Auburn's OBAP chapter teams up with United Airlines for leadership opportunity

Published: August 13, 2021

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In July, seven Aviation Management and Professional Flight students went to Denver for a leadership retreat where they learned about multiple divisions of United's operations. All seven students are officers of the OBAP, or Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, chapter at Auburn, which promotes diversity in the aviation industry.

The leadership retreat was held to assist the students in their OBAP leadership roles and to give them access to the inner-workings of a commercial airline.

“It was an amazing opportunity to build the leadership of a relatively new chapter and to energize us heading into the next year,” said Zachary Lewis, aviation management student and Community Outreach Coordinator for OBAP.

According to Lewis, the trip was possible thanks to the efforts of numerous United Airlines employees, including Auburn alumni Jason Mohrman, United Operations Supervisor OBAP alumni mentor coordinator Chris Watson and Captain George Kling, United Flight Training Instructor.

"Our United team did an amazing job as they shared their aviation passions with AU Aviation students," said EWR Boring 767/757 and Auburn University OBAP mentor Jason Mohrman. "The experience was just unreal."

Students toured the Denver Airport, which included a Maui-bound Boeing 767, SOC, or Station Operations Center, Ramp Tower, United Airlines Flight Training Center, and Boeing 767 and 777 simulators. They met with the managers from United; including flight training, flight standards and pilot hiring.

At the end of their last day, the students also participated in preparing and cooking food for a cookout in collaboration with Sox Place Denver for the United maintenance staff and firefighters of the Denver airport as well. Sox Place focuses on helping youth and young adults who are battling homelessness and addiction.

Auburn University’s OBAP chapter was founded in 2019. OBAP itself was founded in 1976 to increase diversity and inclusiveness throughout the aviation and aerospace industry.  

The students who attended the leadership retreat are:

Stephen Barlow, OBAP President, Professional Flight

Anirudh Busetty, OBAP Treasurer, Professional Flight

Will Dodds, OBAP Secretary, Professional Flight

Christian Harvey, OBAP Social Media Chair, Professional Flight

Zachary Lewis, OBAP Community Outreach Coordinator, Aviation Management

Mohamed Salama, OBAP member, Aviation Management

Benjamin Wakefield, OBAP Vice President, Professional Flight

Submitted by: Victoria Santos

Seven Auburn students stand in front of a United Airlines sign.