Southwest Airlines is a proud supporter of Women in Aviation International-an organization “dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation career fields and interests.” This year at the annual Women in Aviation International Conference , Southwest was proud to present 5 female students scholarships totaling $33,500 to support their pursuit of careers in aviation. The following was written by Flight Operations scholarship winner, Mackenzie Odom.
Mackenzie Odom receiving SWA Flight Training scholarship at Women in Aviation Conference 2017
My dream is to become the first female Southwest Airlines Pilot from Happy, Texas! Two Pilots from Happy, Texas have worked for Southwest — Captain Tom “Mad Dog” Moudy, who retired in 2003, and Captain Kyle Odom, who happens to be my dad.
Southwest Employees are known for their “Servant Hearts,” and Dallas-based Check Airman Ed Devitt’s “Servant Heart” may very well be the reason I am now pursuing an aviation career.
Mackenzie Odom and her dad before his first trip as a SWA First Officer with TJ LUV stuffed airplane
While at Dallas Love Field in 2012, my dad and I decided to look around the Southwest Flight Operations Training Center. As we walked through the simulator bay, Mr. Devitt offered to run the simulator for us! Although it was a busy day in the Training Center, he made time to give me a life-changing experience and I will be forever grateful. My dad and I “flew” around Dallas in the sim and even landed a few times! I was hooked.
I immediately began researching collegiate aviation programs. A year later, I enrolled as a professional pilot major at Oklahoma State University. Since my Dad is a Southwest Airlines Employee, I have been blessed to be a part of the Southwest family all my life. However, I wanted to experience Southwest’s legendary Culture first-hand. I have spent the last two summers as an intern in Southwest’s Flight Operations—first on the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) Team and then on the Procedures Development Team. Now that I have had these experiences, I am more convinced than ever that I want to spend my career flying for this amazing Company.
Career Day in Kindergarten
I have my commercial pilot license, and I am working on my Flight Instructor’s certificate. After my graduation from Oklahoma State University (OSU) in May, I hope to work as a Flight Instructor at OSU and then fly for a regional airline. As soon as I have built enough flight time to qualify, I will apply at Southwest.
At this year’s Women in Aviation International Conference, I was grateful to be awarded a Flight Training Scholarship from Southwest Airlines! This scholarship will support me through the end of my flight training at OSU. Southwest has been so good to me. I am grateful for the tremendous support they have shown me and so many other females who pursue careers in aviation. I look forward to making many more memories with SWA’s fun-LUVing family, and, one day very soon, becoming their first female Pilot from Happy, Texas.
Preflighting with Procedures coworkers during summer internship