Being born on the small island of Anguilla, it was almost inevitable that flying would be a part of my future. Watching the small to mid-sized aircraft take off and land at the Clayton J Lloyd International Airport became quite the hobby of mine, which later resulted in garnering a summer job in the Air Traffic Control tower on the airport in my later years.
Officially, I began my aviation journey in 2016 when I enrolled at Mount Allison University in the Bachelor of Science in Aviation program, where my integrated flight training took place with the Moncton Flight College (MFC Training).
While this four- year program was undoubtedly more difficult than expected, I not only graduated with a double major in Geography and Aviation and minor in Environmental Science, but I graduated with the sheer delight of knowing I persevered in a field not ‘designed’ for a young Black woman. Having my Commercial Pilot’s License was simply the metaphorical icing on the cake.
Currently, I am the Admissions Counsellor- Prospect Management at Mount Allison University. Thanks to a colleague at the University and a connection from his network, I was introduced to the Founder of BAPN, and within a few weeks, I became the Student Programs and Development Director at BAPN.
Thinking about all I would like to accomplish in my capacity as the Student Programs and Development Director, I can narrow it down to three things, which all stem from my days as a flight school student. Firstly, I believe it is key for Black students to be aware of all the pathways that exist in the aviation industry, aside being a pilot. Having students connect regularly with people within their stream will help them visualise the steps required to ensure success, and also add the necessary connections for future career development.
Secondly, a career in aviation is not a one step process. Black students need even more support from as early as possible to ensure that they are able to receive the best training possible, especially financial support. My aim is ensure that students have access to all that is required, without having to worry about how they will fund their training.
BAPN is a haven for all interested and current aviation professionals to network and also inspire the next generation of Black aviation professionals. Representation matters and it starts in our schools; being present at various fairs, presentations, and sessions.
I look forward to sharing in the success of this network and very excited to work with all of you!
Arianna WoodleyCommercial Pilot License, Night Rating, Multi-Engine Rating, Instrument Rating (Group 1)