Fulton Schools notable grad Rachael Shantz continues family's flight legacy

December 6, 2021

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

Rachael Shantz comes from a family of aviators — her dad is a pilot, her uncle is a flight instructor and even some of her cousins are aviators. Rachael Shantz Rachael Shantz. Download Full Image

Shantz decided to embrace her family’s legacy in the air traffic management program at Arizona State University because ASU’s Polytechnic campus is close to home and it’s one of only a few institutions that offers an air traffic control program.

“ASU was the only place in the world that made sense for me; all of the pieces just fit together seamlessly,” Shantz says.

Shortly after joining ASU, Shantz became heavily involved in various extracurricular opportunities. She worked as the lead outreach and recruitment assistant for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU and as an undergraduate teaching assistant for the air traffic control tower simulator. She also took on a grading role for ASU’s aviation department and served as the president of Fulton Ambassadors.

Of all the activities Shantz did during her undergraduate experience, the highlight was a virtual event she coordinated to honor women in aviation, “An Evening With Women in Aviation.”

“I selected the all-female panel, structured the event and invited thousands of high school students and teachers,” Shantz says. “I am so proud that I had the opportunity to blend my experience in recruitment and outreach with my love and passion for the aviation industry.”

One of Shantz’s key motivators in coordinating this event relates to a surprising fact that only 17% of air traffic controllers are women, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“I am hopeful that ‘An Evening With Women in Aviation’ showed at least one female student that she can pursue aviation if she wants to,” Shantz says.

Giving her the confidence she needed to pursue her dreams in a male-dominated industry was John Delugt, a lecturer for the aviation programs.

“He pushed me to achieve my goals both academically and professionally and never made me feel that I was incapable of pursuing this line of work,” Shantz says.

Following graduation, Shantz will continue her education in the aviation management and human factors graduate program as part of a 4+1 accelerated master’s degree.

“My ultimate goal is to be a successful air traffic controller, maybe at one of the busiest airports in the world,” she says. “Beyond that, I am passionate about diversifying the aviation industry and making this path easier for the women who come after me, just as the women before me did.”

Sona Patel Srinarayana

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Outstanding Graduate Student prepared for supply chain career at crucial time

December 6, 2021

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

While the current state of the world supply chain is a topic of endless headlines and conversation, this was not always the case. In fact, a couple of years ago most people didn’t think about the supply chain at all. Luckily, W. P. Carey Outstanding Graduate Student Christian Plesca was ahead of the curve. W. P. Carey's Outstanding Graduate Student, Christian Plesca W. P. Carey Outstanding Graduate Student Christian Plesca. Download Full Image

“When I was graduating high school back in 2014, I had no idea what I wanted to study,” Plesca said. “My father told me to ‘walk the path less traveled’ and nudged me into the field of logistics and supply chain management. He saw the potential 10 to 15 years ahead, that this field would have a scarcity of professionals, and he sacrificed a lot supporting my undergraduate studies in the Netherlands with a double degree in logistics engineering and economics. I’m happy I listened to him!”

Plesca is graduating with his Master of Science in supply chain management. He is part of a groundbreaking program in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students complete a micro master’s coursework at MIT before completing their “stackable” master’s degree from W. P. Carey.

“I chose ASU because it opened the door for me to the truly global supply chain, thanks to the supply chain faculty and their relentless passion and wealth of knowledge, and especially when it proved the most crucial, during COVID-19,” Plesca said.

We caught up with Plesca to learn more about what made his experience at ASU special.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: At ASU, I learned the value of cross-cultural communication and how important it is to be sensitive to the cultural background of our teammates and colleagues at W. P. Carey. This enabled me to create strong bonds with my colleagues (both professional and personal) and enabled me to have some unforgettable conversations at 4 a.m. in the morning during project work.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Think about all the past generations in your family, the sacrifices they made, the work they put in, dedicated to the purpose that one day their grandchildren would live a better life. Dig deep into yourselves and bring that light of potential in you to fruition, no matter the obstacles. We are here on a journey to create and grow; never let that light extinguish.

Q: What was your favorite spot to study, meet friends or just think about life during your coursework?

A: My favorite spot was online on Zoom and Slack; thanks to ASU for making them available to us. My classmates connected seamlessly, either for project work, sports or to enjoy happy hour. Through these tools, we made great connections. I’m excited to truly meet my classmates during the on-campus graduation ceremonies!

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: My plan after graduation is to use the knowledge and best practices in supply chain from W. P. Carey and further develop my career at Ernst & Young in the Product Lifecycle Management in Supply Chain and Operations.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: It’s hard to pick just one! I would create a few startups and charity foundations. I have a passion for the environment, so the startups would focus on refillable consumer products and recyclable clothes. The foundations would be for: 1) planting trees, 2) supporting elderly people and 3) access to education.

Emily Beach

Communications Manager, W. P. Carey School of Business

(602) 543-3296