External Aviation Advisory Board

The External Aviation Advisory Board provides guidance and advice to both the Center for Aviation Studies and the Air Transportation Campus which includes The Ohio State University Airport.  The EAAB was constituted in March 2021, and is overseen by John Horack, Ph.D., Director, Center for Aviation Studies and Senior Associate Dean for the College of Engineering; and Stephanie Morgan, the Executive Director of the Ohio State Air Transportation Campus. 

The EAAB will focus its efforts on four main areas:

  • Continually improving the student experience
  • Strengthen the breadth and impact of our research
  • Building stronger relationships and partnering across our entire stakeholder landscape
  • Building a better community

The EAAB members are selected for their diversity in roles across the aviation industry, and their unique ability to provide their perspectives on how to accomplish the Board's objectives.

EAAB Members

Biographies for each member can be found below.

Vanessa Blacknall-Jamison: AFB Change Management Services Group, Federal Aviation Administration

Mary Johnson: Professor, Purdue University

Sean Kennedy: Vice President of Operations, NetJets

John Mitchell: Captain (retired), American Airlines

Scott Van Ooyen: Standards Check Airmen, Southwest Airlines

Andrew Pierce: First Officer, Delta Air Lines, and Lt. Col. U.S. Air Force Reserves

Adam Stiffler: Corporate Pilot, Cardinal Health

Claudia Zapata-Cardone: Captain, United Airlines

Christian Studt: Student representative, a 4th-year student majoring in air transportation.


Ohio State Aviation Members

John Horack: Director and Professor, Center for Aviation Studies; Senior Associate Dean, Ohio State College of Engineering

Stephanie Morgan: Executive Director, Ohio State Air Transportation and Aerospace Campus

Rod Borden: Lecturer and Senior Advisor, Center for Aviation Studies

Shannon Morrison: Assistant Director of Academics and Assessment, Center for Aviation Studies

Brian Strzempkowski: Assistant Director, Center for Aviation Studies



Vanessa Blacknall-Jamison: AFB Change Management Services Group, Federal Aviation Administration

Vanessa has over 44 years of professional aviation experience with 28 of those as a manager and supervisor. Currently, Vanessa is a Change Advisor and Leadership Coach (ACC) – AFB Change Management Services Group for the Federal Aviation Administration. Vanessa currently serves as the Chair for the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) Board of Advisors and she previously served as OBAP’s first non-pilot Chair Board of Directors. She currently serves on the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Foundation Board of Trustees, Ohio State University – External Aviation Advisory Board and Utah Valley University – Aviation Advisory Board. Vanessa holds an M.B.A and earned her B.A. – Public Relations from University of Southern California. She is Associate Coaching Certification (ACC) from the International Coach Federation (ICF), certified Prosci Change Management Practitioner (CMP) and Change Management Train-the-Trainer. Vanessa was an adjunct professor for the University of Colorado – Denver, teaching Organizational Health and Public Speaking.

Vanessa resides in Denver, Colorado, married to Tony (36 years) and is truly the proud mother of two adult children and two grand dogs!

Mary Johnson: Professor, Purdue University

Dr. Mary E. Johnson is Professor and Associate Head for Graduate Studies in the School of Aviation & Transportation Technology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. She earned her BS, MS, and PhD in Industrial Engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington. Before joining Purdue in 2007, she gained a combined total of 19 years of experience focused on aerospace design and manufacturing at an aerospace company and at a university applied research institute in Texas. Dr. Johnson delivered dozens of applied research projects and developed courses for industrial and agency personnel in lean six sigma, supply chain management, process analysis and improvement, and design of experiments.

In 2004, she joined the faculty at Texas A&M – Commerce as an Industrial Engineering assistant professor. Dr. Johnson serves as Executive Editor of the Journal of Aviation Technology & Engineering, and as a Purdue site director of the FAA Center of Excellence for general aviation research known as PEGASAS. By combining her human factors, automation, systems modeling, and statistical experience, her research interests are data driven research and analysis to improve aviation safety and sustainability. Recent projects are in the areas of aviation fuel materials tests, flight data analysis, airline and airport sustainability, and development of weather technology in the GA cockpit. She co-leads the Purdue Polytechnic Institute Research Impact Area for Holistic Safety and Security. She currently serves as President for the University Aviation Association. She is actively involved in the American Society of Engineering Education’s Illinois/Indiana Section and is a board member-at-large in the Aerospace Division.

Sean Kennedy: Vice President of Operations, NetJets

John Mitchell: Captain (retired), American Airlines

Captain John C. Mitchell is a son of an Original Tuskegee Airman.

He is a graduate of Columbus East High School and earned his Bachelors degree from
Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force,
John completed Undergraduate Pilot Training and earned his Air Force Wings April 1976 at
Williams AFB, Arizona. Based at Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA, John flew the Lockheed C-141
Starlifter throughout Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa in the late 1970s. After leaving
Active Duty, Captain Mitchell continued service to his country in the Air Force Reserves
flying the C-5 Galaxy, the largest cargo aircraft in the world. After spending a short time
with the FAA, Captain Mitchell was hired by US Airways in 1983 which is now a part of
American Airlines. He has been a Captain for the airline since 1988 and has flown
commercially the:

  • Boeing 727
  • British Aerospace Corporation BAC-111
  • McDonald Douglas DC-9
  • Boeing 737
  • Airbus 319, 320, & 321
  • Boeing 757 & 767

Captain Mitchell has also been the owner operator of a Uniglobe Travel Agency, a
participant with US Airways Impression of Excellence campaign, a part of the Air Line Pilots
Association Professional Standards Committee in Washington DC.

Scott Van Ooyen: Standards Check Airmen, Southwest Airlines

Scott Van Ooyen is a Buckeye to the core! He graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Aviation Engineering in 1987 and served as a flight instructor. Beginning as a pilot for Midway Connection, and Air Wisconsin, his path eventually led him to joining Southwest Airlines in 1993. He is now a Standards Check Airman for the airline and has been with the airline 28 years.

During that time, Scott also served as the coach of the Ohio State Flight Team from 1987-2021. He has been involved with the National Intercollegiate Flying Association since 1987, and is a past President of the Ohio State Aviation Alumni Society. Additionally, he served as an Adjunct Lecturer at Ohio State teaching an aerodynamics course.

Scott has always been committed to the Ohio State Aviation program, and continues to guest speak several times per year in aviation courses.

Andrew Pierce: First Officer, Delta Air Lines, and Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force Reserves

Andrew Pierce is a Delta Air Lines First Officer, and an Officer in the United States Air Force Reserves. He has 20+ years of flying experience to include experience in general aviation and corporate operations.

As a 2001 graduate of The Ohio State University, Andrew earned his degree in Aviation Aircraft Systems. His flight training was conducted at The Ohio State University Airport, Don Scott Field, through the instruction of The Ohio State University Flight Education Program. Andrew went on to earn his Flight Instructor Certification, to include Instrument and Multi-Engine Instructor certification, and instructed many aviation students within the Ohio State Flight Education program at Don Scott Field, and at John Glenn International Airport for NetJets Flight School, also located in Columbus Ohio. In addition to his time at Ohio State, Andrew was also an All-American Track and Field Athlete, earning multiple National and Big-Ten awards in the sprint events, in addition to representation on various United States National Teams in Track and Field in international competitions in late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

In 2004, Andrew commissioned to join the United States Air Force Reserves. Currently holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Andrew is a Command Pilot having conducted many missions on the Air Forces’ heavy airlift aircraft, the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster, to many parts of the world participating in various military operations and humanitarian relief efforts. He is currently an Assistant Chief and Evaluator Pilot for the 89th Airlift Squadron, which is part of the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright Patterson Air Force Base located in Dayton, Ohio.

In 2014, Andrew joined Delta Air Lines as a First Officer and has flown the recently retired McDonald Douglas (MD)-88/90 and the Boeing 737-700,800,900. He has been based in Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, the busiest airport in the world.

Andrew currently resides in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, Dr. Tina Piece, and there four children, Andrew II, Malcolm, Catherine, and Michelle.

Adam Stiffler: Corporate Pilot, Cardinal Health

Adam graduated OSU in 2005 with a BS in Aviation Systems (ENG), has worked as an aerial photographer, an airline pilot for PSA Airlines, and currently calls Cardinal Health's aviation department home, planning and flying missions for the executive management. He also serves
as a board member for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association and previously helped lead the OSU Flight Team Team that hosted two NIFA national competitions at Ohio State. 

He presently serves as President of the OSU Aviation Alumni Society.

Claudia Zapata-Cardone: Captain, United Airlines

Claudia Zapata-Cardone is a pilot at United Airlines based in Newark, New Jersey. She has over 26 years of experience in the airline industry. Claudia holds a BS - Aviation Science from Utah Valley University. Claudia has been active in several organizations throughout her aviation career to include; Latino Pilots Association (LPA), Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP), Women in Aviation (WAI), and International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISA+21). She is the Executive Director of Community Outreach for the LPA, serves on the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Horizons Summer STEAM Camp and serves on The Ohio State University External Aviation Advisory Board. Claudia also serves on ALPA’s Presidents Committee for Diversity and Inclusion (PCDI). The goal of the PCDI is to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive union, where future aviators will feel valued and are encouraged to bring their authentic self to their workplace. 

Claudia lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Stephen and their two dogs, Lola and

Christian Studt: Student representative, a 4th-year student majoring in air transportation.

If you want to find Christian Studt, you must go to the OSU airport. Christian is a 4th year Air Transportation Major at the Ohio State University. He plans to graduate in August 2021 with a well-rounded education which includes a Bachelor of Arts, a minor in geography and economics as well as his Certified Flight Instructor certificate and Dispatcher Certificate. With a passion for knowledge and a desire to help the communities that gave him everything, Mr. Studt has landed some important positions for his future. As a flight student, he “lives” at the airport which got him a position as a dispatcher, assisting other student pilots get off the ground as well as informing the future generations of buckeye aviators. His passion has gotten him involved in many organizations where he is able to make a difference in the aviation community at OSU. First, Mr. Studt started off with becoming a general member of Alpha Eta Rho in August of 2017, a national aviation fraternity, which works to introduce like-minded aviation enthusiasts to each other and to all the opportunities available in aviation. Wanting to make more of a difference, Christian was appointed the President of the Center of Aviation Studies Student Association starting in July 2020. With this position, he has the ability to unify the aviation community at Ohio State as well as promote the program to the new era of Buckeyes. And with that position he was given an invitation to his current position as a two-year member of the Ohio State University External Aviation Advisory Board, dedicated to making a difference and give the students of the Center for Aviation Studies the best college experience possible.

After graduation, Christian hopes to stay at OSU and be a flight instructor to build up his flight time as well as teach the new generation of buckeye aviators. Once he has earned all the flight time he needs, he wants to move on to the regional airlines and eventually end up as a professional pilot for Southwest Airlines. With this, he will have achieved all of his childhood dreams of graduating a pilot, from Ohio State and ending up with the airline I have always I wanted. Christian wants to do everything he can to give back to those that have helped him, and he will do everything he can to make this so.

Work Hard and Do What you Believe, and your Dreams will Come True!