Student Spotlight: A Pilot among Us

Note: This is a new feature that invites everyone to submit short articles about our current student employees. When you learn something interesting about a student, please write it up and send it to Dawn with a picture!

Emily Ogorek is from Milwaukee and started working in the Financial Internal Controls area of Business Services in May of this year. She is going into her junior year here at UW-Madison and is pursuing a degree in accounting, with an anticipated graduation of Spring 2021. Recently, she became a licensed pilot and shared a little about that experience.

When it came time for Emily to start working toward her pilot’s license, she was far from your average beginner. A family tradition of pilots had preceded her:  her grandfather was a pilot mechanic in the Korean War, her father grew up learning all about flying from him, and her older brother had successfully completed his license. By the summer before her freshman year of college, when she stated the process to become a pilot herself, she had spent hours upon hours in the air with her family. “I would say that everything came pretty naturally to me. There wasn’t really anything that I felt like I couldn’t do, even from the beginning,” she stated when asked about the most difficult thing about learning to fly. Even though flying seemed to come easy for her, working toward your license is a long process involving a lot of time and dedication. She spent many days that summer waking up early in the morning to go fly with her instructor, about 70 hours in total by the time she was ready to take the exam. During these many hours of flying, she had to not only learn everything about flying a plane, she also had to learn how to handle herself in the cockpit. “You definitely have to learn how to be calm in stressful situations and have a belief in yourself that you know what you are doing,” she mentioned after explaining her scariest experience of having to land a plane sideways in 30 MPH crosswinds. But over time she became more and more confident in her abilities and was ready to take her exam at the beginning of this summer.

The exam includes an oral portion about the information, documentation, and equipment needed to begin a flight and about an hour-long flight with an examiner. Emily was more than ready for the exam and passed with ease. When asked about her main takeaway from the entire process, she said, “I feel like I learned a lot about committing yourself to something that you know is going to be a challenge, seeing it all the way through, and coming out successful on the other end.” This is a lesson that she will be able to apply during her time in the IMAcc program here at UW-Madison and in her future career in accounting. Her plans for her future in flying include completing her next pilot rating that will allow her to take a flight across the entire country! “I really just love being up there and feeling like you can see everything.”  Emily will certainly have many sights to see from high in the sky.

Written by Logan Knecht