EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — UTEP President Heather Wilson was named chair of the Women in Aviation Advisory Board Friday. The WIABB was newly formed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in an effort to encourage women and girls to enter the aviation field.
“Women are underrepresented in aviation and I look forward to working with Secretary Chao, the FAA, and the advisory board to develop strategies that will encourage more women to consider careers in the aviation industry,” President Wilson said.
President Wilson served as the 24th Secretary of the Air Force from 2017 until taking the helm at UTEP in 2019. She’s a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in the third class to include women and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England. Wilson is an instrument-rated private pilot and aircraft owner.
As chair of the WIAB, she will lead 30 individuals representing a diverse range of backgrounds and expertise in the aviation industry who were also appointed as board members.
“The Department welcomes Dr. Heather Wilson and these accomplished advisory board members, who share a commitment and passion for encouraging women to access opportunities in aviation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
The WIAAB was established Oct. 3, 2019, under the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018. The purpose of the WIAAB is to promoting organizations and programs that are providing education, training, mentorship, outreach, and recruitment of women in the aviation industry.
Newly appointed board members include women from diverse backgrounds and expertise, including those from major airlines, institutions of higher education, aerospace companies, nonprofits within the aviation industry, aviation and engineering business associations, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Civil Air Patrol, and aviation trade schools.
“From Secretary Chao, to the several women on my senior leadership team, and the more than 10,000 women in the FAA, we see the professionalism and contributions that make our aviation industry the gold standard for the world every day,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “We salute the WIAAB’s new board members for their commitment to illuminate this career path for more women.”
Members will be appointed to the WIAAB for the duration of its existence, which is anticipated to be a minimum of two years. The board will meet up to twice annually to carry out its duties.