Nathan Tkach

Nathan Tkach inside of airplane

Air Traffic Control, Community College of Beaver County

Community College of Beaver County has one of the best aviation programs in the country, especially for air traffic control (ATC). It is the only school that has an operating control tower at the Beaver County Airport that allows students to run real traffic versus a simulator. This gives students actual experience.

I took CHS chemistry in high school because I thought I was going into a science field, but I found an interest in aviation. I was really interested in ATC, so I visited the Pittsburgh International Airport control tower and I was hooked.

CHS chemistry is an extremely difficult class for a high school student, so people always asked me why I would take it when I didn't have to. For me, I learned just as much about college as I did chemistry. I learned how to balance my schoolwork with other things. It also gave me a chance to experience how a college class worked, what a college test was like, and the college atmosphere when I went to Pitt’s campus for the labs. I even came to Pitt to take the final for the class.

CHS classes can be very difficult, but it is worth it in the long run. You will learn more about college and yourself than the subject of the class. You will have a leg up on everybody else when you start your freshmen year of college. You will know what to expect in a college level class.

And CHS classes can help you explore what you like. Just because you took a lot of a certain course doesn't mean you are set to go into that field. I went into a field that I knew little about in high school, and I love it now!