Heather Nutter, a recent Meeker graduate, won the gold medal at the SkillsUSA National Aviation Maintenance Technology competition held in Louisville, Kentucky.

A spur of the moment decision during a sophomore tour at Gordon Cooper Technology Center convinced Nutter to enroll in the Aviation Maintenance Technology program. 

"The sophomore showcase was really the clincher, as I had an insane amount of fun in the Aviation portion and the people made me smile. It was like looking at a small, technically-skilled family, and it suddenly hit me that this was something I definitely wanted to be a part of. That spur of the moment choice was probably one of the best decisions I could have made regarding my future," Nutter said.

As part of her studies, Nutter joined SkillsUSA, a student organization that is a partnership of students, educators and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.

Nutter recently competed in the SkillsUSA National Aviation Maintenance Technology competition and won first place. Along with the gold medal, she received more than $7,000 worth of tools. Taking her skills to the competition, Nutter realized how much she had learned being a part of both organizations.

"I've met some legitimately awesome people who I probably would never have met in any other circumstance. The wealth of knowledge on a new subject has also been great. Also, I was admittedly not the most skilled hands-on person, but I feel as if aviation has let me get over that skill gap," Nutter said.

She plans to finish the Aviation program and work in industry. She is currently working toward a degree in teaching and may pursue both careers paths.

"I am currently working toward a degree so that I can teach. I have played with the idea of coming back to Gordon Cooper and teaching here once everything is said and done," Nutter said.

With the gold medal around her neck, Nutter knows the sky is the limit.​

What made me decide to go to aviation?

- Aviation was a spur of the moment decision for me, honestly. I had always intended to attend Gordon Cooper, but by my sophomore year, I hadn't picked a program. The sophomore showcase was really the clincher, as I had an insane amount of fun in the aviation portion and the people made me smile. It was like looking at a small, technically-skilled family, and it suddenly hit me that this was something I definitely wanted to be a part of. That spur of the moment choice was probably one of the best decisions I could have made regarding my future.

What I've gotten out of aviation?

- A better question would probably be "what haven't I gotten out of aviation". I've met some legitimately awesome people who I probably would never have met in any other circumstance. The wealth of knowledge on a new subject has also been great. Also, I was admittedly not the most skilled hands-on person, but I feel as if aviation has let me get over that skill gap.

Future plans?

-First, I do intend to finish my program and get my certification. Once I have that, I would like to work within the industry and start getting my name out there. But, I am also currently working towards a degree so that I can teach. I have played with the idea of coming back to Gordon Cooper and teaching here once everything is said and done. However, nothing is really set in stone at the moment, and I'm playing most of my future plans by ear.