Aviation is a male-dominated field and Women in Aviation, the Auburn Chapter, is trying to increase awareness for women pilots.
This co-ed organization is under the umbrella of Women in Aviation International. The War Eagle chapter at Auburn was re-established in the spring of 2016.
Kendall Higdon, president of Auburn Women in Aviation and senior in professional flight management, was one of the original ten members of the re-established chapter.
The organization was originally established to provide a group that could support women and men who want to pursue careers in aviation.
“We focus on student involvement, professional development and community outreach," Higdon said. "Our chapter is different because we truly reach out to the community."
Because the group is co-ed, there are many men involved in Women in Aviation.
Nate Trotman, freshman in professional flight, is a member of Women in Aviation.
“I don’t really see it as gender specific or gender dominated,” Trotman said. “I really just see it as a way for both male and female to come together to share this passion for aviation and to inspire the younger generations to get involved in aviation.”
Trotman said having moved to Auburn from New York, he didn’t have many friends coming in. Being a part of Women in Aviation allowed him to have a group of people he could become close with.
Auburn Women in Aviation provides opportunities for students, both male and female, to continue to work toward their goals as pilots in a male-dominated field.
“You meet a pilot just in Auburn and it’s like that’s so cool but you go somewhere where it’s like 80 or 90 percent pilots and it’s just amazing,” Higdon said. "Going to that place where everybody’s in your field, it was just so amazing and very empowering.”
Both Higdon and Trotman have similar career paths after graduation. Moving up towards a major airline, like Delta, is their goal.
“By having these similar goals and aspirations, we all can work with each other to make sure we all achieve the dream that we all hope to get to one day,” Trotman said.
Auburn Women in Aviation provides opportunities for students involved to advance their careers and resumes.
“I think with our members specifically, our goal is to help create a well-rounded student so by the time they’re seniors, they’ve volunteered a bunch and they’ve had guest speakers and they’ve gone to Delta, so they’ve networked,” Higdon said.
Volunteering allows the members to go to schools and other organizations to promote aviation.
Children and the community, often don’t understand that Auburn has an excellent aviation program, Higdon said.
“We want to go and speak and implement that in their minds," Higdon said. "We’re females and males and we’re pilots and that’s not a dream that’s unattainable for you."
Trotman said although the War Eagle chapter is focused on the student’s four years at Auburn, it also looks toward the future and helping students make important connections.
There is a conference every year for Women in Aviation International which allows students to go and network and experience a conference of knowledgeable men and women pilots.
Higdon was chosen to be part of the Air Race Classic, which was Auburn’s first time to be presented at the race. This was a four day race for Higdon, flying in an Auburn Cessna 172.
“A lot of people don’t even get to ride on a plane, in general, and so to be chosen to fly a plane across the country was definitely a new experience,” Higdon said.
Auburn Women in Aviation is geared not only toward only students with an aviation major. Trotman said all students need is a love for aviation and a desire to get involved.
“I’ve just always dreamed of being a pilot,” Trotman said. “To be able to pursue that now is my goal really."