Distinguished Lecture Series: Barrington Irving

The Blackwell Inn
The Blackwell Inn
2110 Tuttle Park Place
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Registration: Wed, Sep 6 2017, 1:30pm - Sat, Sep 30 2017, 11:30pm

Join us for Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Barrington Irving.  The event is co-hosted by the Center for Aviation Studies and College of Engineering.  


Agenda for the evening:

6:00 – 6:30p Keynote Address by Barrington Irving

6:30 - 7:30p  Panel Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion in the Aviation Industry.

  • Moderator:
    • Dr. Elizabeth K. Newton, Director of the Battelle Center
  • Panelists:
    • Captain Barrington Irving
    • Captain John C. Mitchell, President Tuskegee Airmen Inc. Ohio Memorial Chapter Retired American Airlines Pilot
    • Captain Bex Roman-Amador, JetBlue Airways, A320/321

    • First Officer David Pettet- Executive Director, National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA)

Please RSVP here by September 30, 2017


Barrington Irving Bio:

Captain Barrington Irving has traveled to 50 countries, conducted more than 30 STEM expeditions, and successfully challenged middle school students to build a car faster than a Ferrari 430 and then high schoolers to build a plane he flew on its test flight. In 2007, he set two world records—at age 23—as the youngest person and first black pilot to fly solo around the world. He has a passion to explore, inspire, and educate others. Now 33, Barrington is an explorer that investigates real world STEM problems across the globe. Launched in 2014, the Flying Classroom is a K-8 STEM+ digital curriculum that challenges students to design innovative solutions to the problems he investigates.

Before launching the Flying Classroom, Barrington created a nonprofit, Experience Aviation, which offers hands-on, STEM-based programs and career guidance to middle and high school students in Florida, Texas, Georgia and Detroit.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica and brought up in inner-city Miami, Barrington was inspired to pursue aviation at age 15, when a Jamaican airline pilot offered to mentor him.  He rejected college football scholarships to pursue a career in STEM and never looked back.

A Magna Cum Laude graduate of Florida Memorial University, Barrington was the recipient of a Congressional Resolution acknowledging his pioneering work in aviation education.  He received the Guinness World Record as the youngest person to fly solo around the world and was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2012. 

Bex Roman-Amador Bio: 

Captain Becky Roman-Amador has over 13 years experience as a professional pilot and is currently a line Captain for JetBlue Airways out of JFK in New York.  As an Airline Transport licensed (ATP) pilot, she has logged over 5,000 flight hours and is type rated in the CL-65, A-320/321, B-737NG, and B-777 aircraft.  Captain Roman-Amador completed her initial flight requirements through the Wright-Patterson AFB Aero Club in Dayton, Ohio. Upon attaining the required flight hours, she started her career as a regional airline pilot at Mesa Airlines flying out of IAD in Washington, DC.


Captain Roman-Amador holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Wright State University and is currently working on a second Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. She is also a retired Major having served 26 years with the United State Air Force National Guard.  She is a native of Ohio and currently lives in Columbus.

David Pettet Bio:

The National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA), has been under the leadership of Executive Director, David Pettet, since late 2014. Since then, the NGPA has grown from 500 members to serving nearly 4000 constituents, made of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender (LGBT) and straight allies in the global aviation community. NGPA's mission is to build, support, and unite the LGBT aviation community worldwide. Over the last few years, NGPA has brought onboard over 20 sponsors made up of airlines, NBAA, OBAP, and AOPA. In 2017, the NGPA has given away over $100,000 in scholarships, including cash and type ratings. 

In 2017, the NGPA hosted its first Diversity and Inclusion Summit specific for airline flight operations and pilot unions to address homophobia and transphobia in the flight deck and the effects that it can have on communication and safety. The NGPA will be hosting its second Diversity and Inclusion Summit in February 2018, which will extend beyond the airlines in all facets of aviation professions. 

David Pettet's love for aviation started at the age of 5, with no family in aviation. Fortunately, his parents recognized that unique spark and love for flying, and encouraged him to pursue his dream. At the young age of 19, David landed his first Part 121 airline job, and since then has flown for 5 airlines, before joining American Airlines in 2016. David has flown both domestic and international operations with type ratings on A330, BE1900D, CRJ200/700/900, Saab 340, ERJ-145, ERJ170/190, B757/767, B717 and will soon be training on the B737. Potentially with 35 years left of an airline career, it's safe to say the list of aircraft will continue to grow. 

David's mutual passion for flying and fighting for inclusion of the LGBT community takes the co pilot seat to his fiancée Brandon Richards. Brandon is a senior IT consultant for a financial software firm based in Chicago. David and a Brandon recently were engaged and spend the majority of their time in Minneapolis, MN where they are raising their 10 month old orange tabby, Piper. 

John Mitchell Bio:

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 the New American Airlines. He remains an active pilot with this company. 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.

Elizabeth Newton Bio:

Elizabeth K. Newton, Ph.D. Director, Battelle Center for Science and Technology Policy, John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Dr. Newton earned her bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University and a certificate in international relations from l’lnstitut de Hautes Etudes Internationales, in Geneva, Switzerland where she also interned at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Her advanced degrees include a master’s degree in political science from the University of California Berkeley and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in solar astrophysics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where she was supported by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and NASA. 

For more information about this event contact Dr. Shannon Morrison at morrison.413@osu.edu