By John Willis, MIAT College of Technology Houston Campus President
It is hard to believe that we have less than 90 days remaining in 2021. This Summer and Fall have been especially exciting and productive for faculty, staff, students, and recent graduates of our Houston Campus – and we plan to finish the year on a high note. In fact, we are anticipating that student enrollment by year-end will be the highest in our 10-year history, with almost 800 active students.
Over the last few months, we have been hosting graduation ceremonies, enrolling a record number of students, expanding our program offerings, winning awards, and supporting several great causes — some of which are The Wounded Warrior Project, Women in Aviation, International’s Girls in Aviation Day, and American Cancer Society’s Real Mean Wear Pink Campaign.
Here are just a few MIAT highlights that I am honored to share with you:
Earlier this year, our Houston campus added a brand-new academic program in Robotics and Automation. Zaid Alsayes joined MIAT to serve as the Robotics and Automation Program coordinator, and David Coon is serving as an R&A instructor. Zaid and David welcomed our first 10 R&A students a few months ago and are looking forward to adding many more before the New Year.The Robotics and Automation Technician Diploma Program can be completed in as little as 12 months, and the Robotics and Automation Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree Program can be completed in as little as 18 months.
During the summer, our “Climb Above the Cubicle” commercial campaign earned a 2021 Gold Telly Award. The video promoted MIAT’s Wind Power Technician Program and the exciting career opportunities it offers. The video was an effective tool for recruiting, marketing, and promotional purposes. Special thanks to Sehban Zaidi of Mnemonic Agency and Aaron Long of Longstation for their creative talent that led to the production of this powerful, award-winning video.
MIAT’s Houston campus celebrated our Summer Graduation ceremony on August 30, with approximately 300 family and friends attending to show their support. My remarks focused on resilience and how proud I am of our 2021 graduates for persevering to reach their goals despite the pandemic. Jessica Garcia, a licensed Southwest Airlines pilot and co-president of the Houston Chapter of Women in Aviation, International, delivered an inspiring keynote speech. Jessica encouraged our graduates to “fall madly in love” with their career, to believe that the sky holds no limits, and to never stop believing in the power of their dreams.
For a link to the video from our August 30 graduation ceremony, please visit this link.
Corresponding with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, our Houston and Detroit campuses rallied to raise $2,600 through patriotic T-shirt sales for The Wounded Warrior Project. Check out the news release that we issued in early September. Veterans are an important part of our campus community. This year’s T-shirt fundraiser for The Wounded Warrior Project is just one example of how MIAT honors our nation’s military and their service to our country.
Summer Marshall and Sarah Hussing, aviation maintenance program instructors, led a team of student volunteers in supporting the Girls in Aviation Day Houston event at Lone Star Flight Museum on September 25. MIAT has been a sponsor of this event for four consecutive years and is committed to tearing down gender stereotypes in the skilled trades. Less than 8 percent of all licensed pilots are women, and less than 3 percent of all licensed aviation mechanics are women Girls aged 10 to 17 and their family members learned about the many aviation career opportunities available to women. Summer also served as a panelist, offering her insights and perspectives about her journey to becoming an FAA-certified aviation mechanic. The event was covered by KPRC TV (includes an interview with Summer), KHOU TV, and other media outlets.
During the month of October, I am committed to raising awareness and funds to be used for cancer research and treatment by being part of the American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. This is my third year to do so and last year, thanks to the generosity of many, we raised over $5,000. My goal this year is to raise $7,500 to support the crusade for breast cancer research and treatment. Some of you may know that I had a personal experience with skin cancer. Several family members of mine – most likely many of yours as well — have battled this disease and passed away much too young.
For the third consecutive year, we have designed a commemorative T-shirt that is available for purchase. One hundred percent of all proceeds from the sale of these shirts will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Prices vary based on sizes. Even before the campaign officially started on Oct. 1, we had generated sales approaching $1,000!
As we move toward 2022, the final three months of this year are sure to deliver equally exciting news. As always, I am thankful to everyone past and present for making MIAT College of Technology a superior career and technical education provider that impacts our students and their family members in a meaningful and memorable way not only now, but also for generations to come.
I invite your comments and suggestions any time via email at JWillis@miat.edu.