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Turning gray skies blue

A student wearing a pilot headset standing on an Ohio State training aircraft, and holding a sign stating "you're making someone proud".
ASAPS and Flight Education personnel aim to promote a positive culture among staff and students.

Though it started as a simple conversation about supporting aviation students, the Aviation Student Advocacy & Peer Support Organization quickly blossomed into a group that brings students together and advocates for those in the Flight Education program at The Ohio State University.

The Aviation Student Advocacy & Peer Support Organization, ASAPS for short, is a student organization focused on providing information about Ohio State’s Flight Education program, answering any student questions and preventing the spread of misinformation.

Third-year air transportation student and ASAPS President Abby Stockmeier worked alongside former Flight Program Manager Katy Federer-Karst to get the group up and running. The two wanted to create a community that informed students about the flight program and provided supportive resources, and ASAPS was officially launched in the fall of 2023.

“ASAPS is a place where anyone can come with any concerns or problems and find people that are willing to help them and want to make these connections,” Stockmeier said.

The organization is open to all enrolled Ohio State students, including both current and prospective members of the Flight Education program. Meeting attendees can expect to hear from different speakers, learn more about Ohio State’s Flight Education program, connect with other students and gain access to mental health resources.

“This peer-to-peer support helps bridge the gap between students and Flight Ed staff to best assist answering those questions or bringing light to those student concerns,” said Samuel Pritchard, Flight Education Associate Manager and Advisor for ASAPS.

Along with serving as a student support system, one of the group’s biggest initiatives is providing mental health resources that are aviation centered due to the large mental health stigma within the aviation industry, according to Stockmeier. For some students, worry about obtaining the Federal Aviation Administration’s required pilot medical certificate can cause stress, or misinformation can lead to coping with mental health issues on their own.

Ohio State training aircraft N90SU in flight with blue skies

“I think it’s important that we do what we can to bring awareness to that and also give resources to students that are struggling or don’t know where to go,” she said.

Right now, ASAPS connects students with mental health resources provided by the university, but both Stockmeier and Pritchard say they hope to expand what is available.

“I am working on getting some more aviation-specific mental health resources because it’s a little different than what someone who’s not in the field would deal with,” Stockmeier said.

Pritchard added that the club hopes to put on workshops with Ohio State’s Counseling and Consultation Service, connect students with informational pieces on mental health stigmas within aviation and pilot medicals, and speak with larger companies in the aviation industry on what kinds of mental health resources they provide.

For more information on ASAPS, visit their Instagram @fly.asaps.osu where they frequently post updates on the organization and information on student inquiries.

by Lizzie Eidt, professional writing intern

Three students sitting and one staff member standing while talking in the flight education lobby.
ASAPS members, seated left to right, Dali Denison, Emma Rubino and Abby Stockmeier talk with group advisor Samuel Pritchard, Flight Education associate manager, in the Flight Education lobby.
Category: Students