By Laura LaVacca
Located adjacent to LaGuardia Airport in East Elmhurst, Queens, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is a tech-focused school that is home to 1800 students. Founded in 1932, the campus moved from Newark, New Jersey, to its present location atop six acres of land.
The college’s mission is to “educate and train future leaders in the future-proof fields of engineering and technology, management and aviation.” The school offers bachelor, associates and graduate degrees as well as certificates.
Programs include airport management, aviation maintenance, mechanical engineering and animation and digital technologies, among many others. It is also home to one of only three ABET- approved mechatronic engineering programs in the US. Mechatronics is a combination of several engineering types, including Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering.
“Specialized degrees draw students; we are not a typical liberal arts school. Everyone is focused on a technology degree,” Associate Director of Admissions, Kristin Singh explains.
Recently the college underwent a “40 million dollar renovation,” Singh notes The transformation took three years to be completed and was done in phases, commencing this past fall. The renovation included re-designed classrooms and labs and restoration of their $1 million flight simulator lab. It also included the addition of a traffic control simulator room. The College invested in a newly designed Aviation Training Institute facility located in Astoria. This facility was built according to specific requirements of the program, which still remains one of the largest aviation maintenance programs in the country.
Furthermore, Vaughn was the first college in history to receive an approximately $32 million grant from The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Federal Aviation Administration. The grant was used to soundproof one of the main teaching buildings that was often distracted by noise from the local airport. A central administration location was also erected in the center to provide services to students all in one centralized location.
“We are excited that the project has come to a close and this fall we are enjoying being in our newly renovated space,” said President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo in an article featured on Vaughn’s site regarding the renovation and the many construction phases the college endured. “It is particularly gratifying to be able to offer our students and faculty the benefits of the nearly $40 million investment we’ve made to the campus including enhanced services for our students.”
The new facilities paired with the experienced faculty results in 92% of Vaughn graduates being either employed or continuing their educations within one year of graduation.
Adding to this success is the faculty who often works in their field and lives what they are teaching. “Professors care about students,” Singh explains. “We are a small, comfortable environment with a 15:1 student faculty ratio. Students get the academic support to get help with classes…and I’m an alumna speaking from personal experience.”
Vaughn also boasts that they have the greatest percentage of ethnic diversity as well as economic diversity of any regional college in the North. They welcome students from all over including the transfer population, “Lots of students come from CUNY schools and love the smaller atmosphere,” Singh adds.
She advises transfer students to get a transfer credit evaluation so they know what credits will transfer before applying at Vaughn. In addition, the school offers a transfer orientation and articulation agreements with many local colleges. Agreements outline what classes students should take at community colleges to satisfy a degree program they would transfer to in the future. This helps students reduce the loss of credits and thereby the loss of money. It also helps to ensure they will graduate on time. Students can check out Vaughn’s website for more information. They are also ranked as one of the top seven colleges for veterans.
Vaughn is a specialized school, with an eclectic student population, that now sits on a newly renovated, state-of-the-art campus. This new site, along with very hands-on programs of study, make it a perfect place for students to succeed.