Vaughn College: The Beginning of a New Career

Chinese student describes path to aviation career in New York.

International travel at a young age inspired Yichuan (Edison) Luo ‘15 to explore the aviation management industry. When he was in middle school, his family moved from his hometown of Shanghai, China to California. Traveling back and forth between the two international cities during his school years piqued Luo’s interest in aviation, but it wasn’t until a high school trip to the East Coast of the United States that Edison knew he found his niche.

“I fell in love with New York City and knew I wanted to move there to attend college,” said Luo. “My passion for the aviation management sector, combined with the location of Vaughn College in the city, was the perfect fit for the two things that were driving my passion at the time.”

Luo enrolled in the airport management program at Vaughn in 2012, where he embraced his courses and excelled in the program.

“I chose airport management so I could learn about one of the most global businesses in the world,” Luo explained. “The courses at Vaughn allowed me to appreciate other strategic backgrounds in the mainstream business sector.”

During his time at Vaughn, Luo launched into his field as vice president of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) student chapter.

“We organized two luncheons and invited over 10 industry experts in the aviation industry, including airport managers, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials, National Security Agency (NSA) members and aviation educators,” said Luo. “It was an instrumental opportunity to hear them share their industry insights, knowledge and personal experiences with the students.”

The chapter didn’t stop there. They organized four field trips for a group of over 20 members and students to airport terminals, air sides (sections of the terminals where aircraft can be observed), land sides (sections of the terminals where the public has unrestricted access), and airline headquarters for educational events.

Luo graduated valedictorian of his class in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in airport management. At 24 years old, he’s living back in his hometown of Shanghai, where he works as an analyst at a global information technology firm that specializes in market research.

“My work has given me the grounding to appreciate some of the strategic drivers behind the cyber and technology industry,” Luo explained. “One of my major clients is a worldwide national defense, aerospace and cybersecurity service provider. I am currently writing about the current trends, risks and products in the aviation, national security and cyber industry.”

Mr. Alba was previously Editor of the Airport Press for 12 years covering both local as well as global aviation news. Prior to this, Mr. Alba had Executive positions in Systems Engineering and Marketing with IBM World Trade, and had foreign assignments in the Far East and Latin America earning three Outstanding Achievement Awards. Mr. Alba also directed a new function dealing with Alternate Fuels for Public Service Electric & Gas company in New Jersey and founded a Natural Gas Vehicle Consortium consisting of car company executives and fleet owners, and NGV suppliers in New Jersey. Mr. Alba was a founding partner of ATA, an IT Consulting company which is still active in Central and South America. After leaving the armed forces, Mr. Alba’s initial employee was the U.S. Defense Department as an analyst.

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