Opportunity Maker

5 Students Who are Opportunity Makers

5 Students Who
Alisha Garcia

Alisha Garcia

  • Laci Brock
  • Anthony Cofer
  • Alisha Garcia
  • Elias Theodosis
  • Crissy Travis

Name: Alisha Garcia
Major: Professional Flight
Minor: Spanish
Year: Freshman
Hometown: Indianapolis

Meet Alisha: future pilot, the first in her family of six children to go to college and cancer survivor. Her attitude? “So I had brain cancer. So what?” The brain tumor that doctors took out when she was 13 was just a bump in her runway. With a dream to fly, she isn’t letting anything stop her.

Big-screen moment

“You know how in the movies everything stops and gets blurry, and you don’t really know what’s going on? That’s what it felt like when I was 13 and they told me I had a brain tumor. My first thought was, ‘How am I gonna get to school if I’m in the hospital?’”

Fly high

“I think where it started was in sixth grade, when I had a teacher who had been in the Air Force. He talked about a secret mission he went on. I really wanted to be a fighter pilot — the best damn fighter pilot there ever was.”

All about Amelia

“It was Amelia Earhart. Through her, I found out about Purdue. I applied to other schools, too. But in the end, I knew I wanted to fly, so that’s why I came to Purdue.”

On the bubble

“I went to get my medical certificate [to fly] and the doctor said that because of my brain tumor history that he wasn’t able to sign off. He sent me to the federal air surgeon, and he denied me. So I appealed. Last I heard, my file went back to the original surgeon last week.”

Whatever it takes

“I just don’t know how it’s going to work out, but I have to go with what makes me happy. If I have to work three times as hard as everybody else to achieve my goals and to be happy, I will. Whatever I try to do, I’ll succeed.”

By Amy Raley
Published April 2012