Aviation Maintenance Technician Student/ U.S. Naval Aircraft
Electrician Veteran

My name is Debra and I am from the Washington, DC area. I am a single
African American female,  with no children or pets yet. I would like to get a
German shepherd puppy in the near future.

I was exposed at an early age to aviation by my mother. She used to take
me to a park in the Washington, DC area called Haynes Point across the
Anacostia River from Ronald Reagan National Airport. Standing at this park, I
was able to see the airplanes land and take off all day and wonder what made
those huge machines lift off the ground. Seeing my curiosity and thirst for
knowledge in aviation, my family made sure that education was priority. I got
the chance to follow my dreams and quench my curiosity by enlisting in the
Navy in 1998 after graduating from Oxon Hill High School with honors in
Oxon Hill, Maryland in 1997.

I've been curious and had a thirst for knowledge in the field of aviation since
the age of 5. I didn't know as a young person exactly what I wanted to be in
the Aviation Field but the opportunities, exposure and education in the Navy
and other opportunities helped me to define and pinpoint my skill set.

There weren't a lot of people who stood in my way, however, there were
hard times and trials. Those hard times and trials were lessons learned. In
going through the trials and hard times both in my military and civilian life, I
found that I am able to withstand anything that is thrown my way. On this
journey is how I learned to be one of the best in the aviation field.

I am involved in the aviation field as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician
student. I have also had the privilege of joining the U.S. Navy and became an
Aircraft Electrician for 4 years. My duties as a civilian include volunteering,
mentoring, going to class, paying attention and getting the best grades that
I can to be the best aviation technician that I can be.

I got into this field as opposed to another because aviation is my first love,
lifelong dream and my passion. I feel free when I am able to work hard and
be in the presence of aircraft, showing the work that I can do as an aircraft
technician.

I’ve enjoyed the aviation industry because it has given me a lot of
experiences, lots of lessons, and I've met lots of great and talented people
who share the same passion for aviation that I do.

An interesting fact about my life is that I'm the only female in my first
semester class at the University of the District of Columbia's Aviation
Maintenance Technician Program. I'm also one of the only members of my
family to go overseas because of my choice to join the military to pursue my
dreams. Being from Washington, DC, most of my family and friends work in
Government, Health and other areas and have stayed in the area most of
their lives. Aviation opened my mind to visiting and living in places other than
Washington, DC at an early age. I've never written articles about my
experiences but I am open to it.

I have gotten strange looks when I tell people that I am in school to receive
my aviation maintenance certification. I get even stranger looks when I tell
people that I've been in the military, was an Aircraft Electrician both on land
and at sea on aircraft carriers. Being a 31 year old, 5'6", 120 lb, but looking
no older than 21, I get gaping mouths and raised eyebrows as the normal
response.

What role do skills in math, science, engineering and technology play
in supporting your job?
Math, science, and technology play a huge part in
supporting my career because these subjects are the most important
subjects that assist me in doing my job and being the best at it. These are
some of the subjects that I was the best at in high school, which advanced
my military and civilian careers over the years.

While enlisted in the military, I underwent Airman Apprenticeship training in
Chicago after graduating from boot camp in May 1998. I also underwent a
specialized training course in Jacksonville, Florida in 2000 that taught me the
ins and outs of the P-3 Naval Aircraft from the electrical standpoint.

Currently, I am a student studying to receive an Aircraft Technician License in
order to become an Aviation Safety Inspector as a contractor for the FAA.

What activities do you suggest for young children or young adults to
prepare them for a career like yours?
I suggest keeping the thirst for
education at the forefront of their minds, exposing themselves to the
different fields in aviation and knowing what options there are in this vast
field.

Activities such as taking trips to aviation museums, going to aviation
seminars, talking to professionals in the field of aviation, and joining groups
and organizations that are geared toward educating young people about
aviation should be a priority in preparing for a career in aviation.
My future plans are to become an Aviation Safety Inspector, an author, an
advocate for education by being a mentor, educator and tutor for youth and
young adults.
next
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
TM
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Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
TM
An Aircraft Carrier