Local students complete airport internship program

(August 3, 2017) Tampa International Airport’s second class of summer interns completed their intense six-week program today. The three area high school juniors were selected through a competitive process to participate in the airport management course developed by the Tampa Bay Regional Aeronautics Academy. The program focuses on business and managerial aspects of a major commercial airport and can lead to an industry certification for the students. Interns with the TSA

The interns’ daily routine consisted of a morning of classroom instruction followed by an afternoon of site visits, tours and field instruction by various departments of the Airport. These experiences included learning about General Aviation by visiting Peter O. Knight Airport, sitting in on a scheduled press briefing held by Marketing and Media Relations, participating in a Police Department training drill and doing a scavenger hunt and mystery shop with Concessions.

Some of the modules offered a rare glimpse behind-the-scenes at the Airport such as a visit to the control tower to learn about the FAA and a look inside the TSA’s command center to see how they monitor the screening checkpoints and passenger activity at the airport.

The diverse curriculum suited the students who all have different ideas about their futures in aviation.

Ty Mirabella, who attends Sunlake High School in Pasco County, is interested in pursuing a career as a fighter pilot through the U.S. Air Force.

“I really enjoyed the time with the operations department,” said Ty. “I want to be a pilot so I look forward to any time I can spend on the airfield.”

Zoe Freeman, who attends Clearwater High School in Pinellas County, is interested in becoming a flight nurse through the U.S. Air Force. She enjoyed many of the learning modules, but said that participating in an active shooter exercise with the Airport Police Department left a big impression on her.

“It was probably my favorite department visit because we got to be a part of their actual training,” said Zoe. “We got to feel like we were helping them as they trained to help others.”

Natasha Truong, who attends Robinson High School in Hillsborough County, said that she wants to pursue a degree in engineering. She isn’t quite sure what her final career choice will be but she appreciated her time with the airport firefighters.

“I loved the visit to the airport fire station because they took the time to show us all of the tools, machinery and equipment that they use to train and fight fires that are unique to the airport. As someone who wants to go into engineering, I thought that was really interesting,” said Natasha.

The program is made possible through a collaborative partnership of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, Tampa International Airport, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the American Association of Airport Executives, and the School Districts of Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. 

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