HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Aaron Mathis has had a passion for flying as long as he can remember.

And, at only 22 years old, Mathis is making sure current Wallace State Flight Technology/Aviation students have the same opportunities.

Through Wallace State’s Future Foundation, Mathis has established a scholarship for future flight professionals. The inaugural scholarship will be awarded next month to a deserving Wallace State student.

“I was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship while at Wallace State and it helped my family tremendously. I’ve always wanted to be a flight instructor, and this is one way I can give back. My dad has always told me if someone ever gives you something, find a way to give back. I want to give students an extra boost to fulfill their hopes and degree,” Mathis said.

As a Wallace State student from August 2013-May 2015, Mathis shined in the Flight Technology/Aviation program and graduated with his multi-engine commercial license. After his two years at Wallace State, Mathis attended flight instructor training classes in Florida while living in Foley and earned the proper credentials to teach, while also enrolled at Athens State.

After instructing flight classes at multiple locations, including Wallace State, Mathis accepted a pilot/first officer position with PSA Airlines in July 2016. PSA flies under the brand name of American Eagle and is a regional airline under the American Airlines umbrella.

In high school, Mathis attended Pell City and was directed to Wallace State by one of his instructors.

“I was in my senior year and in flight school at the local airport in Pell City. I was told the best college options for aviation were between Auburn and Wallace State. I made a great choice. Flight training had always interested me, and it was even more important I could go to college, earn a degree and fly an airplane as a professional,” said Mathis, who graduated from Pell City in 2013 and Wallace State in 2015. “It was also the absolute perfect scenario for me financially as far as what I wanted to do for my career and pursuing a degree.”

As a pilot for American Eagle, Mathis has the privilege of flying through historic and majestic U.S. cities on a consistent basis. On one lengthy trip last week, Mathis flew through cities such as Portland, Ore., San Bernardino, Calif., Chandler, Ariz., Stephenville, Texas and Shreveport, La.

Mathis, who also earned a management of technology degree from Athens State, now lives in Charlotte, N.C., for his aerial career, but travels back to Pell City as frequently as possible.

While at Wallace State, Mathis earned the Richard Caretti Aviation Technology Scholarship through the Future Foundation. He is excited to return the favor in a couple of weeks when he’ll present his scholarship to an inaugural recipient.

“I’m ready to be a mentor to someone. That’s why I put this scholarship together. I want to guide them and help them reach their goals with efficiency and affordability,” Mathis said. “It will be full circle for me. Here I was just a few years ago receiving a scholarship, and now I’ll be handing one out.”

As Wallace State celebrates Community College Month, Mathis is proud to be an ambassador for the institution.

“Wallace State put me ahead of the curve. I’ve never thought what life would be like without the training I received at Wallace State and I don’t want to. I would still be working very hard, but I wouldn’t have nearly made the progress I did. The opportunities I’ve gained through Wallace State have been extremely beneficial.”

To learn more about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu

Aaron Mathis is a Wallace State Flight Technology graduate.

Aaron Mathis is a Wallace State Flight Technology graduate.

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Russell Moore

Wallace State Community College

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