Rachael Tracey ’14, MBA ’16

When Rachael Tracey ’14, MBA ’16, was in the third grade, she went with her father to “Bring Your Kid to Work Day.” Fascinated by the controllers working planes in some of the busiest airspace in the world, she knew at that moment this is what she wanted to do when she got older.

“Though my role in the aviation industry is small right now, one day, I want to play a big role in safely getting people to their destinations,” says Rachael. “Flight is an incredible thing. I want to make sure business professionals get to their office meeting on time every Monday morning and families arrive safely to their summer vacation.”

Unfortunately, women currently represent a small percentage in the aviation industry. “I was oftentimes the only woman in my aviation classes,” says Rachael. “It is a great industry to enter, and we are luckily starting to see more women take interest in aviation. There are many female aviation professionals who have accomplished great things, paved the way and inspired young women with big dreams, like myself.”

“Here in Aviation, we want to attract and encourage a diverse group of students – especially women – to be a part of all these great programs we have to offer,” says Chair of the Aviation and Transportation Studies Department, Eric Jones.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science and working as a as a Dispatcher for the Windy City Flyers at the Chicago Executive Airport, she continued her education in the Master of Business Administration program at Lewis in 2014, concentrating in Human Resources Management. Working as a Graduate Assistant for University Advancement, she graduated in 2016.

Shortly after receiving her MBA, Rachael started working for Science Applications International Corporations (SAIC) as a Remote Pilot Operator. In this role, she participates in training scenarios with Air Traffic Controllers by using computer-generated simulations and voice communication systems.

“Through this job, I have had an opportunity to learn so much more about being an Air Traffic Controller, which is what I aspire to be,” says Rachael. “Every day, I am working with experienced controllers who are willing to answer any questions I may have. Being around these professionals every day makes me more excited to be one in the future.”

While learning various aspects of aviation and completing a 120-hour internship, she also had the opportunity to visit Air Traffic Control facilities such as Chicago TRACON, the O’Hare Tower and the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora. She had the chance to join clubs, network with professionals in the aviation industry and make lifelong friends.

A devoted and hardworking young woman, her education at Lewis began with attending the Aviation Career Day at the University as a senior in high school. After listening to all of the aviation professionals, Rachael felt inspired and made the decision to become a Flyer in 2010. Rachael took advantage of everything Lewis had to offer to her as a young woman, and became immersed in aviation both in her education and professionally. She was a member of Women in Aviation, sister of Theta Kappa Pi sorority, volunteer for University Ministry, Resident Assistant and student worker for Lewis University Phonathon.

She feels that she made an excellent decision in choosing to become a Lewis University Flyer, and is grateful for all of the experiences she had. “Through the organizations I participated in, the professors I learned from and the students I met, I expanded my horizons, matured, and discovered who I am and the person I truly want to be (as cheesy as that sounds),”  says Rachael proudly.

“Lewis’ faith-based mission and faculty and staff member’s dedication to students fostered my growth as both an individual and a professional,” Rachael adds.

A devoted young woman, Rachael is working hard to achieve her dream job as an Air Traffic Controller. “It is never too early to start preparing for you career,” says Rachael. “You can and will arrive at your dream job, but you have to put in the work during your journey to that final destination.” 

August 2016

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