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Alumni Spotlight

The Farmingdale Four:

A Q&A with Aviation Hall of Fame Honoree, Theresia H. Schatz ’81 

Theresia Schatz '81

Theresia H. Schatz, A.A.E. is a Senior Program Officer in the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) at the Transportation Research Board under The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and has over 35 years of experience in the aviation industry. Ms. Schatz previously worked with The Port Authority of NY & NJ, including airport operations, administration, and property management at JFK, Newark Liberty, and LaGuardia airports. In addition, Ms. Schatz has worked for Lufthansa German Airlines at its North American headquarters and at JFK International Airport.

Ms. Schatz is an Accredited Airport Executive by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), a member of the Northeast Chapter and a Board member of International American Association of Airport Executives (IAAE). Ms. Schatz holds an MBA, Baruch College, City University of New York, a B.S. in Aviation Management from Florida Institute of Technology, and an A.A.S in Aerospace Technology from Farmingdale College, State University of New York. Ms. Schatz also received her FAA Private Pilot and Flight Dispatcher licenses and has been an adjunct faculty member at Vaughn College of Aviation.

Tell me your FSC story. Why was FSC the right school for you?

When I chose to attend FSC, the college was a 2-year State school known as SUNY@ Farmingdale. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in aviation as early as high school, (as my original aspiration was to be an Astronaut) and the best way to choose my specialty was either as a scientist or a pilot. I didn’t have, nor was I planning to pursue flight training through the military as so many before me have done. And since this was a pioneering endeavor in my family (my 3 older sisters were all well-educated teachers), FSC was a great opportunity for me to earn an Associate in Aerospace Technology, start my flight training at a reasonable state school tuition, all while testing living away from home by dorming at school and able to head home to Astoria or work at the Centerport Deli on the weekends. I was then much better prepared and more solid in my commitment to further my Aviation studies and pursue my Bachelors at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida later on.   

What memory – of a class, a teacher, a project – stays with you to this day?

I have several wonderful memories from FSC. I loved the campus that had wonderful farm and greenhouse facilities to accommodate Agriculture/Horticulture, a great Nursing program, and a variety of technical programs including Aviation with flight facilities at nearby Farmingdale Airport (FRG). The gym and swimming facilities were beautiful. As a freshman, I remember walking into my Physics lab class - I was the only female which was full of male Electrical Engineering majors. It was also not uncommon in the Aerospace Technology program to be the only female in the room where I was one of only 4 females in the Class of ’81. We formed a special bond and friendships that I still have today – with Dr. Jeanne Radigan, now the Department Chair. The thrill and excitement of earning my Pilot’s License at FSC and receiving my check-ride by, none-other-than, the wonderful Chairman Lou Howard, was unparalleled and I am proud to say I accomplished this before my 20th birthday! I also had the opportunity to become an R.A. at Nassau Hall, allowing me the opportunity to take on more responsibility, obtain leadership experience, understand conflict resolution while providing a positive dorm experience to others. One of the best features of FSC was being exposed to other classmates and roommates from different backgrounds and interesting programs. During my freshman year, I was in a triple dorm room in Dewey Hall with roommates from Horticulture, Animal Science and me, in Aviation!  This theme continued after pursuing my MBA twenty-five years later, I chose an Executive program in a non-aviation school (CUNY Baruch College) that enabled me to be in a cohort of others experienced in a variety of fields from Pharmaceuticals, to Recycling, and Innovative Technology fields among others! I liked that difference and I was able to provide aviation expertise based on my education, airline experience and airport career at The Port Authority of NY & NJ.

The FSC motto is: “To become all that we are capable of being.” How has FSC shaped who you are today?

My first college experience at FSC was so positive and rewarding! It was my first formal education in the aviation industry and showed me the exciting opportunities that were ahead and allowed me a wonderful foundation to continue to pursue my aviation career.  I have since spent my entire 40 year career in aviation and most recently, the past 14 years in the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) with the Transportation Research Board (TRB) at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in Washington D.C., fostering a variety of high quality airport related research that helps airport practitioners stay informed and manage airports in the best way possible.  I can honestly say I have a career in the field I went to school for!  

What would you tell a student just starting FSC?

Take advantage of your college experience and all that FSC has to offer. Look for internship opportunities and seek out mentors. It’s ok to work for free to get the experience and build your network. Embrace the friendships that you will form and don’t be afraid to explore other experiences outside your sphere of interest. The world is very diverse and FSC is a microcosm of that world – explore, experience and enjoy!  And remember to continue to discover, and disrupt, innovate and create.  


Development & Alumni Engagement

The Office for Development and Alumni Engagement works closely with the Farmingdale College Foundation – raising and managing critical philanthropic dollars for the College, cultivating meaningful relationships with donors, corporate partners and community friends – and the Farmingdale Alumni Association, keeping our 100,000 alumni informed, engaged, proud, and supportive of the College, strengthening their lifelong connection to FSC students and each other.

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