Jesus Cano

Jesus Cano

Age: 17
Hometown: Melrose Park, IL
School: Triton College
Year: Class of 2020

Career Interests:
Airline Pilot

Hobbies & Interests:
I love playing soccer and working out, and a new interest in watching videos on aviation - which is really fascinating!

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
Spanish Club

Why are you passionate about aviation?
Ever since I was a little kid I used to see airplanes fly above me and I thought it was amazing. I never thought it would be possible to pursue a career in aviation until I learned about Tuskegee NEXT and the amazing opportunity they provide.

What is your future aspiration?
My future aspiration is to transition from a private pilot to a professional airline pilot.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I chose Tuskegee NEXT because it will expose me to the fundamentals of the aviation industry as well as teach me essential life skills.

Seth Walters

Seth Walters

Age: 17
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
School: Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School/ Spring Theory High School
Year: Class of 2019

Career Interests:
Upon completion of this program, I will be a senior in high school where I will then apply to aviation universities. My next plan is to go to college and major in aviation to become a commercial pilot for a major airline.

Hobbies & Interests:
Poetry, dancing, singing, drawing, and video games.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
Civil Air Patrol – Brandywine Squadron. Achievers Program, Kappa/ Links. National Honor Society. A nominee for the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
I have wanted to become a pilot since I first step on a plane at the age of 5. It is all I can think or dream to become.

What is your future aspiration?
My future aspiration is to be a commercial pilot for a major airline.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I chose to apply to Tuskegee Next Program because it gives an inner-city teenager – like me – an opportunity I would have never been able to experience living in a city. This program gave me an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of something great and historic, that I can share this experience with other people. I was able to gain another family away from home, friendships that will last forever.

Phar-I Merchant

Phar-I Merchant

Age: 17
Hometown: St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
School: St. Croix Educational Complex
Year: Class of 2019

Career Interests:
Pilot, Air-Traffic Controller, Aircraft Mechanic

Hobbies & Interests:
In addition to my passions of traveling and aviation. I love to play family games, basketball and explore the roots of different genres of music. My strong fascination with history and cultural advancements allow me to become a better mentor as I continue to uplift under privileged youth.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
Boys Scout of America, America Youth Soccer Organization, Virgin Islands Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, St.Croix Mighty Marching Barracudas, Future Business Leaders Of America, National Junior Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, SCEC Football, SCEC Soccer

Why are you passionate about aviation?
Being able to travel and see different sights from the sky was always something that I like to do, and the field of aviation was a great career in which I could pursue this passion.

What is your future aspiration?
My future aspiration is to obtain my Private Pilots License so that I may travel to various and distant places that I’ve never been before. It is said that your job should be something that you love to do, and you would feel like you haven’t worked a day in your life because it is one thing you enjoy doing.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I felt Tuskegee Next would be that foundation in which I could stack my building blocks to success and help me towards my future goals and aspirations in life. I’m appreciative to be given this opportunity to start from this young age in which most young people don’t have the opportunity to do so.

Mya Coley

Mya Coley

Age: 19
Hometown: Chicago, IL
School: University of Missouri-Columbia
Year: Class of 2021

Career Interests:
I aspire to be a commercial pilot, as well as an entrepreneur. With my passion to fly I hope to open many doors and establish a flight facility to continue to support my community in the ways Tuskegee Next has helped me.

Hobbies & Interests:
In addition to my passions of traveling and aviation. I love to play family games, basketball and explore the roots of different genres of music. My strong fascination with history and cultural advancements allow me to become a better mentor as I continue to uplift under privileged youth.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
Leadership Board of Mizzou Black Women Initiative; Member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc; Lipstick Saints Ambassador; Vasey Scholar

Why are you passionate about aviation?
As a young girl I have always been fascinated with planes. I love the science behind the concepts of flight.  Bessie Coleman has always been a role model to me. I admired her drive to follow her passion and defy all the social conflicts that went against her. My passion for aviation grows as my pursuit, and comfort of making history rises.

What is your future aspiration?
In the future I hope to establish a flight school. I would love to introduce more minorities to the field of aviation. Through my passion for aviation, I aspire to manage my own aircraft business. Aviation is not a well-known career in the African American community. Therefore, owning my own practice in this field, I hope to aspire other minorities to join me in this journey.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
My senior year of high school I was graced with the opportunity of gaining Tammara Holmes as a mentor. Throughout the year I learned more about the Tuskegee Airmen and the Tuskegee NEXT program. I knew that this program would be an opportunity of a lifetime. The NEXT program encourages my passion, dedication, and hard work to achieve my goal of becoming a commercial pilot.

Jonathan Dixon

Jonathan Dixon

Age: 18
Hometown: Smith Station, AL
School: Tuskegee University
Year: Class of 2022

Career Interests:
I hope to become a Naval Aviator in the U.S. Navy, or either an aerial firefighter.

Hobbies & Interests:
My hobbies include: Flying gliders, playing soccer, going hiking, and enjoying time with my family and friends.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
I’m currently a 2nd Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol, and a Midshipmen in the NROTC program at Tuskegee University.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
I find aviation to be an amazing challenge that can be difficult, but very rewarding. I personally enjoy expanding my knowledge and developing myself as an aviator and a person. The thrill of trying to be precise in my flying is why I’m passionate about aviation. It forces me to keep improving and learning no matter how experienced I am.

What is your future aspiration?
Whether I’m landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier or dropping water on a wildfire. My main goal as a pilot is to inspire those who don’t know about the beauty of flying. I feel as though many people are afraid of flying, but with a little knowledge and a flight or two. I feel as though I can be the spark in convincing people to begin their journey in aviation.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I chose to apply to the Tuskegee NEXT program because of the legacy it follows. I find the Tuskegee Airmen as being brave men who were able to overcome the most difficult of challenges. I want to fulfill an opportunity that would not have been available, if not for the actions of such great men. I personally look up to the Tuskegee Airmen, and inspire to be like them. I applied to the program because I strive for excellence.

Trent Williams

Trent Williams

Age: 18
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
School: Middle Tennessee State
Year: Class of 2022

Career Interests:
Aviation, UAV(Drones)

Hobbies & Interests:
Public Speaking, Chess, Basketball & Fishing

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
Aircrafts Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA); Women In Aviation (WAI); Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA); Aircrafts Owners and Pilots Association AV8RS Youth; OBAP (Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals); Independent Youth (Teen Entrepreneur). I also participate in the Drama Club, Drone Club, Entrepreneur Club and Chess Club.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
My passion in aviation is driven by the way it makes me feel. You know the feeling you get when you drive around to clear your head and you get to take in the scenery and while taking in your surroundings you begin to enjoy the quiet that comes along with driving – well multiply that by 100! That feeling drives my passion.

What is your future aspiration?
To fly corporate and or private planes. As well as pursue my entrepreneur skills in getting contracts for UAV/Drones.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I chose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT to get my private pilot license since I heard about the program from a friend who is a Tuskegee NEXT alumni. I was excited to be associated with the name Tuskegee NEXT since I have been following the Tuskegee Airmen stories since I was 11 years old.

James Simmon

James Simmon

Age: 19
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
School: Virginia State University
Year: Class of 2019

Career Interests:
The career that most interest me, in the aviation field, is either the commercial aspect so like Delta or American Airlines. Or, the other side that interest me is the maintenance side of aviation. I have always grown up trying to tinker with things and perfecting them whether they were Legos or drones or even Robots. Then I found out about planes and I was hooked.

Hobbies & Interests:
I enjoy building, code, fly and also teacher others about drones. My knowledge of drones expands my horizons in the aviation industry. Another hobby that I enjoy is robotics. I am on a robotics team that placed third place in four local competitions during the 2017-2018 school year.  We have perfected our robot and its skills for the 2018-2019 regional competition.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
I am currently in four different organizations. The organizations that I am apart of are Women in Aviation. They are a growing organization that aspires to help children like myself reach our goals to become pilots. I am also a part of an organization called Kids Drone Zone. I work closely with the owner, Jacquene Curlee, to teach children and adults how to build, code, and fly drones. I have been to many places such as schools, fields, and clubs to teach. The third organization that I am apart of is called the National Society of Black Engineers. I am proud to say that I work closely with the president to help fundraise sponsorships for the organization. The organization's mission is to help kids of all types come together to share their passion for engineering.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
I fell in love with aviation when I was eight years old after seeing the cockpit of a plane for the first time. Seeing the cockpit planted the seed that sparked the love of aviation. I quickly became festinated with the mechanics and sound of the airplane. Then I had my first discovery flight, where I actually flew the plane; and it was like this feeling that I continue to get to this day when I fly. It was an explosion of excitement. The excitement and freedom that comes with being in the air are life-changing.

What is your future aspiration?
After all my training I would like to fly for either Delta or UPS. If not, those companies I would like to work for regional airlines. I would also like to be able to give back to the next generation like Tuskegee NEXT has done for me.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
The reason I choose to apply for Tuskegee NEXT was because it was the greatest opportunity out there. The second reason I choose to apply was because of the owner of the drone company that I work for, Ms. Jacquene Curlee , encouraged me to apply because she felt that I would have been a great candidate. I am grateful that I was chosen to be a part of Tuskegee NEXT to help me reach my aviation goals.

Faith Little

Faith Little

Age: 19
Hometown: Chicago, IL
School: Virginia State University
Year: Class of 2021

Career Interests:
I hope to one day earn a job at NASA. Once my schooling is completed, my dream is to ultimately work for NASA or Space X as engineer.

Hobbies & Interests:
I enjoy traveling and riding my motorcycle around Chicago.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
The organizations I belong to include: NSBE, Math Club, and World Travelers.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
I grew up with many amazing role models in my life but there was a huge lack in people from the black community in STEM. I desire more diversity in aviation, so I’d like to become a positive influence to younger generations and show them that they are the future of this field.

What is your future aspiration?
I hope that earning my pilots license here will open doors to a future as an astronaut.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I saw the amazing opportunity that Tuskegee NEXT was presenting to youth in America and saw it as a chance to pursue my dream. Without Tuskegee, I may not have had the tools to become a pilot.

Farilyn Hurt

Farilyn Hurt

Age: 18
Hometown: Milledgeville, GA
School: Middle Tennessee State University
Year: Class of 2022

Career Interests:
I want to become a professional pilot and nurse practitioner. My goal is to fly and later establish my own clinic as an Aviation Medical Examiner. I would like to also be a partner to community-based programs like Tuskegee NEXT and make a difference.

Hobbies & Interests:
Along with aviation and flying, I love leadership, volunteering, sports, and dance. I enjoy traveling and taking nice pictures while sight-seeing and exploring.

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
I volunteer frequently and am a member of many organizations, such as Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy, Magnolia State Bank Junior Board of Directors, Distinguished Young Women, Oconee Regional Hospital, TH Community Services, 21st Century Leaders, our Local Toys for Tots Center, Baldwin County 4-H, Girl Scouts, Union Baptist Praise Ministry, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), and Youth Baldwin Leaders. Within high school, I was a member of Student Government, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Honor Council, Marching Band - Spirit Line, Yearbook, National Senior Beta Club, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, Rho Kappa, International Thespian Society, our JALA Extension, and Young Life.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
Since I was a kid, I knew that I wanted to make a difference and have been trying my best to do more. I was a part numerous programs that allowed me to travel and volunteer because I developed a genuine love for service and people. With aviation, those things are ingrained in daily activities. I get excited about flying and being in the air. It is a feeling I can’t live without.

What is your future aspiration?
There is a greater social issue being a minority female aviator. My future aspiration would be to give hope to the future generations of minorities and inspire other young females. I would like to place myself in a better position to help more people. My goal would be to connect them to the resources they need to be their best self and reach their career goals.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
One summer, I attended a Solo Flight Academy and found myself falling in love with being in the air. Before the program, I planned my life on the ground and around just nursing. I had never even been to an airport. In the jetway before my very first flight, I cried. I could not step onto the plane. It was something I never faced before. It was something that I never thought I would do, but there I was about to get on a plane. I’ll never forget that experience because aviation made me face my fear and since then I’ve been wanting to be in the air. This was an opportunity I could not let go by.

Channing Gray

Channing Gray

Age: 17
Hometown: McDonough, GA
School: Luella High School
Year: Senior

Career Interests:
I aspire to become a commercial pilot by way of graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy and then becoming a U.S. Air Force officer. My goal is to become a pilot for the U.S. Air Force, fly in the military, fly for a top commercial airline, and then own an aviation business.

Hobbies & Interests:
In addition to my passion for aviation, I love playing golf and basketball.  Guest speaker at elementary schools in Henry County to introduce students to aerospace careers. 

Organizations/Clubs you belong to:
I have been affiliated as a member of several enrichment and extra-curricular activities including: President and Vice President of National Beta Club, Vice President of National Science Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) Aviation Career Enrichment & Solo Flight Academy, National Society of High School Scholars.  Also, I volunteer at the Delta Flight Museum and enjoy serving in my community as a member of the National Beta Club.

Why are you passionate about aviation?
I love being in the air flying above the clouds. Being a pilot is a great job to see the world from your office. There is always something new to look forward too when going up for a flight.

What is your future aspiration?
My immediate goal is to earn my private pilot's license before I graduate from high school so that I will increase my opportunity to get a congressional military nomination and appointment to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy.  My future aspirations after completing my Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace is to become an Officer in the U.S. Air Force.  After retiring from the AF, I want a career as a commercial pilot, then my goal is to have a successful aviation business and pay it forward by continuing to introduce at-risk youth to Aerospace careers through STEM-related aviation academics.   Also, as an Alumni of various aviation programs, I would like to return as a guest speaker of the programs I participated in to recruit new generations of youth to Aerospace careers.

Why did you choose to apply to Tuskegee NEXT?
I was inspired to apply for the 2018 Tuskegee NEXT program because the program offered me the opportunity to fulfill my goal and earn my private pilot's license before graduating from high school.  Also, the program offered mentorship from professionals in the aviation industry.  My mom sent me information on Nia Allen when she was in the Tuskegee NEXT program.  Nia and I have participated in youth aviation programs together, although she was a few years ahead of me I admired her pathway to become a pilot and now she is a sophomore at Middle Tennessee State University. My mother encouraged me to apply.  I liked the opportunity Tuskegee Next offered to pursue my passion to fly in a new environment outside of Georgia. The process to get in the program was very competitive, but I believed all of the previous summer programs I applied to had prepared for the flight training program offered by Tuskegee Next.  It has been a blessing to be selected for a program that will allow me to earn my private pilot's license.

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.