Profile | Gabrielle "Gabby" Escudero
I came to SIU in the fall of 2016 from my hometown of Aurora, IL after earning an associate’s degree at the College of DuPage. Up until my sophomore year of high school, I planned on being a high school teacher, but after sitting in the back seat of a discovery flight with my dad, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life flying. Despite being unsure of what becoming a pilot might entail at first, my family has been so patient and supportive throughout my time here at SIU, and I am so thankful for them. I am currently working towards my Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management and Associate of Applied Sciences in Aviation Flight, as well as earning my instrument rating.
Initially, I didn’t plan on getting involved with student organizations or doing anything other than studying for classes when I came to SIU. But then a friend invited me to join Alpha Eta Rho (AHP), the co-ed international aviation fraternity, and I loved it so much that it made me want to get more involved within the communities of SIU, Carbondale, and aviation. AHP has provided great opportunities to tour different airports, network with various airlines, participate in volunteer activities, and connect with some wonderful students and alumni whom I would not have met otherwise. Besides joining AHP, I also decided to become a part of Women in Aviation and the Student Leadership Honors Society. These student organizations have allowed me to work on bettering my leadership and communication skills, having held positions such as chapter president, vice-president, treasurer, and historian of AHP and chapter president and vice-president of Women in Aviation. The amazing people I have had the privilege of meeting through these organizations have become some of the most important people in my life, and have helped me become a better student, pilot, and individual.
An issue that has become very important to me since coming to SIU is the advancement of women and other minorities in aviation and STEM fields. Women in Aviation does a fantastic job of reaching out to girls interested in aviation through events like Girls in Aviation Day and the International Women in Aviation Conference, and I am working on getting more involved with these types of outreach in order to help encourage young women to pursue a career or an interest in these fields. This summer I will have the privilege of competing in the 2018 Air Race Classic as a part of SIU’s team, The Saluki Aces. The Air Race Classic is an all-women air race dedicated to encouraging and educating current and future female pilots, as well as preserving and promoting the tradition of pioneering women in aviation. I could not be more excited to participate in this race and to be able to meet and compete with so many brilliant female pilots dedicated to furthering women in aviation!
Next spring, I hope to graduate SIU and build flight time through flight instructing. After that, my career goal is to fly for UPS or United, and to ultimately get to a place in life where I can be an advocate for young women in STEM fields and help encourage them in the way that so many strong female role models in my life have encouraged me.