From June 18 through 25, three current Polk State Aerospace students— Tyler Moore, Jeremy King and Geovanni Vega-Facundo— and two recent graduates — Aaron Poidevin and Karissa Strickland— will join faculty, staff, and community leaders on a business-initiatives trip to the 2017 Paris Air Show in France.
This trip is a collaborative effort among community partners with a vision for growing the aerospace industry in Polk County. Participants will visit the show for three trade-only days and attend industry-specific seminars to learn current and future trends. Community partners will also gain exposure to over 2,000 exhibitors and 145,000 business attendees from all over the world, allowing them to network and establish future business relationships. Polk State Aerospace Program students will assist Polk’s community partners with their presentations, as well as other trade show activities.
“We are very excited to collaborate with community partners who will send representatives from the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, the Winter Haven Economic Development Council, and the Central Florida Development Council,” said Eric Crump, Program Director for the Polk State Aerospace Program. “The trip will explore expanded community investment possibilities in the aerospace industry and provide opportunities for our students to engage with a variety of stakeholders.”
For students, the trip will expose them to the globalized breadth of the aerospace industry, including its impact. Students will also meet representatives of global leaders in aerospace, aviation, defense, maintenance, and technology.
“I am very excited about what we will see during the week,” said student Tyler Moore. “Aerospace companies such as Boeing often bring the newest and most advanced jets to this event. Those will be on display at the show.”
Aaron Poidevin, a recent graduate of Polk State, is looking forward to bringing new ideas to the local market.
“This trip is an opportunity to expand our knowledge of the aviation and aerospace industry,” he said. “I am looking forward to broadening my horizons and bringing more opportunities to Lakeland and to Polk County.”
Trip co-leader, Robb Williams, Executive Director of the Aerospace Center for Excellence at Sun-n-Fun, sees this as an opportunity to showcase Polk State on a global level.
“At Polk State, our number one priority is preparing students for success in the workforce,” he said. “I believe this trip will allow the College to showcase our talent on a global level. Our students are prepared for a variety of careers in the aerospace industry, and through this event, businesses from around the world will have an opportunity to meet our students and see first-hand what it means to do business here with an established and prepared workforce.”
For Geovanni Vega-Facundo, this will be his first trip out of country.
“My trip includes an internship with the Central Florida Development Council (CFDC), where I will be helping with its trade programs and participating in its meetings,” he said. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to meet new people and to have a chance to participate in these economic development meetings. I will get to be part of a team that brings innovation to Polk County.”
Graduate Karissa Strickland says, “At Polk State College, we have had the opportunity to forge our own paths within the parameters of the Aerospace Program. This is just another way students can take advantage of what the program offers— opportunities to lead, engage, and learn from global aerospace leaders.”
The collaboration has also garnered attention and support from Congressman Darren Soto, who recently toured the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport and Winter Haven Municipal Airport.
“I wholeheartedly support the addition of your students and instructors from Polk State’s Aerospace program to the delegation attending the Paris Air Show as an educational mission, especially considering the many ways that Polk State continues to serve the community,” said Soto in a letter to President Eileen Holden. “These students, under the instruction of Eric Crump and Robb Williams, will return with a broader understanding of the impact of aviation in the global economy. The trip will help them apply the theoretical knowledge obtained in academic courses and make connections with future mentors and employers, some of whom will hopefully relocate to central Florida and create jobs. The Paris Air Show educational mission will show the global aviation community what Central Florida and Polk County have to offer.”
In addition to networking and learning career-specific information, students will also gain knowledge that can prove useful in other areas of their personal or professional lives.
“Students have to consider a variety of things as they embark on a study-abroad program,” said Global Initiatives Coordinator, Kim Simpson. “Among those are how to budget and use foreign currency; properly communicate in a different language; respect a different culture; and navigate international airports, customs, security and more. These trips are educational on many levels.”
Students and partners may also choose to participate in cultural excursions such as a visit to the French Aviation Museum, The Louvre, and a “free day” visit to the City on their own.
More information about Polk State’s Global Studies Program is available at: https://www.polk.edu/institute-for-global-initiatives/study-abroad/.