#CYPossible: Katy Straughan, Aviation and Travel Careers

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Katy is a familiar face on campus. She not only studied for her A.S. in Travel and Tourism with an Advanced Flight Attendant Certificate at Cypress, but she is also an adjunct professor here at the college. Away from Cypress, she works full time as a flight attendant with United Airlines since 2012.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?
I was born in Long Beach, but I grew up In Cypress. I went to Cypress High School and Cypress College. I have a lot of interests and am always open to try new things. Sports are a big part of my life. Soccer has always been my passion; I have played my entire life. You can also find me watching Sunday football; I am a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. I love the outdoors, going on hikes, and being active. I am really into fitness and working out. I love going to Lake Havasu—that’s home away from home for me. When I am not working either of the two jobs I currently have, you can find me doing one of those activities.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?
I chose to come to Cypress College because of their Aviation program; being close to my house was also a bonus. I knew before I graduated high school that being a flight attendant was what I wanted to do. I owe everything I have accomplished to this day, to Cypress College Aviation & Travel Careers Program. I am so thankful to have Kathleen Reiland and Kathy March on my team. They have supported me through every decision I have made since I started the program at 17 years old. I participated in all the networking activities that they set up for us students and took advantage of all the volunteer activities as well. My love for travel has grown tremendously through the program and allowed me to confirm that being a flight attendant was what I wanted to do. Now that I am an adjunct professor at Cypress College, I am proud to say that I work alongside some pretty amazing people who share the same passion for travel as I do.

What did you pursue after completing your studies at Cypress College (at your transfer institution, in the workforce, etc.) and where are you now?
After I graduated at Cypress, I interviewed with multiple different airlines, landing a job with Continental in 2012. They were going through the start of their merger with United Airlines, which is not finalized. A couple of years later, I decided to go back to school to finish my bachelor’s degree and chose to attend Cal State Los Angeles because of their Aviation program as well. I finished in exactly two years, graduating May of 2017.

My degree in aviation administration, with a minor in operations and supply chain management, has opened the door to many opportunities within the industry that I can achieve. I took a position as an adjunct professor at Cypress College, teaching courses within the Flight Attendant Certificate. I believe in this program, what it stands for, and what the staff does for their students to help them achieve their goals and be successful in the industry.

What are your long-term goals? What do you aspire to?
I don’t see myself ever leaving the aviation industry. If I were to change directions I would move into something involving accident investigations with the National Travel Safety Board.

What are you most passionate about? Why?
Travel. I am someone who has been around the world, and I can’t express how important it is to learn new cultures and embrace all the beauty we have in this world. The world is such a small place and it will make you richer within. Knowledge is power and I believe traveling and experiencing new things and places is a great way to learn and appreciate what we ourselves have.

What are you most proud of?
I am proud of myself for making the decision to go back to finish school. I know a lot of people are not fortunate enough to make that happen, but I have a great support system of family and friends and they helped me to make that possible. I am proud that I set a goal and I accomplished it.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I needed all the highs and lows that I went through to bring me right where I am today in life. I couldn’t be happier and prouder of how my life plan fell and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me. This is just the beginning.

What one bit of advice would you give to current and future Cypress College students?
Patience. Hard work always pays off. Keep going. Everyone’s journey is going to be different and you should never compare yourself to someone else or how their journey is panning out or even how we as society think young adults should live their lives these days. Focus on you; keep true to yourself.