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Sky-High Ambitions: UF’s Emily Dubec-Hunter

Name: Emily Dubec-Hunter  

Major: Journalism  

Hometown: Melbourne Beach, FL

Emily Dubec-Hunter grew up in an aviation family, has traveled the world and knows what it’s like to fly a plane by herself. As an aspiring pilot she has experienced life from above the ground. Being dedicated, driven and always giving 100%, she inspires everyone around her to always go for what they truly want in life.

Her Campus: How did you initially become involved in aviation and flying?

Emily Dubec-Hunter: “I started flying when I was 17, but I was involved in aviation for my whole life without even really realizing it. My mom is a flight attendant for Delta, so we traveled everywhere by plane. I took my first flight to France before I was 6 months old, and we traveled to France every summer to visit family until I was 14. I pretty much grew up on a plane. Traveling all over the United States and even as far as Reunion Island, it gave me a perspective of the world like no other. I remember telling my mom, I want to be a flight attendant so I can keep these benefits, and she told me, ‘No, no, go for being a pilot, they make the big bucks.’ It’s been my goal ever since. I don’t know why, but I just LOVE being in planes and airports. Half of the fun for me when going on a trip is the actual trip getting there. I think it’s the feeling of anticipation of traveling, but I also just really like being in a plane.”


HC: What are some experiences you’ve had since beginning this journey?

ED: “Oh gosh, a lot. I think the most exciting memory I have of flight training so far is successfully soloing for the first time. Knowing you’re completely in control of the plane is really nerve wracking, but also very exciting, and I remember after my first solo take-off my heart was pounding and I just had butterflies like crazy in my chest. I remember being so focused on the takeoff roll, but as soon as I was airborne and out over the runway I realized what I was doing and just broke into a grin. Then, went right back to focusing because I was like, ‘Ok, you still have to land this thing.’ Just the combination of excitement and pride in being able to land the plane by yourself was just so cool.”


HC: Is there anything you hope to accomplish with your flying career while in college?

ED: “While I’m in college, I hope to get all my flight ratings, which includes my Private Pilot’s License, which I have, an Instrument rating and commercial rating. If I could start working as an instructor that would be great too. The main thing I need to build is time. You need at least 1,500 hours logged to apply for an airline job, with several turbine flying, night flying, or other specific requirements. If I could be paid for teaching while earning these hours, that would save me the cost of the flight and earn me some money back to pay for my previous training. Right now I am studying to take the written exam for the instrument rating.”


HC: You’re really passionate about women involved in aviation, why is this important to you?

ED: “When I was in 9th grade I had to do a research project for a career prep class in which I looked up the qualifications/descriptions of a job I aspired to have and presented this information along with why I wanted to do this, After my presentation my teacher said, ‘Well, I don’t know if you should be a pilot because whenever I get on a plane and I hear a women is the pilot, I get really nervous and want to get off.’ My jaw just dropped open. This woman was telling me not to pursue a dream in a career class. I have always had a strong support group and I was never uncomfortable about going into a male dominated field. I didn’t think it was a big deal, to be honest, because until this experience I had never witnessed such blatant sexism. But it made me realize how lucky I was to have the supportive environment I was in. If my teacher, who was a woman herself, could think that women were less capable than men, what were other girls being told that they couldn’t do? What did they come to believe they couldn’t do because others didn’t believe in them? It honestly scares me to think that girls can’t pursue their dreams because of some sort of prejudice. I think every girl, no matter her situation, should be able to pursue her dreams no matter her gender.”


HC: Do you have any advice for women who may be afraid to go after something they secretly love?

ED: “Just go for it. If you receive any negativity for doing what you love, do it in spite! Doing well is the best revenge you can get, and it will give you so much pride when you prove them wrong. And this will sound SO cliche, but you can honestly do anything you put your mind to with some hard work and dedication. AND more importantly, make sure to support everyone around you as well! I think everyone knows what it’s like to feel vulnerable and unsure about their future and they do not need to be told they can’t do what they’re working towards. Support each other, help each other, and cheer each other on. You’ve got this, girl, just go out and do it.”


Photo Credits: Emily Dubec-Hunter


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