Career Center partners with aviation expert to provide externship

Jackson Harris, a second-year urban and regional planning graduate student at Florida State.

The Florida State University Career Center has partnered with Florida State alumna Woodie Woodward, the former associate administrator of airports for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to provide an externship experience for a current Florida State student.

Woodward selected Jackson Harris, a second-year graduate student in the urban and regional planning program, for the inaugural externship, which began in January and concludes in December. Harris, who has already completed two internships in airport management, hopes to build his career in Florida’s aviation and airport management industry.

“As someone who has been interested in airport administration and planning for much of my life, this experience has by far been the greatest for both practical knowledge and advancement in the professional field,” Harris said. “I look forward to what I will learn across the aspects of getting to work with such an influential figure in the industry and am grateful for such a fantastic opportunity.”

Woodward’s externship opportunity is highly specialized. She and Harris will conduct a current trend analysis and will debate how the trend impacts aviation management. Woodward will assist Harris in conducting informational interviews with air transport professionals from the Florida Airports Council, and she will sponsor his attendance at two aviation-related conferences — one domestic and one international. She also will serve as his mentor through The Career Center’s ProfessioNole program.

“Dr. Woodward has provided an externship opportunity that will not only allow student Jackson Harris to gain a global perspective on a career in aviation, but give him the chance to network with an FSU alumna whose work is second to none in the field,” said Career Center Director Myrna Hoover.

Woodward earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Kansas. She began working for the FAA in 1987 under President Ronald Reagan and served under four U.S. presidents and during crucial moments, such as Sept. 11, 2001. After retiring from the FAA, Woodward opened her own consulting company to work with airports and aviation executives around the world.

FSU Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Coburn praised the type of professional mentorship modeled by Woodward.

“When alumni like Dr. Woodie Woodward invest in the professional development of our students, it is win-win for everyone,” Coburn said. “The students learn valuable lessons about being a professional, the alumni gain better prepared future employees, and the university benefits when students are more successful and represent FSU well.”