President, Student Government Association
Daytona Beach Campus
Dustin Gibson intended to pursue a medical career, but it turned out that aviation was in his blood – he had caught the flying “bug” early on, from two relatives who served in the Air Force. “My grandfather was a pilot and my father was a mechanic,” he said. “I liked airplanes, always have.”
The deal was sealed when a friend let Gibson fly his Cessna – he realized that flying was definitely the career for him, and his online research into collegiate aviation degree programs led him in the right direction. “Embry-Riddle just kept popping up – number one, number one, number one. It was clear that Embry-Riddle was the best in the business, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Hailing from Panama City, Florida, Gibson is a recent graduate of Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach, Florida, campus with a B.S. in Aeronautical Science, the degree program for professional pilots.
Since then his connection with Embry-Riddle has continued to strengthen. Gibson is now enrolled in the university’s MBA in Aviation program, is flight instructing to accrue flight hours before pursuing a career as an international airline pilot, and is president of the Student Government Association.
Even with that busy schedule Gibson has found the time to serve on the university’s Board of Trustees as the Student Delegate from the Daytona Beach Campus. He sits on the Investment and Facilities & Capital Planning committees.
Passion and Pride Inspire Desire to Give Back
“I love what I do at Embry-Riddle, so it’s great to be with like-minded people on the Board who are also dedicated and enthusiastic,” he said. “We want to help students progress in their education and become leaders in the aviation industry.”
Gibson is an ambassador of sorts for the university. “If I meet someone who’s not familiar with Embry-Riddle, I tell them it’s the top school in the nation for aviation and engineering, and it’s always expanding.”
Embry-Riddle’s continuing growth takes the form of new degree programs, new partnerships with industry and government, and new buildings. Research initiatives are taking center stage at the new STEM Education Center on the Prescott, Arizona, campus and at the university’s flourishing Research Park in Daytona Beach.
Rigorous Flight Training Leads to Airline Careers
Gibson also likes to point out that the Embry-Riddle flight program has an outstanding safety record. “The safety culture and the way we train here are top-notch,” he said. “Safety is the top priority and it’s a big deal in training pilots to be the best they can be.”
Cherishing his own experiences at Embry-Riddle, Gibson is a fervent supporter of the Embry-Riddle flight training program because it results in rewarding careers.
“The flight instructors who taught me are now employed with airlines,” he said. “The system works if you follow it and work hard.”
Looking to future opportunities, Gibson thinks Embry-Riddle is already on the right track, coordinating with the aviation industry to make sure its needs are met by graduates who possess the proper knowledge and skills for immediate value to their employers.
“It’s all about how we conduct ourselves in the cockpit, how we fly, getting us ready so that when we’re hired by the airlines it’s not a difficult transition for us,” Gibson said. “Running checklists and memorizing important details – that’s just second nature. That’s how we fly.”