Los Medanos College partners with JFK University to host Olga Custodio, the first Latina U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Tuesday, Sept. 24

Los Medanos College (LMC) is partnering with John F. Kennedy University (JFKU) to host Olga Custodio, the first Latina to serve as a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force.  The event will be held on Tuesday, September 24, at LMC’s Pittsburg Campus in Room SC-136 (Science Building, first floor); Lt. Col. Custodio’s presentation will be held 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., followed by a reception.  The campus is located at 2700 East Leland Road in Pittsburg.   There is no charge to attend, and guests are asked to RSVP online.

The event, which is part of LMC’s fourth annual Equity Speaker Series, will feature Retired Lt. Colonel Olga Custodio sharing her story of “Passion, Patience & Persistence.”  Custodio was the first Latina to complete military pilot training in the United States Air Force (USAF), graduating in the top five percent of her class, and the first to become a USAF fighter pilot.  She went on to break even more barriers as the first female flight instructor at two major USAF bases, and later as the first Latina commercial pilot for American Airlines.  Living by the mantra, “querer es poder” – loosely translated to “where there’s a will, there’s a way” – Custodio’s perseverance, fighting spirit, leadership abilities, and passion for flying took her where few women have gone before.  Now retired, Lt. Col. Custodio continues to lead and inspire, championing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and motivating women and girls to pursue aviation and male-dominated professions.  She is involved with a number of professional and service organizations, including: Women Military Aviators Association, as an active charter member; Women in Aviation International, as executive director and treasurer of the Alamo City Chapter; the Hispanic Association of Aviation and Aerospace Professionals, as vice president; the Order of Daedalians; and the Daedalian Foundation, as a Trustee.  With her dedication to attracting more women and young people to aviation and STEM careers, she also serves as a mentor with the Aviation Explorers organization in San Antonio and with the School of Aeronautics of the Inter American University in Puerto Rico.

Collaborating on this event expands LMC’s existing partnership with JFKU.  The two institutions have previously partnered on a Student Wellness Program that provides mental health counseling to students at LMC.  In addition to marking Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Week and National Hispanic Heritage Month, the event with Lt. Col. Custodio reflects the shared commitment of LMC and JFKU – both Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), with undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25% Hispanic – to providing opportunities and support toward degree completion for Latino/a and minoritized students.  Lt. Col. Custodio’s visit comes on the heels of LMC celebrating its 10-year anniversary of participating in the Mathematics, Engineering, Science & Achievement (MESA) Program, which focuses on helping underserved and underrepresented students achieve success in the STEM workforce.

Questions about this event may be directed to Dr. Sabrina T. Kwist at skwist@losmedanos.edu or (925) 473-7314.

For more information about all of LMC’s Office of Equity & Inclusion, visit https://www.losmedanos.edu/equity.

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