2019 UD Graduate, Double Major – Aviation Management & Flight Operations
Alicia Loes, a May 2019 graduate with a double major in Flight Operations and Aviation Management, grew up on a farm in a small Iowa town, not far from Dubuque. Her interest in aviation was sparked by her mother, who worked at a UPS cargo facility at the Cedar Rapids airport. Alicia would visit this facility as a kid, and visited again in 2012 before a trip to Brazil, where she met an inspiring pilot.
Before arriving at the University of Dubuque, she tried the Air Force, but ultimately decided that going to UD was the better fit for her- it is close to home, and so well-known. Her first memory of UD is from when visiting campus after she was accepted to UD, she met with the Director of the Aviation Department who offered to let her fly a plane on the spot. While on campus, her most memorable class has been Res104 (Introduction to Research Writing). Her first flight experience happened right here at UD, and her first solo flight “was a personal journey for [her].” She is not AER, but is the President of WIA, where she helps organize a “Girls in Aviation Day” with local 4th and 5th grade classes. Her Apex topic is NextGen technology in air traffic control towers and aircraft.
When asked about the ratio of women to men in the UD Aviation department, Alicia feels it’s at approx. 9%, but that might change with new incoming class. “It always feels like I’m at a boys club…it is not intentional. It is definitely something I thought about before I even came here”. She continued to discuss the gender imbalance in the field during her interview, and when asked “Do you talk about it with other women here?”, she responded, “I think it is an unspoken reality, we don’t need to talk about it, because we already know we are working hard to change it”.
Two of Alicia’s inspirations are Polly Kadolph and Kim Bruggenwirth: “Polly Kadolph- she was there for me my first year here. She’s my advisor, I had her as a professor, but also just as a really powerful figure for me on campus. She’s just so inspiring, she’s so easy to talk to. I had the opportunity to work for Kim Bruggenwirth out at the airport- She’s just so compassionate and knows so much about the program.”
In the end, Alicia would like to follow her mother’s footsteps and land a job in cargo, particularly with UPS. This direction is both appealing to her, and she feels it is a more stable part of the airlines. She feels strongly that the UD Aviation program will help her to meet this goal: “The amount of non-aviation related things that you learn on top of it really set you up for success – the professionalism, ethics, time management…”
“I just love the aviation department, the faculty, I just love them. I have personal relationships with each of them and I love it, it is like a small family.”