Colorado Northwestern Community College Aviation Maintenance student receives dual honors
April 22, 2018
RANGELY — From cars to airplanes, one college student is likely to fly far in her chosen career.
Colorado Northwestern Community College freshman Mikayla Green grew up working on cars. Her father, an auto mechanic, encouraged her love of getting her hands dirty and figuring out how things work.
Green performed well in high school, but she really didn't enjoy it.
"I like to work hands-on," she said. "Lectures don't interest me, unless they are followed by application of what was learned."
Green knew she wanted to pursue a career as a mechanic, but was worried she might become bored working on cars.
"Airplanes are much more interesting, and there is a lot of need for aircraft mechanics," Green said. "You really can go anywhere with this career."
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While searching for programs in aviation maintenance, Green discovered CNCC and knew she had found her home, so the Woodland Park native packed up her belongings and moved to Rangely.
Pursuing a dream is never easy. In Green's case, living expenses, tuition, books and tools took a financial commitment. She began working at a local store, cleaned homes and applied for scholarships to assist with the costs.
One of these scholarships was sponsored by the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance. According to the AWAM website, its goal is to help women in aviation maintenance and find ways to network and support each other in the field.
Because it was a national scholarship, Green didn’t think she had much of a chance, but she applied. In her words, "Somebody was going to get it. Why not me?"
As it turns out, the scholarship committee agreed. Green was awarded a $1,500 scholarship for tools and invited to AWAM's conference in Reno, Nevada, to be presented the award. Already struggling to meet her educational costs, Green could not afford the trip.
CNCC Aviation Maintenance Instructor Ray Gregg did not want to see Green miss out on this opportunity. He contacted the CNCC Foundation to find out if there were funds to assist Green with her trip.
Funds from donors supporting the CNCC Aviation Maintenance Program were available to help Green attend the conference, where she accepted her scholarship award, learned from programming, networked with other women in the field and represented CNCC Aviation Maintenance in front of a national audience.
When Green reflected on her experience at the conference, she beamed.
"It was a great experience,” she said. “The scholarship winners got to attend classes on how to build your resume so you stand out as an applicant, what it is like to be an aviation mechanic and how to network to build your career," she said.
Speaking about her time in the exhibit hall, Green became most animated.
"I talked to Air Force representatives” she said. “I found out that civilians can work for the Air Force as mechanics. I really want to work on military aircraft."
Green has returned to her classes with renewed energy. Soon after her trip, she was honored as the Outstanding Non-Traditional Student at the CNCC Rangely campus Honors Banquet.
Asked about how she felt being honored, Green gave credit to her CNCC instructors.
"My teachers are amazing," she said. "They walk you through until you get it. I never leave a class feeling like I don't get something. It is so much fun."
Green closed with a phrase many would love to be able to say: "I know this is what I am supposed to do."
Learn more about a career in aviation maintenance by contacting CNCC Aviation Maintenance Program Director Ray Gregg at 970-675-3272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.