Aviation has fascinated Elizabeth Phillips since she was a child. Her father, an aerospace engineer, shared his passion for aviation with her at an early age.
“As a kid, I grew up going to airshows and was interested in aviation,” said Phillips, a 22-year-old Norman native. “I also grew to have a love for airports.”
It was this love of airports, and what it took to make them function safely and successfully, that led the Aviation Management senior to the OU School of Aviation Studies.
“I chose the aviation program at OU because of their small class sizes and the ability to learn with more professor interaction,” she said.
As an undergraduate, Phillips has embraced every opportunity to not only excel in the classroom, but also to participate in a number of aviation-oriented student groups, serving as the current OU chapter president of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), the world's largest professional organization for airport executives, representing airport management personnel at public-use commercial and general aviation airports, and as former president of the OU chapter of the Student Air Traffic Control Association (SATCA).
“As the current AAAE chapter president, I help organize meetings and gain guest speakers,” she said. “I am also instrumental in providing resources for learning through AAAE and the opportunities they provide to aviation professionals.
“My experience with OU Aviation has been great. It is an amazing program with professors and staff who truly care about their students succeeding.”
“During my time as chapter president of SATCA, I was able to organize events with different organizations within aviation that allowed us to go on a tour to see their facility. I was also able to organize guest speakers to come and speak at our monthly meetings.”
Her dedication to her own academic success and her work as a leader among her peers earned her the distinction of Outstanding Senior in the College of Professional and Continuing Studies for 2020-21.
Phillips also played a key role during the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Region IV SAFECON, which was held at Max Westheimer Field in October 2019. As part of the host committee for that event, she and her colleagues were responsible for managing logistics for more than 100 collegiate pilots competing in a variety of flight and ground events during the weeklong event, which saw the OU Flying Sooners earn their first trip to nationals in more than three decades.
“It was a great experience being able to help our collegiate team and help run the airport on the days of the events,” she said, “as well as coordinate with other teams around the nation to come to compete at our university.”
Phillips is currently serving as an intern for the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, where she assists administrators at Oklahoma airports complete their 5010 inspections—the Federal Aviation Administration’s primary means for the collection, maintenance and dissemination of information about airports— and Aircraft Pilot Passenger Protection Act (APPPA) permits, which regulates the height of structures erected near public-use airports and military installations in the state, in addition to other duties.
It is a position that she credits the OU School of Aviation Studies for preparing her to handle.
“My experience with OU Aviation has been great,” she said. “It is an amazing program with professors and staff who truly care about their students succeeding.”
For more information about the degree programs offered by the OU School of Aviation Studies, visit pacs.ou.edu/aviation. To learn more about additional degree and certification programs available for working adults, visit pacs.ou.edu.