Internship is first leg of a career at 30,000 feet

November 19 2007

ISU is one of only seven universities in the nation approved for Atlantic Southeast Airlines' internship program.

Amy Schreel could have graduated with her professional aviation flight technology bachelor’s degree a semester early, but she traded it in for a jump seat on a Bombardier CRJ200 and a crash pad.

Schreel, an Indiana State University senior from Brookville, Ohio, is getting a taste of a professional pilot’s life during her 15-week paid internship with Atlantic Southeast Airlines in Atlanta.

Part of her day is spent at the ASA flight operations center, where she assists with pilot recruiting, conducting phone screenings for interview candidates. Her other duties are in the flight standards area, where she reviews and logs proficiency checks of new pilots.

And at the end of the day, she goes home to her crash pad -- which is pilot lingo for a no-frills place to lodge temporarily, with several other flight crew members.

“Living at a crash pad with other pilots from ASA is exciting when they’re around, because we get to talk about flying and what the job is like,” Schreel said. “Since many of them are new to the company, they’re on reserve, so they’re gone quite a bit.”

But the most exciting part of interning at ASA, Schreel says, is learning how to fly the aircraft.

“They allow me to jump seat, which means that I get to sit in the cockpit with the pilots, and I get to see up close how operations actually work, from the preflight, to boarding passengers, to landings, to deboarding,” Schreel said. “A lot of people don’t get to see this until they start flying at an airline.”

Another perk of her internship is flight training, right alongside current pilots for ASA.

“As part of the internship, I get to go through their pilot training for the CRJ200, and my 10 classmates are ASA pilots,” said Schreel, who holds her commercial and multi-engine pilot ratings, and is a certified flight instructor. “I’m in the systems class right now, which is a two-week class, and I have a big test tomorrow.”

In addition to ground school training, Schreel is given time to practice and receive instruction in the flight simulator.

“I’ve been able to get into the simulator quite a few times,” Schreel said. “I am already flying an airplane that I hope to be flying in my professional career. I’m ahead of the game.”

Aviation students at ISU are in a unique position. The Atlantic Southeast flight operations internship program accepts students from only seven universities in the nation, and Indiana State is one of them.

“ISU is providing good quality training to all of its students, and it’s because of this training that ASA wants to partner with ISU,” said Darrin Greubel, ASA’s manager of flight standards and 1991 graduate from ISU’s professional pilot technology program. “ISU’s advanced aviation courses are giving the students the knowledge and skills that they will need to succeed upon their graduation and entry into the airlines or corporate aviation.”

In addition to being an approved university for the internship program, Indiana State also has a letter of agreement with ASA, in which the airline agrees to consider for interview graduates of the College of Technology’s aviation program who meet certain criteria.

Greubel and Schreel made a visit to ISU’s campus recently, via Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field, in one of Atlantic Southeast’s CRJ200 regional jets.

“We wanted to give aviation students a closer look at the aircraft and discuss career opportunities with ASA,” Greubel said.

Students were able to tour the aircraft inside and out, sit in the cockpit and cabin, and were given guided tours of the exterior for a close look at the systems.

“The airline industry is gearing up for a long run in hiring,” Greubel said. “The next several years will provide plenty of opportunities for flight students, as pilots, mechanics, technicians and in other support roles.”

Arriving at her college’s local airport in a regional jet, was a one-of-a-kind feeling, Schreel said.

“I’m used to flying in a Skyhawk or a Seminole,” she said, “so flying in on the RJ, and pulling up and seeing the faculty and students come out to learn about the plane and the company I’m at, that was really gratifying for me.”

Schreel hopes her internship is just the first leg of a long career as a pilot.

“When I get out of school, I want to go on to a regional airline, like ASA, and fly for them,” she said. “After I’ve been there for a few years and built up flight time, I would like to go on to a major airline and eventually become a captain.”

Greubel is looking forward to more aviation students from ISU pursuing internships with ASA.

“Amy has done an outstanding job for ASA, and we couldn’t be more pleased with her performance,” he said. “We’re hoping she returns to ASA after her graduation to pursue a career at ASA as a pilot.”

Professional aviation flight technology is the largest undergraduate program in the university’s College of Technology, with an enrollment of more than 200 students.

Aviation has been designated by the university as a program of state/regional distinction as part of "Fulfilling the Promise - The Path to Pre-eminence," a plan to raise Indiana State to a high level of prominence in the state, Midwest region and nation. The plan is partially funded by a gift from the Lilly Endowment Initiative to Recruit and Retain Intellectual Capital for Indiana Higher Education Institutions.

To find out more about ISU’s aviation technology program, go to: www.indstate.edu/aerospace.

To find out more about Atlantic Southeast Airlines, go to: www.flyasa.com.

PHOTO: Download a high-res photo here: Amy Schreel

CUTLINE: Indiana State University senior Amy Schreel takes a moment to pose with Atlantic Southeast Airlines pilots First Officer Greg Gaylor (left) and first Officer Grayson Cash (right) during the airline’s campus visit Sept. 25. Schreel, a professional aviation flight technology major, is completing a paid internship with the company, which is based in Atlanta, and flew in to Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field with the crew to talk to ISU aviation students about the CRJ200 aircraft and career opportunities with the airline. (Kara Berchem/ISU)

CONTACT: Greg Schwab, Aviation Technology Department Chair, Indiana State University, (812) 237-2641 or gschwab@isugw.indstate.edu; or Darrin Greubel, manager of flight standards, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, (404) 502-7509 or darrin.greubel@flyasa.com

WRITER: Katie Spanuello, media relations assistant director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3790 or kspanuello@isugw.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

Schreel, a professional aviation flight technology senior, is getting a taste of a professional pilot's life during her 15-week paid internship with Atlantic Southeast Airlines in Atlanta. ISU is one of only seven universities in the nation approved for ASA's internship program.

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