Christine Johnson, Northern California Certified Professional Controller; and Patti Wilson, Northern California TRACON Operations Manager


What Every Employee Should Know About the FAA’s Drug & Alcohol Testing Program

Review of FAA’s requirements for testing safety-sensitive employees, highlighting legal responsibilities in selecting individuals for testing, submitting to a test and its consequences, the proper testing process, reporting and record keeping, and lessons learned.

Presented by: Kathleen Yodice


What’s it like to be a Mechanic

Whether working for the airlines, in corporate aviation, in the manufacturing world or an MRO, general aviation, or helicopters, come speak with a panel of AWAM members about any of these aspects and have a chance to ask your questions.

Moderator: Angel Green

Presented by: AWAM Panel Members


Women in Combat Operations

Real-world female military pilots from varying combat aircraft sharing their experiences flying combat missions, training, aircraft capabilities and missions they have flown. Mission planning/preparation, command/control/communication, contingency operations, family and social issues.

Moderators: Col. Ret. Kathy Cosand and Lt. Col. Jasmin Silence, USAF 

Panelists: Col. Buff Burkel, USAF; Major Eleanor Morgan, USAF; Col. April Skou, US Army; LTJG Betty Pina, USCoast Guard; Capt. Rachael Winiecki, USAF


Fostering a Cooperative Airspace System

Welcome to the world below 400 ft, where drones are hard at work in communities across the world. AirMap's Jillian Switzer discusses the complexities of low-altitude airspace and keeping the skies safe for all.

Presented by: Jillian Switzer


Your Personal Wingman Panel

Pilots’ lives can be stressful. To help keep aviators in the air, our expert panelists—pilots, like you—will discuss the process for navigating accidents/incidents, FAA medical certification issues, DUI/DWI, and other life-changing events.

Presented by: F/O Ellen Brinks, Capt. Louise Cullinan, Capt. Corey Slone and F/O John Taylor


***Date and times to come

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Benefits of a WAI Membership

WAI members seek to inspire and stand for encouragement, continued education, and a whole lot of fun! If you’re a lover of all things aviation and aerospace, and enjoy sharing your passion with others, we’d love to have you! Membership includes job search opportunities, scholarship opportunities, access to mentors in your industry, and much more.

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