College of Engineering and Computer Science Senior Will Become Air Force Pilot

portrait of Vincent Miczek

Vincent Miczek

Vincent Miczek ’21 recently earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) and is commissioning into the United States Air Force and will be headed to Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. At the end of 2021, he’ll start pilot training.

“There is a strong correlation between aerospace engineering and becoming a pilot for such complex systems,” says Miczek, who is a member of the University’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC).  “With a strong background in the field and applying my studies every single time I enter one of their aircraft, I have a better understanding about these systems, not to mention the aerodynamics associated with how aircraft fly.” Miczek says his degree will be applied almost immediately as he learns the intricates of his assigned aircraft. “I can’t wait to start this next chapter in my life,” he says.

Syracuse University News recently sat down with Miczek to discuss his experience as a cadet and military-connected student at Syracuse University.

  • 01

    What did you learn as a member of the University’s AFROTC that helped you be successful as a college student?

    As a member of AFROTC for almost my entire time at Syracuse, there were two big takeaways that helped me succeed as a normal college student: time management and discipline. These are two significant attributes that cannot be overlooked when trying to manage an aerospace engineering degree and AFROTC at the same time.

    I became more efficient with my work and stayed up to speed on content, homework, exams, etc. I also was able to know when it was time to have fun and be social and when it was time to focus on my studies instead. I can confidently say this was a major factor in my success as an ECS student while balancing such an intense extracurricular activity.

  • 02

    In what ways did you help give back to the community?

    My four years as a student included a lot of volunteer service. There are some virtual programs within ECS to communicate with prospective and incoming students on what academics and the college experience is like. That was rewarding as I was able to pay it forward to those who want to attend Syracuse University. I never had that experience myself and it is important to be connected to the community before arriving here.

    Most recently, COVID-19 volunteering at the stadium was needed among students and AFROTC and Army ROTC were the first ones to jump on board. I enjoyed assisting staff with testing and controlling the large student population testing site. The Syracuse University community was no stranger to the pandemic and assisting in any way possible was very impactful.

  • 03

    What motivated you to join ROTC?

    My motivation to join ROTC came from my passion of aircraft and I always had the thought of being a pilot of my own aircraft someday. I was given the opportunity to speak to some friends of mine during my first semester here at Syracuse University and they gave me some insight into what it would be like to do it for the Air Force. I had a little military experience from high school through a program called Boys’ State and that opened my eyes to what the military was like.

    The military was never part of my life growing up, so it was a different change of pace than what I was used to. Shortly down the road, my first-year roommate and I talked to the Cadre members here at Syracuse and the next semester we were both enrolled in hopes to become pilots of the USAF. The real motivation came from the true experiences of those who served, are currently serving and those who want to serve. I felt like moving into a military lifestyle fits my personality a little bit and would be seriously beneficial for me to have a daily impact across the world. I can confidently say that I made the right decision and give credit to those who have passed down their experiences to me during those early stages of my college career.

  • 04

    How did Syracuse University’s commitment to being the best place for veterans impact you personally?

    Syracuse University is by far the best place in the country for veterans. The best thing that I have personally experienced in my time here was shown in the new National Veterans Resource Center. Both ROTC programs were able to move into this building and use their space. That was a significant change compared to where we were before in Lyman Hall trying to formally receive/give training to all cadets.

    I am grateful to have been a part of this move and there have been some really positive experiences from this change. I am confident to say that if Syracuse University will treat the ROTC programs like this, the work done for our service members is much greater. There is a reason we are referred to as the best place for veterans nationally and from my perspective, this is why.

Janelle B. Smith

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