University Aviation Association elects new officers

Dr. Julie Speakes of Delta State University recently assumed the University Aviation Association’s (UAA) top elected position as president for 2013-14.

As one of her first official duties, President Speakes announced the election of Dr. Mary Niemczyk to a one-year term as president elect and Dr. Wendy Beckman to a two-year term as treasurer.

Members elected to three-year terms on the Board of Trustees include Sam Fischer and Dr. J. Anthony Sharp as Educator trustees, and Julie Filucci as a Corporate trustee.

SpeakesSpeakes (pictured) is the chair of the Department of Commercial Aviation at Delta State University in Mississippi, where she oversees the undergraduate and graduate courses and teaches in the graduate program. Prior to returning to Delta State in 2012, Speakes served as chair of Aviation Management and Business Division at Middle Georgia College. At MGC, Speakes helped build a Bachelor of Science in Aviation degree with four tracks: Flight management, air traffic control management, airport management, and logistics management. She also served on the Georgia Aviation Implementation Team for the Georgia Aviation Authority and the Transportation Education Foundation of Georgia. Speakes earned aPh.D. from the University of Mississippi, and Master of Commercial Aviation, Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Commercial Aviation degrees from Delta State. She is a gold seal flight instructor.

Niemczyk is an associate professor and chair of the aviation programs at Arizona State University (ASU). Before joining the faculty in 2002, Niemczyk earned her Ph.D. in Learning & Instructional Technology at ASU. Her professional experience spans both the aviation and education environments. Aviation experience includes work as a financial manager at a major U.S. airline, and as co-founder of an aviation human performance research company. She has published two books that combine educational psychology and neuroscience research results to assist students in becoming more efficient, effective learners. Niemczyk is a pilot.

Beckman is a professor in the Aerospace Department at Middle Tennessee State University. She serves as the graduate program coordinator and the professional pilot concentration coordinator for the department, and teaches a variety of classes in both capacities. Her research interests include the use of aviation with K-12 students to develop long-term interest in the STEM disciplines, the use of simulation in flight training, and the factors that influence the success of professional pilot students in completing their curriculum. Beckman previously served as editor of the Collegiate Aviation Review. She received her B.S. from North Carolina State University, her M.S. from the University of Missouri and her Doctor of Education from Saint Louis University. Beckman holds an Airline Transport Pilot MEL certificate, a Commercial/Instrument SEL certificate, and CFI, CFII, and MEI certificates.

Fischer is the program manager for aviation degrees at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He oversees the Professional Pilot Technology and Aviation Operations degrees, including the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI) program. He previously managed Computer-Based Training programs for maintenance personnel and aircrew on the E-2 Hawkeye and S-3 Viking, creating the “Combat Visual Identification System” for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, as well as Jane’s Information Group’s first-ever computer-based product. Fischer holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from the University of Florida and is a Commercial pilot with Instrument Rating, Certified Flight Instructor and Instrument Instructor.

Sharp is director of the Aviation Science Program at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. He has been employed at some of the nation’s finest higher education institutions, including Jersey City State University, Union College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University–Prescott, Hampton University, Nova Southeastern University, Pima Community College, Ohio University and Florida Memorial College. Following military service, Sharp graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. He graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from New York University and earned a Ph.D. degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Miami, School of Education. He is an Airline Transport Pilot, a Certified Flight Instructor for airplanes, instrument, and multi-engine aircraft, and a Certified Ground Instructor for advanced and instrument pilot instruction.

Filucci began her aviation career in 1993 as a flight instructor in Colorado. After graduating cum laude from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a B.A, Sociology, Filucci joined Jeppesen’s Aviation Courseware Development group from 1997 to 2000. During 1998-1999, she served as adjunct faculty at Metropolitan State College of Denver (now Metropolitan State University of Denver). Starting in 2000, Filucci worked at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for nearly eight years, completing her time there as Technical Editor for AOPA Pilot and other AOPA publications. Following that, Filucci served as Manager, Cessna Pilot Centers, for Cessna Aircraft Co., from 2008 to 2012, overseeing Cessna’s sales, marketing, and training programs with a network of more than 250 flight schools worldwide. In 2010, she published her first book, Together We Fly: Voices From the DC-3.

These newly elected officers and trustees join a 14-member governing board in charting the strategic direction of the association.

The non-profit University Aviation Association represents more than 500 members consisting of educators, students, high schools, two- and four-year collegiate institutions offering aviation degree programs, and organizations and industry representatives that support collegiate aviation. The UAA also serves as the voice of collegiate aviation education to government, industry organizations and the general public.

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