19th AW commander speaks at "S.H.E. Can" STEAM aviation camp graduation

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  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Col. Angela Ochoa, 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander, served as the keynote speaker during a graduation ceremony for the “S.H.E. Can” STEAM Aviation Camp at Har-Ber High School in Springdale, Arkansas, June 28, 2022.

Joined by a crew comprised mostly of female Airmen, Ochoa piloted a C-130J Super Hercules to Northwest Arkansas National Airport, where campers were able to meet with the flight crew and tour the aircraft prior to their graduation.

The “S.H.E. Can” Aviation Camp is designed for students with an interest in aviation and seeks to empower young women to succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics disciplines.

During her remarks, Ochoa shared her life story with the students, leaving them with one overarching message, “you can be anything that you want to be.”

“Dream big because fortune favors the bold,” Ochoa said to the students. “The world is full of opportunities and you can take advantage of all of those. There are no doors that are closed to you. You can set your mind to anything you want to do.”

Ochoa is the first female commander of the Little Rock AFB in its 67-year history. She is a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and a command pilot with over 2,800 flight hours having flown combat missions in Operation Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Resolute Support, among others.

As part of the S.H.E. camp, sixth through eighth grade students took part in a number of aviation activities, including STEM-focused design challenges, flight training on simulators and two discovery flights with an instructor, tracking progress and building confidence through personalized flight-log books.

“These events are important because they plant the seed and help recruit and inspire the next generation of Airmen,” Ochoa said. “We may never fully know the impact of today, but I know we made a really strong impact on the lives of those young girls and their families.”