Evelyn has medium skin tone and long wavy hair and wears glasses, an animal print blouse and a dark colored blazer. Evelyn has medium skin tone and long wavy hair and wears glasses, an animal print blouse and a dark colored blazer.
Evelyn Ronceros is building on decades of aviation experience and education by pursuing an M.S. in Human Factors degree. (Photo: Evelyn Ronceros)

Air Force Veteran Turns to Embry‑Riddle to Explore New Aviation Career Horizons

Story by Jon O'Neill
Jon O'Neill
About Evelyn Ronceros
  • Title: Management and Program Analyst
  • Employer: Federal Aviation Administration

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M.S. in Human Factors student Evelyn Ronceros started her academic journey at Embry‑Riddle while she was still on active duty in the Air Force.

From the U.S. Air Force to the Federal Aviation Administration, Evelyn Ronceros (’22, ’24) has been involved in aviation nearly her entire adult life.

Still, in many ways, she feels like she is just getting started.

The Air Force veteran is now a Management and Program Analyst at the FAA, and she is more than a year into her pursuit of a Master of Science in Human Factors degree at Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus. She’s also working toward her private pilot license.

At home in Chicago, Evelyn is using her aviation passion as a way to inspire young girls toward industry careers, dedicating her free time as a mentor and vice president of the Chicago Leading Edge Chapter of Women in Aviation International, a group she discovered through her studies at Embry‑Riddle.

“WAI membership has connected me with fellow aviation professionals and provided valuable opportunities to contribute to the industry,” she said. “Organizing ‘Girls in Aviation Day’ emphasizes our dedication to inspiring the next generation. Supporting and recruiting women brings essential diversity and fresh perspectives to aviation.”

Evelyn’s own aviation journey started with the Air Force, where she ended up leading multiple teams and human resources programs supporting the active duty, reserves and the Joint Special Operations Command communities. She also served overseas in South Korea, Turkey, Germany and Poland.

But it was her deployment to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom that really ignited her love of things that fly.

“Witnessing the Air Force motto in action, ‘flight, fight and win,’ resonated profoundly with me,” Evelyn said. “When I was evacuated swiftly and safely by expert Blackhawk and Chinook [helicopter] pilots, I experienced flight's liberating power in a remote, challenging environment.”

"Embry‑Riddle's flexibility and accessibility were instrumental in my decision. On-campus and online course offerings enabled me to continue my education during deployment."

A Military Friendly Education Option

Appreciation of that power helped motivate the rest of her Air Force career, which ended after 22 years when she retired from active duty as Senior Human Resources Manager.

While she was serving, Evelyn had already chosen Embry‑Riddle as the school that would help fuel her future and she finished the long road to her B.S. in Aviation Business Administration in 2022, just about a year after separating from the Air Force.

Earning a bachelor’s degree while still on active duty was not easy, but Embry‑Riddle’s legacy as a distance-learning pioneer along with its understanding of the demands of military service helped Evelyn make consistent step-by-step progress, thanks to classes and schedules that are specifically designed for busy working professionals and those who are serving their country.

“Embry‑Riddle's flexibility and accessibility were instrumental in my decision,” she said. “On-campus and online course offerings enabled me to continue my education during deployment. Positive feedback from peers and alums, combined with the staff and student body's understanding of military service and accommodating approach, made Embry‑Riddle the perfect choice.”

The Leading Edge of Aviation Research

Now, Evelyn is fully vested in her graduate degree and the study of how humans and rapidly emerging technology are meshing in the air and on the ground.

“Understanding human behavior and limitations in aviation is crucial for safety and design, making human factors a vital field of study,” she said. “My analytical skills as a Management and Program Analyst align perfectly with this pursuit. Ultimately, I aspire to contribute to flight safety operations research through human factors expertise.”

That goal is key in today’s aviation and aerospace industry, and Embry‑Riddle is on the leading edge of research and education into this critical interface.

Evelyn says that so far, one of her favorite courses has been Human Performance, Limitations and Error, which “significantly strengthened my interest in and commitment to aviation safety operations.”

Building a Better Future at Embry‑Riddle

With a stellar career full of adventures and accomplishments to build on, Evelyn is excited about the new opportunities now emerging and what they will bring to her future.

“I am eager to contribute to the advancement of aviation through human factors research and collaboration,” she said.

When it comes to the school that has opened so many doors for her, Evelyn is just as effusive with her praise.

“I wholeheartedly recommend Embry‑Riddle,” she said. “The university has provided me with countless opportunities for professional and personal development. It's always possible to chase your dreams.”

Closeup of Evelyn in the cockpit of a small plane wearing a pilot headset and a coat with a cowl collar.


In addition to seeking her M.S. in Human Factors degree, Evelyn is also learning how to fly and is shown here during training.

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