Southwest Airlines is proud to inspire students of all ages to pursue their passions. From our career exploration guide to our high school and college internships, we strive to provide career awareness and opportunities for students to gain first-hand experience in the aviation industry. November 8 is National STEM/STEAM Day and to celebrate, we’re highlighting some programs and events that educate and encourage the next generation of aviators.
Girls in Aviation
In September, we supported Girls in Aviation Day events in more than 20 Southwest cities across the country. The non-profit organization, Women in Aviation International (WAI), first launched Girls in Aviation Day in 2015. Since then, WAI chapters throughout the world host events to introduce young students to career possibilities and role models within the aviation and aerospace industries. Students can participate in hands-on educational activities and interact with inspiring industry professionals who represent many different career paths. We want students of all ages to picture themselves working within the aviation industry, including roles in Flight Operations, Ground Operations, Inflight Operations, Technical Operations, and more.
Year-round we organize many programs and events that expose the next generation to join a career field in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). Most recently, we hosted Aviation Day events this fall in Denver and Dallas for more than 100 third through eighth grade students. Both events provided opportunities for students to build a preflight checklist; try their hand at landing an aircraft in a flight simulator; and learn about various career paths in aviation. It’s a great opportunity to discover different career opportunities in the aviation industry and participate in activities to understand how their skills and interests can relate to an aviation-related career.
We also have our award-winning Adopt-A-Pilot program, which connects Southwest Pilots with classrooms to engage students in fun, aviation-related lessons that define a plan for future success and spark an interest in careers in aviation. Since 1997, the Southwest Airlines Adopt-A-Pilot program has inspired more than 566,000 fifth-grade students across the country through fun, STEM-centered activities and experiments! Check out the Adopt-a-Pilot video to discover how the program mentorships can help your student or child take flight into a STEM career.
For older students, Southwest offers high school and college internships. The program provides students with firsthand experience in a variety of departments and a chance to develop professional skills all while experiencing our Southwest Culture. It's never too late to join STEM! Visit our Campus Reach page to learn how to join the Southwest Family as an Intern.
Are you interested in learning more about exciting opportunities to connect students to the aviation industry? Visit our Kindergarten – 12 th grade resource page and c omplete the parent and educator interest form . We’ll contact you about upcoming opportunities for your child or student!
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At Southwest Airlines, we love to showcase our amazing Interns. It especially brings me joy when an Intern is hired as a full-time Southwest Employee! It’s my pleasure to share the journey of one former Intern who transitioned from applicant, to Intern, and finally full-time Employee. Meet Nicole Ganung, Associate Software Engineer.
The Beginning of my Southwest Journey
Southwest Airlines had never really been on my radar as a place to work or intern. However, during my second year of college at Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester New York, I met a Southwest Associate Business Analyst named Mike, who worked in the Technology Department at Southwest. At the time, I overlooked the airline industry because I didn’t think I would find much work related to software development, but boy was I wrong! After discussing Mike’s role at Southwest in more detail, I learned that there are a lot of different opportunities at Southwest, and Mike and I had a lot in common career-wise. From that moment we became good friends.
A year later, I was walking past the Southwest booth at a career fair at the university when I heard Mike shouting my name, asking me to stop by the booth. I walked over, and he introduced me to a Southwest Recruiter. We had a great conversation about Southwest’s Technology Department, so I decided to apply for a summer 2018 internship. Shortly after applying, I had a phone interview, and then received an invitation to fly to Southwest’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas for an in-person interview! When I arrived at Southwest, I was extremely nervous until I walked into a room full of welcoming and smiling faces, ready to talk about all of my accomplishments and reinforce why Southwest would be a great fit for me. Soon after, I received an offer for a summer 2018 internship as a Software Engineer!
My Internship Takes Flights
Several months later, I made the move from Rochester to Dallas, which was the farthest distance I had ever been from my family or friends. During my first week at Southwest, I received a tremendous amount of support from my Leaders, Mentors, fellow Interns, and Recruiters. Throughout my internship, it was fulfilling to work with many other Technology Interns, who all had similar technological backgrounds. Our group got really close as we worked on projects such as building applications to help our Operations Agents, and would travel the country together on the weekends. It made for the best summer of my life!
Nicole with her fellow Summer Interns
After, completing my first internship in summer 2018, I went back to school and then returned the following summer for a second internship. I recently wrapped up my second internship at Southwest and am happy to announce I accepted a job as a full-time Employee! I can see a long future here. Southwest has not only helped me grow my personal and technical skills, but it has also given me lifelong friends. I’m so thankful to Mike and my Team for helping me get to where I am now. I look forward to continuing my journey with Southwest in the spring as a New Hire.
It’s not too late for you to start your own journey with Southwest as an Intern or full-time Employee. Click here for more information on how to apply.
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