Arda Cetken in the AXFAB Machine Shop on Embry-Riddle's Prescott Campus. (Photo: Embry-Riddle / Connor Mcshane) Arda Cetken in the AXFAB Machine Shop on Embry-Riddle's Prescott Campus. (Photo: Embry-Riddle / Connor Mcshane)
Arda Cetken in the AXFAB Machine Shop on Embry‑Riddle's Prescott Campus. (Photo: Embry‑Riddle / Connor Mcshane)

Eagle Takes Flight from Embry‑Riddle to Boeing

Story by Makenna Pringle
Makenna Pringle

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Embry‑Riddle senior Arda Cetken will head from Prescott, Arizona, to Everett, Washington, for his position at The Boeing Company.

Arda Cetken (‘23) has dreamed of becoming an engineer since the age of 10. When he was accepted to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the stars aligned.

“It also happened to be one of the very best [schools] I could dream of attending,” Cetken shared. “Since my first day at this school, I’ve never looked back. It has been one of the best decisions of my life and has opened up more doors for me than I could have imagined.”

Cetken chose to study Aerospace Engineering on the aeronautical track, which focuses on developing and improving aircraft such as planes, drones and helicopters. His passion, however, lies specifically in engineering for commercial aircraft.

“Working on commercial aircraft allows me to be proud of the work I’ll be putting in every day as they’re used by millions of people every year. I’ll be able to feel as if my work is truly making a difference in ordinary people’s lives,” Cetken said.

Reflecting on Embry-Riddle

While reflecting on his time spent at Embry-Riddle, Cetken shared what made his experience here so excellent.

His two favorite classes, Airplane Stability & Control and Control System Analysis & Design, were taught by Dr. Ken Bordignon. He says no other professor has impressed him as much as Dr. Bordignon, from his teaching style to sense of humor to extensive industry experience.

“While it is safe to say there is some incredible faculty at this school, Dr. Bordignon is just that great at what he does,” Cetken remarked.

His favorite spot on the Prescott Campus is the Aerospace Experimentation and Fabrication Building, or AXFAB, which is dedicated to providing students with the tools and equipment they need to complete various projects and research.

Apart from inspiring professors and accessible resources, Cetken cites his absolute favorite thing about Embry-Riddle as the valuable project experience he’s completed.

“The resume I presented at the career fair and used for all of my job applications solely consisted of the projects I had done throughout the school’s curriculum... I was able to get five interviews from major companies this year” he said, “The Embry-Riddle name is one that I am proud to say, and I credit all of my success to the faculty and curriculum at this incredible school.”

After years of hard work and honing his engineering skills, graduation is just around the corner for Cetken. His post-college plans? A job at The Boeing Company.

The Boeing Company

Cetken landed his position at Boeing not only due to his technical capabilities but also because he made the right connections.

A few summers ago, working as a lifeguard at a local pool, he was chatting with a visitor and happened to share that he was attending Embry-Riddle.

“I was delighted to hear her say ‘oh, I know Embry-Riddle!’ It turns out that woman had worked at Boeing for over thirty years as their head of public relations,” Cetken recalled.

After “many more conversations,” he was able to connect with the Vice President and General Manager of Air Dominance at Boeing, who also happened to be an Embry-Riddle alumnus.

“[Steve Nordlund] helped me get seen by the right people, and I was eventually able to land an interview. I never would have guessed that a summer lifeguarding job would lead to the position I am grateful to be in right now.”

At Boeing, Cetken was given several options regarding the area he’ll work in. His choice: the position that will give him the most opportunity to work closely on an aircraft.

Post-graduation, he will be working at the Boeing Factory in Everett, Washington, in the largest manufacturing building in the world, as an entry-level manufacturing engineer on the factory floor with the Boeing 767.

Advice for Future Aerospace Engineers

Cetken shared his advice for Embry-Riddle prospects who have big dreams in the aerospace engineering industry.

“Manage your time effectively. There’s no doubt that the engineering program at this school is a tough one, but that doesn’t make it impossible. It’s only as hard as you make it on yourself...” he said.

“School can be overwhelming at times, but don’t ever forget about the bigger picture. Push through the hard times, because once you’re finished, you’ll have one of the coolest jobs in the world.”

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