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Katie Higgins With Fat Albert
Katie Higgins With Fat Albert

Taking Flight with First Female Blue Angels Pilot, Katie (Higgins) Cook

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

In 2015, Katie Ann (Higgins) Cook soared as the first female pilot to perform with the Blue Angels team. However, not only is Cook highly revered for her service in the U.S. Marine Corps and flight experience, she truly amazes the world with the way that she maneuvers the flight of womanhood. Katie serves as a motivational speaker to help blaze the trail for other strong women to follow in her footsteps. I had the honor of being able to ask her a few questions and her uplifting attitude and determination took to new heights through her answers.

Katie Higgins With Blue Angel
Balazs Gardi

To start, I asked Katie what inspired her to become a pilot and she shared with me that she is actually a third-generation pilot. “Both my grandfathers flew for the Army Air Corps in WWII and then the Air Force. My father was a pilot in the Navy for 26 years and flew F/A-18s. I knew I wanted to serve my country in some capacity (firefighter, police officer, etc.) but having such amazing examples of military leaders and pilots in my family led me to the USMC and eventually to get my wings.” Cook has some incredible role models within her family, but I was also curious as to which female role models she idolized when she was younger. Cook said “Sally Ride was my biggest role model growing up. Being the first American female astronaut showed me that women could be successful in very male-dominated environments.” The most beautiful part about her answer is how many girls look to Cook in the same way.

Katie Higgins Flying
@gearupflapsup on instagram

Katie (Higgins) Cook not only followed in the footsteps of Sally Ride by becoming the first female in her profession, but she also had to deal with the prejudices and preconceptions that come with being a woman in a male-dominated field. However, when asked if she felt as if her success was ever hindered by being a woman, she spoke with nothing but respect and determination about how she dealt with sexist issues: “I don’t see gender as a limiting factor in anyone’s life so I wouldn’t say my gender hindered my success. I have achieved a lot of really great accomplishments, most of which I am recognized for BECAUSE I am a woman.” She went on to tell me that “there were people who tried to hinder me, make life difficult or tried to get me to fail due to their opinions about my gender. Those are shortcomings within their own personality, not because of me. I faced more obstacles because of those people, but I managed to rise above it thanks to the millions of supportive people who counterbalance the negativity and support causes like women’s equality.”

Katie Higgins And Husband
@gearupflapsup on instagram

Through her hard work as a pilot, her strong-minded attitude towards change and her fight to use her outlet to spread encouragement among other women, Katie Ann (Higgins) Cook serves as a true inspiration to women everywhere. As a final word of advice from Cook, she shared with me that she always says the same phrase: “Calm seas don’t make a skilled sailor.” She says that “it is not the easy times in your life or the “smooth seas” that shape you as a person. It’s the failures, it’s the closed doors, it’s those rough times in your life and what you learn from them that shape you as a person.” Thank you, Katie, for showing us all how to truly soar above the rough seas surrounding us.

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Just a girl from Gulf Breeze, Florida who loves all things chocolate, rom-coms, and running!