Aviation has always been a part of my life; I went from being a little girl who was mesmerized by watching planes take off and land and always trying to sneak a peek inside the cockpit when boarding an airplane, to a someone who is pursuing a career in the astonishing world of aviation.
I was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in Columbus, Ohio and have been lucky enough to visit my family in Puerto Rico over the summers. My love of aviation originated from these flights between Puerto Rico and Ohio. No matter how many times I have been on a plane, flying has never lost its novelty. To me, it just gets more and more exciting and fascinating with every trip.
When it came to deciding what I wanted to study in college, I did not know anyone with a connection in the aviation industry that could guide me, but my curiosity and desire for learning took me to local aviation museums and air shows. In high school my perseverance and passion for aviation made me search for flying opportunities, which lead me to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles Program. This program offered me my first flight in a single-engine aircraft right next to the pilot. For the first time ever, I was handed the controls of a little Cessna 172 and got to experience seeing my town from the sky. That moment made me sure that aviation was my true passion.
I was very fortunate to meet a police officer later on who worked for the Division of Police Helicopter Unit. He was the first to inspire me and make me believe that my dream was reachable. After searching for aviation programs for high school students in my area, I enrolled in the Aviation Career Exploring Program, which finally opened my eyes to the diverse field of career opportunities in the aviation industry. These opportunities allowed me to explore and experience the excitement of flying and inspired me to choose a career in the aviation industry.
In May of 2019, I graduated from Kent State University’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering with a B.S. in Aviation Management and a license in Aircraft Dispatch. My four years at college kept me busy as I became the founder and president of the Kent State Business Aviation Association, which is a student chapter of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) where I worked closely with the Ohio Regional chapter to bring interest to my peers of the business aviation industry. Because of my determination and achievements, I was awarded a scholarship to attend the NBAA Leadership Conference in San Diego and also an internship at the Monterey Fuel Company: Del Monte Aviation FBO in Monterey, California.
My love for travel ultimately led me to the field of aviation and now with my degree and leadership experiences in hand, I am ready to start living it.
Natalia Welton-Torres grew up in Columbus, Ohio and studied Aviation Management at Kent State University. Natalia is interested in all things aviation-related, animal-related, and can always be found with a coffee in her hand.