KOSU 'learning lab' cultivates future aviation professionals

Posted: March 22, 2023
Junn Shimizu refueling an aircraft
Junnosuke Shimizu often refueled aircraft when he was a Line Service student assistant

The Ohio State University Airport is a learning lab for aviation students to gain more experience and resources to benefit themselves for their future careers. There are a wide range of student jobs, including in customer service, line service, avionics, aircraft maintenance and flight education dispatch.

Student employment opportunities have guided many of our previous students to their next steps within their career paths. Alumnus Junnosuke Shimizu, a former student employee at the airport, shared how working at the airport helped him develop the necessary skills and background to apply to his current job.

Shimizu started off as a customer service representative for the KOSU terminal. In this role, he worked with passengers and private flights, managed pilot requests, interfaced with the flight school and addressed any other needs of the pilots and crew. After a year he transferred to a line service job which gave him the opportunity to submerge himself into the “behind the scenes” operations of an airport.

Shimizu stated his main takeaway from being a student employee was that “it gave me a lot of good information to understand how pilots got to where they are. Me, being a first-generation pilot, I had limited information about what I should do to further my career. I was able to talk with those who are already industry and build connections as well.”

1987 flight team
Dale Gelter, third from right, as an Ohio State student in 1987

As of right now Shimizu is training to be a first officer for Endeavor Air, which provides connection flights for Delta Air Lines. If there is any opportunity to work within the industry “just take it, you never know where it might lead you,” Shimizu said.

Dale Gelter, the interim airport director for The Ohio State University Airport, started out as a services assistant and then continued to work almost every student employee job except for customer service. Gelter has worked at the airport since 1985 and has become the “top dog,” knowing all the ins-and-outs of airport operations.

What brought Gelter to the airport in the first place was his goal to have a career in aviation, know what it takes to make an airplane fly and the mechanics of running it. Thirty-eight years later Gelter ensures the safety and operations behind the third busiest airport in the state.

Tyler Burkhart at the Customer Service desk
Tyler Burkhart at the Customer Service desk

Gelter offers advice for current or future student employees at the airport, “the biggest thing is to stay open-minded and develop a good work ethic. Always strive to learn. I have learned so much from the different positions.”

Several of our current student employees interested in aviation chose to work at the airport to expand their knowledge within the field.

Customer Service Representative Tyler Burkhart is majoring in aviation at Ohio State. Burkhart says his decision to work at KOSU reinforces “how much I really like being at the airport seeing all the planes.”

Emma Eggeman, Line Services student assistant
Emma Eggeman, Line Services student assistant

Emma Eggeman is currently working in line service and is majoring in air transportation. Eggeman started out working at the restaurant right next door and realized that being an animal science major just wasn’t for her. She quickly fell in love with being around the airport atmosphere and decided to pick up a job at the airport so she could “get a better sense about how the airport operations worked.”

Adam Fredrick, who fulfills a substantial role in flight education dispatch, is currently enrolled at Ohio State for aviation through the College of Engineering. While working for the flight school Fredrick stated how important it is “to make connections and to network within the industry.”

Flight Education Dispatcher Adam Frederick
Flight Education Dispatcher Adam Frederick

Whether students are enrolled in KOSU’s flight education program or not, there are still plenty of jobs that provide students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the airport environment. There is also a chance to be a part of something much larger, a community. The Ohio State University Airport pushes students to learn, experience and grow by building relationships and connections with those in their field.

To learn more about student employee opportunities, please visit https://osuairport.org/welcome-ohio-state-university-airport/careers.

by Josie DeCaro, professional writing intern

Categories: StudentsPersonnel