2019 Session Synopsis

Presenter: Nicole Nieto, PhD

Title: “You Don’t Look Like a Pilot”:  Examining Implicit Biases in Aviation and Beyond

This session will explore implicit biases that are prevalent in the aviation industry.  Challenges will be examined and strategies for interrupting biases will be shared.  The session will conclude with an open dialogue focused on bias as well as solutions for making positive impacts. 


Presenter: Kathleen Reiland, PhD

Title: Doing What Matters for Gender Equity in Aviation 

With only 4.4% of the airline transport pilots in the United States being female (FAA, 2018), this session will highlight the findings of a USC doctoral research on gender equity in aviation. The study investigated factors that influence the career choices of women in aviation and attributes that contribute to a women's ability to break from gendered norms. Students enrolled in a community college aviation program, including flight attendant and pilot students, completed a questionnaire and the General Self-Efficacy Scale. The Self-Efficacy Scale results were disaggregated by gender and career choice; then the results were compared to six female airline and military pilots, who also participated in qualitative interviews. Common themes emerged among the high achievers that enabled them to persevere as path-makers in non-traditional careers. As we approach the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, educators will hear recommendations for leveraging these themes with cultural power dynamics into teachable moments intended to tip the gender equity scale. The purpose of this session is to share ideas that may enable more diverse students to see how they might fit within a paradigm they never imagined for themselves. 


Presenter: Michele Summers Halleran

Institutional Affiliation: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Title: Female Pilot Recruitment in a Collegiate Professional Pilot Program

Women remain a minority of STEM workers in the United States (US) today. STEM refers to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Increasing the female student population at the university level should increase the female population in STEM fields. Although a higher percentage of bachelor’s degrees were awarded to females than to males in 2015–16 (58% compared to 42%), in STEM majors, a lower percentage of bachelor’s degrees were awarded to females than to males (36% compared to 64%). This development was observed across all ethnicities and racial groups (NCES, 2019).

While most non-STEM related industries have made significant efforts to attract women in the last few decades, the aviation industry is still severely lagging. The statistics for the number of pilots in the US show a gross disparity between genders. As of December 31, 2018, the percentage of total female pilots (not including certified flight instructors) in the US is 7.3%. The percentage of female certified flight instructors is 6.7%, while the percentage of female Airline Transport Pilots (ATPs) in the US is a paltry 4.4% (FAA, 2019). While the airline industry has suffered a pilot shortage over the last two years, the number of total ATPs has risen 9.7% to meet the demand. However, the female ATPs only increased from 4.36% to 4.40% from December 31, 2016 to December 31, 2018 (FAA, 2019).

 For the purpose of this research, aviation majors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) are considered STEM fields. In an effort to recruit more females into the Professional Pilot program at ERAU, all females in the Professional Pilot major will be surveyed to gain insight on motivational factors for choosing a STEM field as well as any experienced barriers. The data collected will be used to further develop outreach and recruitment programs to increase the number of female pilots at ERAU, thus increasing the female pilot percentage within the aviation industry.


Presenter: Daniel Juday

Title: Redefining the "Diversity Conversation"

There’s a lot of noise in our world today - a lot of voices from a lot of directions, telling us who to listen to, what to think, and how to act.  We’re going to try to cut through some of that noise. In this session, we’ll work to disrupt any misinformation about diversity, inclusion, and privilege. We’ll talk about what these words actually mean, and what they don’t, and will work together to find out what they mean to us. You can expect to have an opportunity to align your thinking around these terms in productive ways, and to connect these ideas to how you do your job every day, and who you do it with. 


Presenter: Amanda Aschaber

Institutional Affiliation: Seneca College

Title: Power-Struggles in the Classroom

How much of our pre-conceived biases influence our teaching methodologies? How many power struggles exist within the classroom and influence industry behaviour? What strategies can we use to eliminate this behaviour, and most importantly, how can we measure inclusive practice? This breakout session offers an interactive way to learn about multiple power-struggles that hinder a learner's experience. The discussion will focus on how this power struggles transfer into the work-place, specifically in the Aviation Industry. Educators and Industry representatives are invited to examine these struggles and discuss essential impacts.