Student Lands Coveted Internship at Southwest Airlines Being in the top one percent of applicants for an internship at Southwest Airlines isn’t something Ignaly Rivera Galarza expected. A student at the Miami Dade College Eig- Watson School of Aviation at Homestead Campus, Galarza is spending her fall semester this year as an intern at Southwest Airlines in Dallas. Galarza was one of only 118 candidates to be selected out of the more than 11,000 applications received by Southwest. “A lot of the people I competed against already had their bachelor’s degrees or were pursuing their master’s,” Galarza said. “It was a big accomplishment that I got the internship.” Galarza’s teachers prepared her well for the internship, especially professor Tim Schmelzer, who taught her customer service agent course at MDC. “The course taught me a lot of life lessons. Little things, like how you treat other people, will take you a long way,” she said. “You don’t usually learn personal skills at school, but he was able to bring them into the course and it’s been helping me a lot.” As a Ground Operations Employee Specialist Intern, Galarza takes care of the employees in that department at Southwest. She keeps in touch with the employees and sends them a thoughtful gift and card if they experience a personal milestone or life-changing event, such as a birth or death in the family. “It really makes people feel appreciated,” she said. After she graduates in the spring of 2018, Galarza hopes to continue working for Southwest Airlines. “If it weren’t for the aviation program at MDC, I don’t think I would have thought of doing an internship,” she said. “Because of all the courses in that program, I have a lot more skills than the other interns. I’m ahead of the game.” – DU
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