By John Willis, MIAT College of Technology Houston Campus President
Being a good community partner should be the goal of every organization. With the onset of Covid-19, it is even more critical that we support our local and national non-profit organizations as many companies have been unable to keep up that support. MIAT continues to make community engagement a focus. As a part of the aviation community, we know that supporting females in their pursuit of a skilled trade and also focusing on their health and wellbeing is critical for us. That’s why MIAT has committed to being a Contributing Partner with Women In Aviation International for the recent launch of the Aviation for Girls App and why I have agreed for the second year in a row, to serve as a fundraiser for the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign to support the American Cancer Society during the month of October.
The reality of this pandemic is impacting everyone, and the “new normal” is continually evolving. Normally, Women in Aviation International hosts an Girls in Aviation Day across the United States and in many other countries. But with restraints due to COVID-19, Women in Aviation International has tapped into innovation, technology, and key relationships with strategic sponsors and partners to introduce the Aviation for Girls app so that the organization can host this event virtually. In past years, MIAT has sponsored Girls in Aviation Day in-person events designed to encourage girls to pursue a career in aviation. Our faculty, staff and students have demonstrated tools and techniques used for aircraft to groups of girls at Lone Star Flight Museum in 2018 and at Hooks Airport in north Houston in 2019. This year, MIAT team members will contribute our experience and perspectives with written tips and short videos that will be incorporated into the free Aviation for Girls App. This app launched on Saturday, Sept. 26 – the original date that was set aside for Girls in Aviation Day events all over the world.
More about the App
Appealing to anyone interested in aviation, aerospace and STEM, the Aviation for Girls App is the tool WAI is using to deliver valuable content and resources including career videos, virtual museum tours, scholarship information, hands-on activities, book readings in multiple languages and digital issues of the Aviation for Girls magazine. Despite the name of the app, both girls and boys are invited to participate. Visit the App Store or Google Play and search for WAI Events. For other devices, including Blackberry and Windows, point your mobile browser to: https://bit.ly/AviationforGirlsApp
Please check out Women in Aviation Scholarship application information here:
The scholarship application submission deadline is Nov. 12. Please visit www.wai.org for details.
On a separate but related note….stay tuned for news about our female aviation maintenance instructors whom I am honored to have as members of our growing faculty at the Houston campus!
Wearing Pink Daily in October for Breast Cancer Awareness
Finding pink clothing and accessories with the help of my wife Traci has been a fun and meaningful process for me as a member of the Real Men Wear Pink Houston Campaign to raise awareness for breast cancer prevention and treatment and to benefit the American Cancer Society. The 2020 virtual campaign kickoff event was held recently via Zoom for 30 Real Men fundraisers and campaign managers. I appreciated the opportunity to learn the reasons why everyone agreed to help: We are bonded through our personal experience with a cancer diagnosis – either our own or that of a loved one.
Here’s how it works: I have agreed to wear something pink every day in October, have my photo taken wearing it, and sharing a post on social media platforms every day this month. It’s a simple and fun way to raise awareness. Last year, in my first year as a campaign participant, I raised $3100 with the help of our MIAT community, family, friends, neighbors and others. This year, my fundraising goal is $5,000 and being the competitor that I am, I would love to exceed that amount. To engage more people in this campaign, MIAT Houston is selling specially designed “Real Mechanics Wear Pink” T-shirts that students, faculty, and staff can wear on campus. The T-shirts cost $15 each. All proceeds from T-Shirt sales go directly to the Real Men Wear Pink Houston campaign and are credited toward my fundraising goal.
Please watch for photos of me in all shades of pink posted daily on my personal and MIAT social media platforms. I admit that some of my favorite items that will be in the spotlight this month are new pink hard hats that have recently been delivered, my pink sport coat and pink shades.
The campaign officially runs throughout the month of October, although those of us Real Men who are wearing pink publicly this month got a jump start with a day-long Sept. 30 fundraising competition. I raised $1164.00 during this competition, thanks to the generous support of our students, faculty, staff, and others.
Donations in any amount are most appreciated. Know that every dollar committed helps someone in their fight against cancer.
If you would like to purchase our commemorative T-shirt you can do so by calling the campus at 832-234-5700 and ask for Stephanie Ramos in the MIAT Houston Bookkeeping Department.
As always, I value your support. Our MIAT Houston campus will continue to seek ways to increase our community engagement in meaningful programs, campaigns and causes for “the greater good” of our society. As we say here at MIAT Houston, it is not just about what we are doing today in delivering skilled workforce education. What we do now will create long-lasting “multi-generational” impact. What I mean by that is that our students will gain training and access to jobs that we hope will enable them to improve the lives of many generations of family members; much like a pebble in a pond, education can be a ripple that creates many changes.
I welcome your comments and questions any time. Please email me at JWillis@MIAT.edu
For more information on our programs or to arrange a tour (virtually or in person with health and safety protocols strictly enforced to enter and tour our campus facility), please visit www.miat.edu or call 832-234-5700 and ask for Chad Rogers.