Autumn Allinson is a senior in the aviation technology maintenance management program at Utah State University. Recently, Allinson was awarded two scholarships through the Women In Aviation International adding up to $10,000 in total.
As a result, Allinson will graduate in the spring without any student debt.
“They put the money directly into my USU account so it will pay off my tuition. When I graduate, I get the remainder to pay off other loans. Thanks to both of these scholarships, I get to graduate without any college debt,” she said.
Allinson is originally from Goshen, Utah. She loves to read and draw but her greatest passion is airplanes and more specifically, what makes them function. She first became interested in how different technologies works when she was a little girl.
“I’ve been tearing things apart ever since I was little. My poor mom — I don’t think she had a working vacuum cleaner or remote my whole childhood. I got better at putting it back together over time, thank goodness,” she said. “It’s just always been something I’ve really liked. I figured aircraft maintenance would be a new challenge, especially because I really liked turbine engines. They were really interesting to me from the beginning.”
Allinson is involved with both the Women in Aviation chapter and the Society of Aviation Maintenance Professionals on campus.
“I’ve been really involved in the clubs that the university has. I’m currently the president of SAMP. We do a lot of really fun activities so we get lots of experience meeting people and talking with professionals in our field,” she said. “I’m also a part of the Women in Aviation chapter which is where I’ve gotten the scholarships. They go to this amazing conference every year where you get to network with all of these outstanding companies.”
She will be attending the Women in Aviation International conference in Orlando, Florida in March of this year.
“In the case of Utah State, we always send scholarship winners to the conference. There’s actually a scholarship from the university to attend the conference. We have a booth there to give out information about the university and about our program so we actually have the chance to do a little PR for the school while we are there,” she said.
This conference is not the first time Allinson has had experience with different professional aviation companies. Just last year, Allinson had the opportunity to participate in two different training programs.
“I actually had the opportunity to do a training program with Pratt & Whitney Engines out in Connecticut where I worked on their engines for two weeks. Then I did one with Southwest Airlines the following month where I did their turbine engines and 737. The engine side is definitely my thing,” she said.
During the conference, Allinson will have the opportunity to meet with a lot of professionals in the field.
“Delta is going to be taking me out to dinner with their executives so I get to meet and greet the higher ups. Hopefully I will have the chance to hand out some business cards and resumes which will help give me some prospective job opportunities two months before I graduate,” she said. “Then there is a big awards dinner on Saturday night where I’ll get up on stage with them and they’ll announce my scholarships.”
With a humble spirit and a fun-l
oving attitude, Allinson joked about the potential downfalls of what could happen at the conference.
“It’s really scary to walk across stage and hope that you don’t fall on your face in front of everyone who could potentially give you a job. I’m kind of a clutz, so it’s a genuine fear,” she said with a laugh.
Professor Andreas Wesemann has had the opportunity to work with Allinson in classes as well as through the Women in Aviation chapter for which he is the advisor.
“Autumn is so positive and energetic that you can’t but help to feel better about your day. She loves life, airplanes and learning. She is not afraid to step up to help others and she is genuine in her gift of time to others,” he said. “She has a smile that will brighten your day, and is very positive about her education and learning. She is well prepared and has earned an ‘A’ in every class she has had with me. Autumn is an active participant in class and takes every lesson seriously, by delving into the subject matter and going the extra mile.”
Wesemann feels Allinson earned every dollar of the scholarships through her hard work and positive attitude.
“Autumn was selected for not only her scholastic achievement, but most importantly, her leadership and support in several university level aviation extra-curricular activities. She is the current President of SAMP and has helped to set up tours and activities for our program,” he said. “She was on the national championship Aircraft of Ground Maintenance team from USU at the Collegiate level. She has given back to the program; she serves the organizations she belongs to; she looks out for others; and she is passionate about aviation and helping others believe that they can do it too.”
Allinson is grateful for the opportunities she has had as a result of Women in Aviation and SAMP.
“It’s going to make me stand out in interviews in the future. I would love to just get my name out there. I would love to get in an interview and have them ask, ‘was that you on stage?’ I’m definitely happy to be getting my name out there to companies,” she said.
Allinson has big dreams for where she will go after graduating from USU in May.
“It’s major airline or bust. I want one of the big leagues. I don’t really want to start with a small regional airline. I want Delta, Southwest or American Airlines. If possible, I would love to jump into a management job with them,” she said.
Chris Bracken, also a senior in the aviation maintenance management program, has had the opportunity to work with Allinson in clubs and classes throughout their time here at USU. Bracken believes that Allinson will go far because of her outstanding work ethic.
“She is very hardworking, outgoing and intelligent. She goes beyond just getting ‘C’s for degrees’ and strives to do her best in everything,” he said.
Bracken has enjoyed working with Allinson through their time in the SAMP club because of her positive and loving attitude.
“She has a very positive attitude, is always happy and smiling. She cares for other students’ success as well as her own,” he said.
Professor Wesemann believes that with students like Allinson, more diversity will be brought to USU’s aviation maintenance program.
“As a female in a predominately male profession, she is helping to overcome stereotypes and bring diversity to our program. She is more than deserving of the recognition she has received and gives hope to others that they can do the same,” he said. “Autumn has talked to many young girls who are looking into aviation and encouraged them to not let anyone hold them from achieving their dream. Her legacy will be lasting and her influence strong.”