The Campus Reach program identifies and engages future Southwest Employees at an early age, hopefully inspiring an interest in a career in aviation!We were honored to join more than 90 girls (grades 3 to 😎 at Purdue University’s first Girls in Aviation Day on September 24.
The day started out with a grand welcome in the Purdue Aviation Hangar, a brief overview of the industry, mingling with event sponsors, and checking out the Amelia Earhart display. After the kick-off, the girls broke into teams to participate in activities. The activities included a Southwest Airlines session where the girls took part in a Network Operations game. They learned how to read an operational flowsheet with three different routes in one day and constructed airplanes out of materials that you can find on an airplane (cans, napkins, pretzels, etc.). It was an incredible experience to watch the girls light up as they learned new things and successfully completed activities throughout the day.
Other sponsor sessions included the following:
Aviation 101: learned about the basics of flight
Safety Wire Bracelet Session: learned about electrical connections
Marshalling: learned how to marshal an aircraft
Aviation Careers: learned about aviation careers within the industry
Aircraft Display: observed two commercial aircraft that were parked on the tarmac
During the lunch break, one of our very own First Officers (and former Southwest Intern!), Kristen Veith, spoke about her aviation journey and what inspired her to become a Pilot.
To close the day, the president of the Purdue Women in Aviation Club presented certificates of completion to the girls, thanked the sponsors, and closed out with a celebration with cake for all of the participants and their parents! The day reminded us how lucky we are to have a career that we LUV, and everyone’s ear-to-ear smiles said it all. The girls’ hugs and handshakes were the perfect end to a fantastic event!
In addition to our Company sponsorship, we donated sunglasses, stickers, luggage tags, and pencils for each girl. Overall, we were excited to have the opportunity to engage and inspire these young girls toward careers in aviation … and, especially, careers at Southwest Airlines.
Fun Fact: Southwest Airlines’ relationship with Purdue University began in 1971 when many of our Original Employees came over from the airline the University had operated, including both Pilots on our very first flight.