Japneet, a sophomore at Upper Darby High School in Delaware County, Pa., is one of more than 80 volunteers of the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) Volunteer Navigators Program who assist passengers as they travel through the airport. She’s excited to delve into aviation and hopes to become a pilot (just like fellow volunteer Alissa). Japneet decided to volunteer at PHL this past July to productively spend her time in a space she was interested in learning about for her future goals. She loved her experience at PHL so much that she continued to intern, even after school started.
“I have had an amazing experience volunteering here,” said Japneet. “It feels more like something I get to do for fun rather than volunteer work. I always get a treat when I’m here, which I look forward to every week.”
“There are so many little things that go into running an airport, and I always thought that was interesting,” she added. She’s enjoyed getting a tour of PHL’s ramp tower and learning about monitoring ships in the Delaware River.
“Japneet is a wonderful asset to our team of volunteers,” said Travelers Aid Program Manager Christine Datesman. “She is happy to assist people traveling through PHL while learning about the airport. In addition, she has had the opportunity to speak to many pilots about her career path. I am so excited to watch her become a pilot and, hopefully, one day be a passenger on one of her flights!”
At PHL, Japneet has been able to break out of her shyness and become more social by meeting new people while volunteering.
“My dream career is to be a pilot,” said Japneet. “It’s something I never imagined I could do, but I’m working on it daily. If I weren’t going to be a pilot, I’d still do something related to aviation, like aerospace engineering.”
So far, Japneet has met many pilots and appreciated the advice they’ve given her and the stories they’ve shared. “I always love meeting female pilots and hearing about their experiences,” she said.
Although Japneet has only been volunteering since the summer, she feels the experience has been much longer due to the knowledge she’s gained in such a short time.
“I met a female pilot who knew one of the chief pilots at her airline and got me a tour of an Airbus A321,” said Japneet. “That was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen because it was my first time sitting in the cockpit. They let me push buttons and stick my head out the window!”
We see a bright future for Japneet and encourage her and others with similar interests to pursue their aviation goals by researching opportunities with agencies like the following. Good luck!