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Editor's note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2016 commencement. See the rest here .
David Hutchens is out of here on a wing and a degree.
Graduating with honors from the Arizona State University’s Aviation Programs with a degree in aviation management technology/professional flight, he has his sights set on big jets and faraway places.
As a child, he sometimes traveled with his mother, who works for the Federal Aviation Administration.
“I think I’ll take a job with one of the East Coast airlines and see how I like it,” Hutchens said. “I haven’t spent a lot of time over there. If I don’t like it, I’ll come back West, where I’m from.”
“I’m very grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves to me, and ASU has played a big part in that,” he said.
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: I worked for a company for six years. It was staying stagnant. Both my parents worked for the FAA so I was raised around aviation. I always liked to travel, so I realized, “Why not make a career out of it?”
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?
A: Probably the amount of work that goes into this.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I chose ASU because it was close to my family. I knew this was going to be a lot of work, and the flying — you have to do it on your own free time. Having family close by allowed me to decompress and get away from flying for a while and not even talk about it for a couple of weeks.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: I would say set your priorities early on. Definitely set personal goals, but don’t forget to take time for yourself and have a life. If you get so wrapped up in school, you’ll get burned out and things won’t go the way you’d hoped.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: I would say the airport. The Sim building. They have all the flight sims [simulators] and all that stuff, so it’s a good place to mess around or study.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I’m actually headed out to the airlines. In late May/early June I’m finishing up interviews with a couple of different airlines, and I’ll choose one that’s right for me. I’m looking forward to the girls and the travel. My old flight instructor went over to Thailand for $40. He paid for the tax on the ticket and that was it.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: The current presidential candidates.
Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now