Houston Airports Aviation Club Reaches New Heights
May 16, 2019

The Houston Airports Aviation Club is working to help high school students enter aviation and aerospace careers by sponsoring Ross Shaw Sterling Aviation Early College High School, better known as Sterling Aviation High School.

The Aviation Club is a Houston Airports community outreach program that meets monthly where students can participate in learning, enrichment and mentoring activities.

Annual Project and Competition        

This school year, Sterling Aviation High School students were assigned a project that demonstrated an understanding of the basics of design, construction, management, marketing and flight operations of a prototype drone airport by applying a variety of aviation procedures and regulations.

“The project is part of an annual competition,” said Aviation Club Program Manager and Houston Airports Community Outreach Harry Singh. “For about three weeks, projects were publicly displayed at William P. Hobby Airport. The project team with the most votes won the competition. Students were recognized at our annual banquet.”

Students worked from November to April putting together their comprehensive presentations, which featured specific uses for drone technology.

“They were all really good,” said HOU Administrative Manager Sarah Freddie, a program mentor. “What these young adults did was truly phenomenal.”

Enrichment for Our Future

The Aviation Club exposes students to many jobs that exist in the aviation and aerospace industries. In the school year, students are afforded visits and interactions with aviation-related facilities to meet workers and executives so they can get excited about pursuing career paths in the industry.

Houston Airports Aviation Director Mario Diaz had a vision to launch the club during the 2012 school year to plant seeds for future generations to enter aviation and aerospace careers. Dreaming of aviation when growing up in New York, he found early exposure to the industry critical for his career path.

"As a teenager," he said, "I became fascinated with aviation, and I enjoyed the journey I experienced as first a pilot and later an executive for airports in three major U.S. cities. My dream is to create a Houston-based initiative geared to fostering the passion for flying in the next generation of aviators and space pioneers."

During this school year, students visited: Space Center Houston; Lone Star Flight Museum; 1940 Air Terminal Museum; and the Texas Southern University (TSU) School of Aviation.

The projects and activities align with the mission of the Aviation Club to:

  • Create an educational and learning experience for students that ignites an interest in aerospace careers.
  • Promote student interest in pursuing a post-secondary degree in aerospace or aviation related careers at community colleges and universities with related degree disciplines.
  • Support greater Houston area students interested in aerospace and aviation careers.

Houston Airports Intern Program

Houston Airports is a proud supporter of the City of Houston's Hire Houston Youth program since its inception in 2016. By investing in the workforce of the future through its Intern Program, HAS introduces students to the exciting world of aviation and air travel while giving them the opportunity to be part of hands-on projects that develop the job skills they need.

“Each year we pick five outstanding Sterling Aviation High School students for part of our eight-week paid internship program,” said Singh.

Sterling Aviation High School Principal Sabrina Cuby-King said that she was thrilled with the support from Houston Airports and looked forward to working together to motivate, empower, and challenge the students for many years to come.

“The students were so energized and so passionate about what they were doing – the Aviation Club has been a tremendous asset to helping them aspire and achieve,” she said.

Over the past 2 years, Houston Airports developed a deeper relationship with Sterling Aviation High School and TSU. This relationship inspires and encourages young, eager students to pursue a career in aviation and aerospace.

“Since TSU is one of the few colleges in the U.S. with an aviation program, we partner with them to develop projects and give guidance to the students that attend the school,” said Singh.

TSU and Houston Airports have teamed up to develop successful programs for high school students to expose them to aviation and pique their interest in the industry.

“The Aviation Club provides the opportunity to plant the seed and teaches students that if opportunity does not knock, build a door,” said Houston Airports’ Chief Human Resources Officer Harleen Hines Smith. “It’s a unique opportunity to develop their professional skillset.”

For more information about the Aviation Club, click here.

For more information about the City of Houston's Hire Houston Youth program, visit: https://hirehoustonyouth.org/