Samuel Girmai-Jones

Samuel Girmai-Jones

Age: 17
Hometown: Park Forest, IL
School: Rich East High School
Year: Senior
Aspiring Major: Aerospace Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology

Career Interests:
My career interests consist of Aerospace Engineering, Music Productions and Sound Engineering.

Hobbies & Interests:
My hobbies and interest are: multi-talented musician, avid music listener, playing blues, jazz, RnB, neo-soul, studying chess, playing live music with my blues band.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
The organizations and clubs i’m belong to are: 1st chair chess team caption, Civic Leader in Park Forest, President of ‘Brother 2 Brother’ group at Rich East High School. I’m also involved in ‘Blues Kids International’, was an intern at ACE (Architecture Construction Engineering), and percussion/drumline section leader in marching band playing the snare drum.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
I am passionate about aviation because if I want to pursue Aerospace Engineering – I need to understand the intricacies of a plane.

What is your future aspiration?
I aspire to work for the FAA as an Aerospace Engineer or pursue a career in sound engineering and mixmaster my own and others' music.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I knew from the get-go that the NEXT program will push me farther than ever I could imagine to further accelerate my future.

Nick Herres

Nick Herres

Age: 18
Hometown: Palos Hills, IL
School: Lewis University
Year: Class of 2021
Major: Aviation Flight Management

Career Interests:
Professional Pilot

Hobbies & Interests:
Running, working out, playing video games, and watching movies.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
I was involved in cross country and track all four years of high school.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
There are a number of reason why I’m passionate about aviation. Here are some:
1. The opportunity to see the world.
2. Everyday is different - which makes it exciting.
3. A pure love of flight.

What is your future aspiration?
My future aspirations would be to become a pilot in the Air-force . I would like to become a commercial pilot as well.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I chose to partake in this program was because through this program I have a chance to get my private pilot license before college and be able to go on to working on my instrument rating.

Nia S. Allen

Nia S. Allen

Age: 18
Hometown: Norcross, GA
School: Middle Tennessee State University
Year: Class of 2021
Major: Aerospace, Professional Pilot

Career Interests:
I aspire to become a commercial pilot and become a First Officer. My goal is to either fly corporately or work for a top commercial airline.

Hobbies & Interest:
In addition to my passion for aviation and aerospace, I love to paint and draw. I love taking any opportunity I can to be creative and create different artistic masterpieces. At home, I have a wall of my drawings and paintings that I have collected over the years.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
I am a member of many extra-curricular and enrichment activities including: Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), EAA (Chapter 690, Lawrenceville, GA), Women in Aviation International (WAI), WAI – Atlanta –Gone with the Wind Chapter, AOPA, Women in Aerospace, 21st Century Leaders, Gamma Gamma Sigma Gwinnett (Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta) 13 year Girl Scout member. I also volunteer periodically with a woman ran Drone Foundation called Kidz Drone Zone in Atlanta, GA. 

Why are you passionate about aviation?
Aviation speaks to my soul and inner spirit. When I am in a plane and in command, there is a level of empowerment that cannot be beat! I have so much enthusiasm and excitement about aviation and aerospace and cannot wait to spend my lifetime being a continuous learner and always finding new things to learn or master.

What is your future aspiration?
Following completing the requirements to become a commercial pilot, my goal is to extend my passion for flying to other young girls and women and encourage them to take on STEM and STEAM-related careers. I completed my college orientation and I learned that I am only one of fifteen women in the incoming freshman class of 130 who plan to pursue the professional pilot program. This dismal number of women in my aerospace class continues to remind me that there is so much work to be done to expose and influence girls to take on more daring and adventurous career paths. I plan to use my summers to assist the summer aviation programs that I participated in as a young girl to recruit more girls to attend and participate and to bring in a new generation of females in Aerospace. The ultimate goal is to form my own aviation summer program where I can lend the opportunity for girls to pursue their aviation licensing and expose them the various opportunities in Aerospace and Science.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I was inspired to apply become in 2017 Tuskegee NEXT after my mom sent me a feature article on Tammera Holmes and her company Aerostar Consulting Corporation. Reading her article inspired me to do some additional research to learn more. I then learned about her beginnings with the Tuskegee Airmen Chicago chapter and saw the 2016 Tuskegee NEXT Cadets featured on the website. After researching and reading what past Cadets had the opportunity to experience, I asked my mom if she thought I should apply. Her exact words were “You apply and I will worry about the rest. We have too many family and friends in Chicago that will support you and want to contribute to your success. Even if we have to travel every weekend that time and expense won’t be more than the value of this potential opportunity.” With her support, I contacted Mrs. Young to see if I was even eligible to apply. I then took a shot and applied. Applying to the 2017 program was the best decision I made and I am honored that I was chosen to represent the Tuskegee NEXT organization.

Jibri Taylor

Jibri Taylor

Age: 17
Hometown: Evergreen Park, IL
School: Marist High School
Year: Senior
Aspiring Major: Aerospace Engineer with emphasis in Electronics and Business

Career Interests:
I’m interest in engineering and business.

Hobbies & Interests:
My hobbies include: hanging out with my friends, reading articles on the internet, going on long bike rides with my brother. I also like to learn about stock market trading, lifeguarding, track and field, and working out.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
I was a part of Legacy Flight Academy in Tuskegee, Alabama, and ACE Academy at Lewis University. I also participated in school supply packing events, like Active Food Packaging, to serve the homeless community.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
I used to be afraid of flying when I was young. This fear of flying manifested into a fear of heights. I was terrified to go on rides and had vertigo when I stood in high places. My fear of flying actually stopped me from spending time with family in Florida.The dread of flying was so great; I refused to go on the plane with my grandmother. That ended up being the last chance I had to spend time with her, on vacation, before she passed away.

When I was in seventh grade my father asked me what I wanted to do for my life and that got me thinking. I started brainstorming a bunch of careers that I would enjoy. One of those was engineering. The thought of coming up with an idea of building something that actually works - enthralled me with excitement. From there, I started researching the different fields of engineering. Aerospace engineering interests me because I developed an interest in aviation. I was constantly looking up planes in Wikipedia and would read about them for hours. I also chose aerospace engineering to help fight my long-standing fear of flying. I decided that in
order to know how to work a plane, I would need to know how to fly the plane.

My sophomore year of high school, I decided it was the time to put my ambition into action. So I sign-up for ACE Academy. The program’s main goal is to expose the youth to the multiple fields of aviation. The program took us on trips and gave us career education. The best part for me was being able to fly. Even though I only flew once, and didn’t get to take the controls - I was pleased with the opportunity. The program helped me accomplish what I set out to do. Find career options, get a broader knowledge of aviation, and finally conquer my fear of flying. Flying that plane gave me a sense of comfort and control that I never felt before. In fact, I loved flying so much I ended up signing up for another program called Legacy Flight Academy. Legacy Flight Academy provided lessons and flying time. I've had a passion for flying ever since. I even set a goal for myself to get a private pilots license before going to college. Long story short, my worst fear turned into my passion.

What is your future aspiration?
I wish to become an engineer and help develop more efficient methods of energy production. I want to build things that will help many people in the long run. Like building generators that produce efficient and reusable energy.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I joined this program to test myself. I think the best privilege this program has offered me so far is the chance to see myself in action when I put my mind to something. I also joined the program to live a family legacy in aviation, created by my great-uncle - Tuskegee Airman, D.C. official Cicero Satterfield.

Derrick Terrell Helm, Jr.

Derrick Terrell Helm, Jr.

Age: 18
Hometown: Champaign, IL
School: Judah Christian School
Year: Class of 2021
Major: Psychology

Career Interests:
I am interested in being a Pilot, College Professor, NBA Scout, Pilot, and Psychologist.

Hobbies & Interests:
Playing basketball, spending time with friends, traveling, playing video games, and reading.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
Varsity basketball and soccer, and working at Subway.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
It has always been a dream of mine to travel the world. Obtaining my pilot's license would be a perfect way for me to do this. I also love seeing the skylines of large cities. What better way to do this than from the sky?

What is your future aspiration?
It has always been my passion, to help others travel the world and experience different cultures. With a pilots license, this passion can become a reality.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
When I was younger, I attended ACE Camp. I enjoyed the program immensely and knew if I had another opportunity to try something similar I'd jump at it. When i hear about Tuskegee NEXT I instantly knew I wanted to apply to further my interest in aviation.

Julissa Torres

Julissa Torres

Age: 17
Hometown: Chicago
School: Institute of Health and Science Academy
Year: High School Senior
Future Major: Undecided

Why I want to become a pilot:

I want to become a pilot because it is uncommon to see Latino women in this industry. Latinos make up 5% of the aviation industry. The percentage of Latino women is less than 2%. I want to break barriers and encourage other girls to do the same.  

Hobbies and Interests:  

Aside from aviation, I am interested in becoming an entrepreneur, paramedic, join the Air Force and or start my own non-profit to give back to my community.  I also enjoy being active, drawing and listening to music. 

Organizations/Clubs:

National Honors Society, Cross Country, Spanish National Honors Society, Chicago Police & Fire Training Academy, Volunteer at St. Mary’s Hospital, Dreamers Club, ASM Aztec Dance and Volunteered St. Baldrick’s

 

Tyler McCray

Tyler McCray

Age: 18
Hometown: Chicago
School: University of Illinois Champaign Urbana
Year: College Freshman  
Major: Business Administration

Why I want to become a pilot:

I want to represent one in the two percent of seventy-four million African Americans throughout this universe to have a pilot license. Therefore, I’m taking up the challenge to earn my pilot's license. This would be an astonishing accomplishment! Since the age of twelve, I have been actively learning the necessary skills needed in the area of engineering, gaining me the knowledge to rebuild engines, transmissions, carburetors and more.  

Hobbies and Interests:  

Aside from aviation, I’m also interested in business administration and owning my own Aircraft Repossession Company.   Also, I am interested in becoming a professional NASCAR Driver due to the love of speed. 

Organizations/Clubs:

National Honors Society and Magnetar Capital. 

 

Jaylen Bush

Jaylen Bush

Age: 17
Hometown: Lynwood, IL
School: Marin Catholic High School
Years: High School Senior
Future Major: Double Major in Aviation and History

Why I want to become a pilot:

Since I was a kid, it’s been my dream to become a pilot. My parents taught me that we have dreams for a reason – to accomplish them. When I get my private pilot’s license, I want to take my family places that we weren’t able to go. I look forward to meeting new people and constructing new relationships. I want to show all of the people who told me that “I can’t” that “I CAN”.

Hobbies and Interests:  

Aside from aviation, I enjoy baseball, drum corps, percussion, my family and my dog. 

Organizations/Clubs:

Top Teens of America, Marian Catholic High School Band. 

 

James Redmond

James Redmond

Age: 17
Hometown: Chicago
School: Muchin College Prep
Year: High School Senior
Future Major: Aviation

Why I want to become a pilot:  

I want to be a pilot because it affords everybody I know with the pride of my accomplishment. I would be able to go everywhere I want to go and be able to accomplish things that would make me happy; like flying to different places including overseas. I will also be able to fly my family around DeKalb. The possibilities are endless.

Hobbies and Interests:

I am interested in the Air Force. I also enjoy playing sports like football and rugby, and run track. 

Organizations/Clubs:

Embodi and 100 Black Men of Chicago

 

Michael Hogue

Michael Hogue

Age: 18
Hometown: Chicago
School: Bates College
Year: College Freshman
Double Major: Math & Aerospace Engineering

Why I want to become a pilot:  

When I was 7 years old, someone I admired had a collection of model airplanes in his office. I would find myself being intrigued by them.  He encouraged me to become a pilot. Before he passed away, he gave me his collection of model airplanes and I still have them to this day. His words of encouragement help guide me to find my passion in aviation.

Hobbies and Interests:  

I like to play the guitar, paintball, skateboarding, photography and drawing.   

Organizations/Clubs:

Aero Stars and Big Brother Big Sister. 

 

Giodanni Victor

Giodanni Victor

Age: 17
Hometown: Chicago
School: Chicago Bulls College Prep
Year: High School Junior
Future College Major: Aviation

Why I want to become a pilot:

I want to become a pilot because it is my dream to become a commercial pilot and fly a 737 and or a 777 plane.  Obtaining my private pilot’s license puts me one step closer to accomplishing my goal. It will be great to be able to solo fly, as well fly my family and friends.    

Hobbies and Interests:  

I enjoy playing sports and being social.  

Organizations/Clubs:

Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps (MCJROTC) and football. 

 

Diego Perez

Diego Perez

Age: 17
Hometown: Chicago
School: Air Force Academy High School
Year: High School Senior  
Future College Major: Aeronautical Engineering

Why I want to become a pilot:

I want to become a pilot because I have never had the opportunity to travel. I enjoy meeting new people from different cultures. Becoming a pilot will give me the opportunity to see the world.    

Hobbies and Interests:  

Aside from aviation, I enjoy soccer, music, band and being outdoors.  

Organizations/Clubs: 

Cadet Staff, Junior Reserve Officer's Training Corps (JROTC) and Leadership Program 

 

Andre Sanders

Andre Sanders

Age: 21
Hometown: Chicago
School: Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Year: College Sophomore  
Major: Aviation Flight  Minor: Management

Why I want to become a pilot:  

I want to be a pilot because I have found a career that I absolutely love. Being in the air is an amazing experience; from looking down at how beautifully green the earth is, to soaring towards the horizon. The experience is amazing! I think it's safe for me to say that I have found my passion in life and I know where I belong - off into the wild blue yonder! 

Flying also challenges me because every day is a new obstacle. It is truly an adrenaline rush and having the responsibility to fly must be respected. It’s a blessing to have this opportunity so I can accomplish my dream.  

Hobbies and Interests: 

I enjoy hanging out with my family, friends, watching sports and all things aviation. 

Organizations/Clubs:

Air Force Reserves

 

Tyler Thomas

Tyler Thomas

Age: 17
Hometown: Chicago
School: Lincoln Park High School
Year: High School Senior
Major: Wants to Double Major in Aviation & Graphic Designer

Why I want to become a pilot:

I want to become a pilot because the world is too big not to explore. This industry is booming and I could not picture a better job than getting paid to explore and expand my outlook on the world. It am fond of seeing the world from 3,000 feet in the air.  

Hobbies and Interests:

I enjoy playing football, basketball and music. 

Organizations/Clubs:

Urban League and football team.