A junior at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in East Elmhurst is a recipient of the $5,000 International Aviation Women’s Association scholarship.
Rebecca Petraglia of Astoria and four other college students received the award at the IAWA’s 30th annual conference held in Memphis, Tennessee last month.
Born in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, Petraglia moved to New York in 2010 and enrolled at Aviation High School in Long Island City to follow her interest in airplanes and flying.
“Airports were always fascinating but working in aviation was always just a dream,” Petraglia said. “Then I learned about Aviation High School and was able to find a solid path towards a career in aviation. At Aviation High School I was able to learn and understand the various career fields and I was introduced to Aircraft Maintenance. There I found a career path that I was truly good at, because I had a natural talent for working with my hands.”
After high school, Petraglia was hired by Envoy Air where she was introduced to maintenance operations. Months later, she was hired by JetBlue for its Maintenance Apprentice Program, where she trained with highly knowledgeable mechanics; at the end of the apprenticeship, Petraglia was offered a job by JetBlue as a technician.
She is currently working at JetBlue while also studying full-time at Vaughn College, majoring in Aviation Maintenance Management.
“I chose this degree because I want to be able to improve how airlines operate their maintenance program,” Petraglia said. “This degree is the foundation for the understanding of that and how to safely manage manpower and get the tasks accomplished.”
As for her future, Petraglia hopes to become a United States Air Force Maintenance Officer to learn a different side of aviation and is a contracted cadet of the Air Force ROTC, being trained to become a leader. Her goal is to be awarded a Commission in the U.S. Air Forcec where she plans to stay for 20 years. After the Air Force, she would like to join the reserves and work at a civilian airline company managing their maintenance department.
Petraglia is also contemplating studying for a master’s degree, possibly in business administration.