ASU aeronautical management grad connects education to passion for aviation

Spencer Pomerantz is a spring 2021 Fulton Schools Outstanding Graduate

April 23, 2021

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

With a lifelong passion for aviation and a zest for opportunity, Spencer Pomerantz chose Arizona State University to fulfill his dreams of becoming an air traffic controller. Spencer Pomerantz Spencer Pomerantz. Download Full Image

“Aviation has always been a big part of my life, so I wanted to learn more and turn it into a career,” Pomerantz said.

Pomerantz, a Barrett, The Honors College student, ambitiously decided to double major in air traffic management and air transportation management while minoring in human systems engineering during his time at The Polytechnic School, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU.

An air traffic controller’s job can be stressful. In his future career, Pomerantz will be responsible for the lives and safety of others on a daily basis. 

“I would be responsible for separating aircraft and getting passengers and cargo to their destinations,” he said. “But stress aside, it would be very rewarding for me.”

During the fall 2020 semester, Pomerantz got the chance to operate the air traffic control radar simulator using the practice and knowledge he had gained in previous semesters, an experience that made him feel even more confident in his path.

“One of my most memorable experiences in the program was in AMT 350 (Aircraft Design and Logistics Management) with Professor Anthony Wende and Mr. Alan Bradesku. My class and I were tasked with designing, building and test flying a radio-controlled airplane,” Pomerantz said. “It was so fulfilling to manage the process from start to finish.”

In addition to a full course load, Pomerantz made time to serve others. He volunteered on many on-campus events like orientation and helped guide students as a community assistant in the residential halls. He also volunteered off campus at Feed My Starving Children and United Service Organizations Arizona.

Pomerantz was also a shift supervisor and trainer at Signature Flight Support and the director of guest experience at a local Chick-fil-A.

Following graduation, Pomerantz will continue his education in the 4+1 accelerated aviation management and human factors master’s degree program. 

No matter where his future takes him, Pomerantz says he has “learned to think outside of the box and approach problems from different viewpoints” during his time at ASU.

He touts his professors at ASU for sharing this wisdom. 

“I have had the pleasure of working with many different faculty during my time here and they have all been wonderful,” Pomerantz said. “I want to thank all of them for putting me on a path to success.”

Sona Patel Srinarayana

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Civil engineering grad impacts environmental, diversity challenges

April 23, 2021

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

Growing up in Gilbert and Queen Creek, Edward Apraku was steeped in road construction along the Arizona freeway system. This led him to choose a civil engineering major at Arizona State University to support his interest in transportation systems. Edward Apraku Civil engineering (environmental engineering) graduate Edward Apraku. Download Full Image

A sophomore-year research experience at the University of Massachusetts Boston introduced him to the environmental side of civil engineering through a project analyzing increased pollution in Boston Harbor from stormwater runoff. 

“Even though I knew absolutely nothing about environmental hydrology, I found myself fascinated with learning about containment and sediment transport,” says Edward, who ended up winning first place in the poster competition of the UMass Boston summer research symposium.

This led him to additional research and projects that strengthened his interest in environmental engineering. These included the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative, the ASU/NASA Space Grant program, Engineering Projects in Community Service and additional summer research at Stanford University funded by the National Science Foundation where he studied emissions from wastewater treatment systems.

Edward was highly involved in the ASU chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, serving as undergraduate student government liaison, conference coordinator, vice president and president throughout his time. Most recently, he led the ASU Concrete Canoe team to third place out of 18 universities at the student-led 2021 ASCE Pacific Southwest Conference. He is also a member of Tau Beta Pi, Chi Epsilon and the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment Ambassadors.

The New American University Scholarship recipient has also been interested in cultivating diversity in STEM, something he did as an engineering residential community assistant and as a Fulton Ambassador.

“Being Black in engineering is important because there has to be more diversity within the field for both younger students to be exposed to careers and for research and development to progress through diverse perspectives,” Edward says.

In engineering, graduate school and diversity issues, Edward has been profoundly impacted by his mentors, Lecturer Mackenzie Boyer and Assistant Professor Otakuye Conroy-Ben, who is also an underrepresented minority in STEM.

“They helped me navigate these daunting topics and grow as a person and researcher,” Edward says. “Dr. Conroy-Ben also advocated heavily for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) students and communities through her research with Indigenous tribes. Her work heavily resonated with me and my goal of learning about water quality and the epidemiological issues that stem from it to help those in my home country of Ghana.”

This fall, Edward will begin graduate studies to obtain a doctoral degree in environmental engineering with a focus in environmental microbiology or biotechnology at Stanford University with the support of a 2021 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow award.

Eventually, he wants to become a professor to “teach the next generation of engineers while becoming an inspiration for young engineers of color who may feel left out.”

“I plan to become skilled in the subject of water quality and the epidemiological issues that stem from it,” he says. “I will ensure that my lab both conducts cutting-edge research and promotes diversity in order to strengthen the confidence of future STEM leaders.”

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2021 class here.

Monique Clement

Lead communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering