UND Aerospace student organization hosts annual SAMA Conference Friday and Saturday, April 18-19

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John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences


It may be the SAMA Conference, but it won't be the same old thing when the University of North Dakota John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences (JDOSAS) hosts it Friday and Saturday (April 18-19) at Clifford Hall.

Free to all students and the public, the conference will feature prominent professionals in the aviation industry to share their experiences and motivate the upcoming generation of scholars.

SAMA stands for Student Aviation Management Association and is a student-led organization with participants from all JDOSAS aviation majors. Each year, the association tours aviation companies, facilities and airports.

"The SAMA Conference is an incredible opportunity for the whole student body," said Dan Malott, assistant professor and UND JDOSAS alumnus. "The professionals that will be speaking have work ethic and experience that can be an example for any student to follow."

This year's speakers are Dwight Geisler, captain with Delta Airlines; Larry Taborsky, director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission; Amy Haefner, air traffic coordinator at Denver International Airport; Sherri Hudson, pilot recruiting and first officer program at Ameriflight; Roger Cohen, president of Regional Airline Association; Peter Bale, chairman of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International; David Kintzele, aircraft operations safety manager at Federal Express; and Capt. Thomas Lange, senior pilot in flight operations safety with Boeing Company.

In past years, the SAMA Conference has lured other prominent speakers from the aviation industry, including Greg Cayon, a former Air Force One pilot, spoke last year about his experiences and highlights in aviation throughout his life. Another speaker who shared an interesting life experience was Mike Nelvill, the first commercial astronaut.

"The SAMA Conference is a time to learn, build relationships, discuss industry challenges and prepare for the future," said Malott. "We are hoping for a great turnout of students and faculty this year."

About SAMA:

The Student Aviation Management Association (SAMA) was founded in 1975 as an organization for Airport Administrative majors. Since then, it has grown to include members representing all aviation majors within the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

SAMA's primary goals are to promote aviation professionalism and camaraderie at the collegiate level, and to develop scholastic relationships with the entire University of North Dakota's student population. In 1983, SAMA achieved what no other student aviation organization in the nation had by becoming an academic chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives.

SAMA prides itself on being one of the most active student organizations on the UND campus. Its members work year-round to organize an annual SAMA Conference and Career Fair. This massive event is among the largest solely student organized events held on the University of North Dakota's campus, and acquaints the students of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences with prominent individuals and companies from across the nation. In addition to this event, SAMA also hosts a Resume Writing workshop, a SAMA Kids Day, takes an annual trip to an aviation city, and is working to reinstate the Odegard Open golf tournament.