Aviation student balances full-time job while finishing school

A typical day for Aviation Careers Campus (ACC) student Solita Gambino starts at 5 a.m. when she arrives for work at ATC Drive Train. She has been re-building transmissions there for a year, as she enjoys working with her hands. After working her labor-intensive job until 3 p.m., she rushes to the ACC campus for her evening classes that last until 10 p.m. When the weekend rolls around, she’s working overtime, which means most weeks she works 50-60 hours in addition to her full-time school and study schedule.

At 23-years old, Solita is the second-oldest of nine children. Homeschooled with her siblings until graduation, she said being part of a big family contributed to her work ethic.

“I helped raise the last three children, and now my 16-year old sister does my laundry, helps me study, curls my hair and listens to me vent when I’m stressed. You do have to make sacrifices in a family of nine kids, but their love and support was worth all of them” she said.

Although the laid-back pace of homeschooling makes the fast-paced curriculum at ACC an uphill battle for her, Solita credits a great support system at home, work and ACC for her success thus far.

“At times I thought there was no way I would make it, but my teachers Ed Bannon and Mike Hudoba, they took the time to help me when I was struggling. It’s still hard for me to understand and retain everything, but the way Ed explains things makes it easier to comprehend,” Solita said.

Solita will graduate from ACC in March 2015, and plans to join the Marine Corp.

What makes you different?

“I am Hispanic, Italian, French and German.”

What is one of your greatest accomplishments?

“I started PT sessions to join the Marines and was working out six days a week. I went from 170 to 125 pounds in a short time.”