To the Editor:
I recently read the article on the Aviation Maintenance program printed in the May 20th issue of The Chronicle. I found it to be a very one-sided, unjust, and poorly researched article.
I am a 2014 graduate of the program with a unique perspective, being the only woman in the program for 2 years, as well as a having a very successful overall experience. I graduated with a 4.0 and several awards under my belt, and I was hired on with a very high-profile company before I even completed the program.
Seven semesters and over 1900 hours were spent with all three program instructors, yet I was not contacted about the situation for the article. It appears that only students who are currently in the program, and who are only in their second semester, were interviewed. I understand that these students are those who brought attention to the issue at hand, but proper journalism requires a look at more than one position to provide a quality and well-supported story.
While I realize that the primary point of this article is to point out the abrupt suspension of Jason Manzanares, how it affected the students, and how they are being kept in the dark about why, I have several opinions based off of far more experience than theirs about how the program and other instructors were portrayed. They were not fairly nor accurately represented.
How Jason Manzanares is portrayed in this article by the opinions of less experienced students than myself is not what is important to me. Although, personnel issues are a matter for the administration. If, as in this circumstance, an instructor is suspended for example, it is for a reason. That reason is not always everyone’s business, and a lot of the time that’s what’s best for everyone. We don’t always get to know why. Yes, as students, we are affected by it, but as is with life, all we can really do is take care of ourselves.
What is important to me is the complete disregard for truth and respect and the lack of proper investigation performed by this newspaper. The Chronicle took only one opinion and published it, without interviewing a wider range of people with first-hand knowledge and more experience.
The AMT program has not been falling apart, but gaining strength, in the time since I started in 2012. The curriculum has grown and adapted within parameters to better meet the needs of the students. One such very recent example took a very concerted effort from the students, instructors, the Dean and Associate Dean of ATC, testing facilities and the FAA to improve a testing situation that had proven restrictive and problematic for student progression. As this problem has finally been resolved, no future class-including those whose protests are in the article-will have to experience it. As far as the instructors who are remaining in the program, they are owed an apology and due respect.
How an instructor for the program, with field experience from Lockheed Martin and Eclipse, can be referred to as a “substitute” and lacking in “skill level” is offensive and laughable. The students are basing their opinions off of a comparison, not of knowledge, but of how bored they are. Not all teachers are the same. Some are more animated than others. You are there to learn from them, not necessarily to be entertained. That is just a bonus. The lectures can be long, and there’s only so many ways you can run through it. But they are necessary and unavoidable. Students need to learn theory before practice. If this design does not suit them, they can always take the non-academic route and get on-the-job training and eventually test by way of field experience, but they won’t have the certificate or degree that they can earn through CNM.
I owe, as well as do my fellow classmates, much of our successes to Jeremy Frick and Dave Ortiz. I personally had not only very capable and knowledgeable instruction from them, but they served as mentors for me as well. They are professional, clear and direct, and have plenty of time and industry experience that they are more than willing to share with the students. They are very approachable and accommodating and all a student needs to do is ask for direction, help, extra projects or practice, etc. My classmates and I were continually informed of scholarships, job openings, employment search engines, letters of recommendation and even had help updating our resumes to fit the industry. Outside of the basic curriculum, I was supported and encouraged through things like the SkillsUSA AMT competition on both the state and national levels. I practiced extensively in the lab with anything I needed supplied, including advice and help. Upon returning from the national competition, the instructors worked with me to develop better projects to more fully prepare future competitors.
I credit these instructors, this program, and the administration (in addition to myself) with my success. The Chronicle may have thought to include some of this contrasting and knowledgeable perspective, had they taken the time to find out that it existed. It is my very strong opinion that you consider writing an update or new story that offers a more accurate representation with views from people with more experience on the subject.