Success Story: Ashlye Vazquez

“I was not going to give up, so I applied aggressiveness and went for it.”

Ashlye was a student of KCC’s Project Rise in 2014. She entered the program having already completed the requisite credits for high school completion at the Bronx Aerospace Academy, but was denied a diploma on a technicality. While she had a passion for a job in the aviation industry, she knew that in order to support herself and her daughter, she would need to change her immediate career prospects.

Upon attending an information session, program administrators, Norma D’Arancio and Victoria Bershtat, urged her to enroll telling her that she had the skills to rapidly excel in the program. The commute was long but knowing that “the further I had to [travel] to get an education, the more I’d want it.” This momentum began the moment she started.

Project Rise’s career counselors helped her land an internship at a Recreation Therapy facility where she was able to pursue a career as a Substance Abuse and an HIV Counselor. Her achievements in Project Rise, and later success as an allied health professional, gave her the confidence to purse her true passion: a career in the aviation industry. Reconnecting with past mentors and colleagues, Ashely was encouraged to pick up where she had left off so many years before.

Three years after graduating from Project Rise, Ashely is in Ground School to become a First Officer, working alongside the Capitan and co-Captain conducting pre-flight inspection and assisting with take-offs and landings.

When asked to give advice to young adults, she says: “Never give up. Consistency is the key to success.” “So many times, I wanted to give up, so many times I said I might as well stay in the ‘hood, but inside a voice would say that I was destined for greatness. I was not going to give up that easy, so I applied that aggressiveness and went for it.”