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Whitney Heer - Gordon Cooper Technology Center

From flight camp to flight school, Gordon Cooper pre-engineering grad is flying high with the U.S. Navy.

THEN: An 8-year-old girl who took her first airplane ride at Sooner Flight Academy, a K-12 flight camp that promotes science, technology, engineering and math. When Whitney left camp, she told her mother she wanted to be an airplane pilot. Since that day, she has worked hard to achieve that goal.

Flight camp showed Whitney the importance of science and math in aviation careers. She enrolled in Gordon Cooper Technology Center’s pre-engineering program and joined SkillsUSA, competing with Gordon Cooper’s robotics team. She also competed in extemporaneous speaking at the national level, where she finished in the top 15. After graduation, she enrolled in a naval prep school. Whitney says SkillsUSA and the pre-engineering program gave her

  • A strong math and physics background that helped her get into the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • Problem-solving and time-management skills she used in prep school.
  • Extemporaneous communication skills she used to speak on the fly in her prep school classes.
  • ACT preparation and guidance that helped boost her test scores.

NOW: Enrolled in the U.S. Naval Academy’s flight school in Pensacola, Florida, and a mentor for Gordon Cooper’s robotics team. Her flight training will start with small aircraft, but her goal is to fly F-18s from aircraft carriers.

 Whitney says her instructors were instrumental in her success, helping her manage her career and academic frustrations.


“Mrs. Frerichs kept me going,” she said. “I spent hours after school with her, practicing math problems for the ACT.”

Whitney Heer, U.S. Naval Academy

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