Viking Profile

Alanna Johnson

“As a kid growing up in Richmond, I was fascinated by the little things in life. It seemed, sometimes, that I noticed things not everyone saw. I’d notice how things worked, how one thing was related to the other, and one of the first lessons I learned was how important it is to be prepared. Back then, often as not, it was being prepared for school or making sure I did right by my friends and family.”

“I’ve always been interested in aviation, and known for a long time that I wanted to make a career out of it, somehow. When I was younger, I volunteered at the Richmond Aviation Museum, figuring I could learn something ---not just about the planes, but about the business of flying, too. You know, that planning thing…”

“When it came time to think about college, I naturally looked for places where I could indulge my passion for aviation AND get a well-rounded, general, classic university education. There was Embry-Riddle, of course, and I knew it was great on aviation ---but also that it’s private, expensive and a long way from Richmond. There was going the other way, and joining the military, getting aeronautical training for free and going back to college, later. Then, there was ECSU, which I learned about from friends. Going down the list, I made the comparisons:

  • Good aviation training? Yes, and a pretty impressive record of employment in the field. Lots of simulators for flight and air traffic and a nearby Coast Guard base for additional experience.
  • A classic College Experience? Yes, with all the clubs, the roommate experience in residence halls, athletics to watch and play, learning about much more than aviation, growing up along with probably the largest peer group I’ll ever have. And on top of all that, it offers an education ---in and outside the classroom on an HBCU campus.
  • Personal Learning? Yes, with a low student-to-faculty ratio and professors who actually take the time to help us all learn ---in the ways that work best for us, individually.
  • Affordability? ECSU costs about 1/3 of Embry-Riddle and about 6 years less of my life in the military to pay back the flight training I’d get for ‘free,’ there.

“Looking at my options, the choice was clear. I chose ECSU.” And looking back, things have worked out well for me, here. I’ve gotten a broad-based, comprehensive education here, formed lasting relationships with several professors and lots of new friends and enjoyed myself outside the classroom, too. This past summer, I worked as an intern for the NC Department of Transportation, learning about the business end of aviation, experiences I’ll hopefully be able to use when I manage an aviation service station one day. And as a Senior at ECSU, I’ll be SGA President, an opportunity that will not only give me a chance to give back to the school that has given me so much, but maybe a chance to develop my leadership skills, as well ---- something that’ll help me no matter what I do next.”

Favorite place on campus: My favorite place to do work on campus is the ITC Building, which I find to be extremely peaceful. My favorite place to have fun on campus is the Student Center. It’s the heart of Student Life.

Professor who has influenced you the most: There are four amazing people at ECSU who have made a lasting impact on my life. Dr. Tatiana Tagirova is one of the sweetest, most genuine people I have ever met. She is constantly motivating, encouraging, and inspiring me. Mr. Orestes Gooden and Robin Mangham from the Aviation Science Department are a dynamic duo who nurture me with constant, tough love. They guide me through the academic aspects of college, and offer great advice on how to handle any situation. Often, they tell me the things that I don’t want to hear, but need to hear. Last but not least, my role model, Arlinda Halfacre ----a woman of God who encourages me. Ever since the day I met her, she has been warm, welcoming, and someone who listens. I have a special place in my heart for each one of them, and owe a lot of my personal and professional growth to them all.

Advice for other students: Always remember why you are in college. Take steps to prepare for your future and use all the resources ECSU offers (Career Services, etc.). Lastly, have fun and make the most of your college experience.