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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Smooth Flying for Fresno Aviation Student

November 16, 2012

At 36, AaronFresno Aviation Student Aaron Zwetsloot & His Family Zwetsloot might have thought that college and a degree were missed opportunities that would seal his future and limit his career opportunities. No one was more surprised than he when he found himself sitting in class and out in the Aviation campus’ hangar realizing a new vision for himself.

His Volkswagen repair business in Oregon was losing ground as the economy tightened, and he knew he had to make a big change to provide for his wife, Jill, and their two sons, 9-year old Parker and 4-year old Dublin.

A move to Fresno found them all scrambling a little to re-stabilize. “I’m a small town guy used to going in to apply for a job, resume in hand,” says Aaron. “Now everything is online and I felt a little overwhelmed.”

College wasn’t his first thought. Aaron went to work right out of high school. “I really wasn’t interested in anything and didn’t want to waste my time or money,” he says. Now he is at a time and place in his life when he can really focus.

“I get up at 5:00 o’clock (classes start at 7:00 am) to get prepared,” says Aaron. “If I’m going to do this, I have to make it worthwhile.”

It’s working. Aaron was just named Student of the Aero, a distinction given to those students who go beyond class participation, grades, performance and behavior expectations.

“I never really liked classes like English when I was in high school,” he says. “But, my (Aviation program) English teacher, Jody Mills, is fantastic, “so I’m getting more out of it now.”

He loves that the Aviation campus is at the Fresno airport and can watch the industry action up close. Many in his family are either pilots or airplane hobbyists, so there is lots of support for his new career direction. His wife, Jill, works full time to help make Aaron’s education possible and even his young boys try to share his excitement. “My son, Dublin, will ask, ‘Dad, how was school today?’”

Aaron graduates in about six months and sees a bright future for his family. “It’s a new beginning for us and I see this as something I can do for the rest of my life,” he says.

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