Saluki Spotlight

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Meet Jenna Chumbley, one of our SIU off-campus instructors for Aviation Management at our community college partner, Southwestern Illinois College, in Belleville. In Fall 2021, she taught her first SIU Class, Fiscal Aspects of Aviation Management. Soon, she will teach Aviation Industry Career Development. To her, being a Saluki is being a part of a very large family. She’s been an active member of the aviation industry for 16 years. We’re proud to have her as a member of our Saluki family and our Saluki Spotlight this week!

Jenna has been a part of the Saluki Family since 2002, when she began earning her bachelor’s degree from SIU in Aviation Management, a recipient of the William R. Norwood Aviation Scholarship (2004), graduating in 2005. After graduation, she began a very successful career with the Boeing Company, continued her education, later married a fellow Saluki, and started her own family. She earned a Master of Science in Aviation Safety from the University of Central Missouri (2007) and later another graduate degree Executive Master of International Business from Saint Louis University’s Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business (2018). In that time, she earned many honors and achieved many goals. She was a part of the Boeing Emerging Leaders Development Program, class of 2018, Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society, April 2018, and recently become an active member of the Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation, Class of 2020.

 “The education I received at SIU helped pave the way for a very successful career,” she says.

 Jenna had a lot of support and influence to help her find her calling and get her education, and she thanks her family for supporting and loving her, former neighbor, Chester Razer, for helping her find her passion within Aerospace, and Dr. Robert Kaps for being the best instructor and mentor throughout her career. Now she’s back with SIU as an instructor at our off-campus location at SWIC. There, Jenna will help prepare students for what’s next in the world of Aerospace and help set them up with the skills and insights they will need to succeed in the Aviation industry.

“It’s an honor to be back at SIU and teaching,” Jenna says.

Jenna grew up in Sparta, Illinois, a small town about a 45-minute drive from Carbondale. She started her aviation journey in elementary school with the help of her neighbor at the local airport.

“My next-door neighbor got his private pilot’s license and would take his daughter and I flying.”

Those first experiences flying sparked her love and interest in flight. Her goals from then on settled around her pursuit of working in the aerospace industry.

 “I was so fascinated in aerospace and knew I wanted to do something within the industry.”

The SIU Aviation programs are known for hiring industry leaders to teach Saluki students. They often focus on real-world scenarios to help students develop the skills needed most in the aerospace industry. Jenna’s experiences were no different.

“My favorite part of the SIU AVM program was learning from the professors who had real-world experience. It was so amazing to hear and learn from them. When I began working in the industry, I found they were spot on,” Jenna mentions.

After 16 years in the aerospace field, Jenna got the chance to come back and teach new generations of Saluki Aviation students, using her personal experiences and insights.

“It was my dream to come back and teach at SIU once I had experience under my belt. I’m ready to help prepare the students for the real world they will be entering. I will never forget my undergraduate experience and how it helped me with my career and life, and I want my students to have the same experience.”

While Jenna is an instructor with SIU, she doesn’t conduct her classes on the SIU Carbondale campus. Instead, she teaches at Southwestern Illinois College, our community college partner located about 15 minutes from Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, IL. The Aviation Management program offered at SWIC helps cater to all different types of students. It’s accelerated and conducted in a weekend format, so many students have the chance to earn their degrees without disrupting their careers.

“The majority of the SIU extended campus students work full-time and attend class on the weekends,” she claims.

This format was initially developed for military personnel back when SIU opened its first off-campus location at Scott Air Force Base in 1973. SWIC’S proximity to Scott allows SIU to continue helping active-duty military members earn a degree while serving their country, even giving us the chance to expand that same weekend, accelerated format to non-military working students in the area.

This unique format and location help create a more diverse student body for Jenna, which gives her the essential insights to learn and adapt to the ever-changing aerospace industry. 

“I love talking and working through real-world challenges with the students. I learn just as much from the students as they learn from me.”

Jenna mentions that she loved her undergraduate experience at SIU. She said it helped her in her career and all through her life. Her goal while teaching is to give her students the same quality education and experiences that she had to move on to their careers with confidence.

“When they start their careers, I want them to remember what they learned in my class and how it helped pave the way in their career.”

We’re proud to have Jenna as part of our teaching faculty and glad to see a Saluki teaching future generations of Salukis because once a Saluki, always a Saluki.