Written by Lucy Elias
Richard Branson once said, “there is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passion in a way that serves the world and you.”
Growing up with an opportunity to frequently travel have always given me a sense of freedom and of purpose. I started collecting airline memorabilia and model planes from my flights at the age of eleven (11) years old. I never told my friends how fascinated I was with planes and how I loved Lego. I was so afraid that they would think that I am a weirdo or a freak because it was uncommon for girls to be interested in that at the time.
As I was trying to decide on which career to pursue during my junior and senior years, my parents were really keen in sending me to a business or law school. But this is completely different from what I had in mind. I always wanted to be the kind of engineer who can make a difference and create a ripple effect on others.
Luckily, two (2) of my closest aunties had my back. One took me for a ride to visit some aviation schools in Manila to give me a perspective if I would like the environment.
In October 1999, the other sent me a card with a message: “Never think that if you decide on something, we will love you less, because that’s not true… If you like aero engineering, you can take something close to it and then you can have further studies for Aero here [in the States] later after you graduate in engineering.” Who would have thought that she is the same aunt who gave me my first T-square when I was four (4) years old? With that support in my heart and mind, I decided to take up engineering in 2000 and, eventually, landed in a career in Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul (MRO) and later, in an airline.
Twenty-two 22 years after designing my original flight plan, I am now about to embark on a journey towards a graduate degree in aviation. Aviation to me is something like what one of my college professors would also probably describe, “developed beyond profit, but of purpose.”
I am sharing this part of me because I want young girls out there to follow their passion for engineering and aviation. It is true that you may need to work extra harder than the others. You may be facing a lot of challenges, but there will always be people in your lives who will go an extra mile to support you. Have faith and simply, never give up!