Followup: History-making South Seattle College team back from aerospace competition, sharing successes and gratitude

(Photos courtesy CrystalRose Hudelson)
“The world of aviation is so vast, with endless possibilities waiting to be explored by young men and women!”

So says CrystalRose Hudelson, who you first met here in January as she shared the news that she and other South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) students had formed an all-woman team to head to the Aviation Maintenance Competition in Las Vegas – the school’s first-ever team to compete.

We also reported on their quest for – and acquisition of – the support they needed to get there, as well as their months of training/practicing. Now, they’re back and celebrating their successes:

Hudelson’s team, coached by longtime aviation mechanic Mary Hadley and also including Agnes Choung, Jennifer Lesher, Melissa Miedan Wang, and Sarah McKenna, placed first in one of the events in which they competed, the “Grey Owl Human Factors” event, with a time of 7:06. She explains that events were judged mostly on a 20-minute time basis.

Overall, she says, “The team did well in the competition. The judges and other professional teams commented on how well we did. This let us know that they know we are knowledgeable in the event materials. We did not, however, place overall. There is only 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place overall.”

Ahead, their other achievements, more photos, and what’s next:

*Avaris Composites event, 13:23
*Alaska Airlines Simulator event, 8:57
*Alberth Troubleshooting event, 18:54
*ATP Technical Publications event, 14:25
*Price Induction Turbine II event, 18:00

The final time was less than four hours; full results are linked here.

(Each team member also received a pneumatic rivet gun as a consolation prize!)

Teacher and coach Mary Hadley: “The girls performed extremely well and they are rock stars for a first time out. Just getting out there and really making a showing for performing under pressure was great.”

School representative Michelle Crowe of the Air Washington Project, assisting the team: “The team worked hard and did a great job at the competition!”

And from Hudelson: “We felt great about the whole experience. The aviation maintenance individuals voiced to us how much they encouraged and welcomed women in the field. We made many professional connections including Washington[based teams Alaska Airlines and Team Boeing:

“There is a rumor that there may be a team-up of the school with Boeing to sponsor an event for next year!”

She adds, “At the competition there were many networking opportunities and a chance to watch true professionals at work. The world of aviation is so vast with endless possibilities waiting to be explored by young men and women! The question that had come up about the competition from some people was why an all women’s team. The answer simply being ‘Why not?’ The aerospace maintenance competition as well as the field of aviation is open to men and women. Women just happened to be a minority in the maintenance industry. So…why not? We have high hopes that the school will continue this for everyone every year. In the future, participation may be more based on academic standing and teacher recommendation rather than the team lead choosing individuals. Any individual the school sends to this event would likely benefit professionally, mechanically, and personally. The friendly competitiveness and professional welcoming would make anyone with an aviation interest want to grow and learn that much more. We are all proud to be part of the aviation community.”

Last but by no means least, she has a list of thanks:

We would like to thank all the people who helped us out along the way: South Seattle Community College, Kim Anderson, Michelle Crowe, Mary Hadley, Don Burgess, Jim Bentley, Mary Lynch, Paul Bjelajac, Anton Amaratunge, Charlie Daehne, Lynette Ashland, Cessa Heard-Johnson and the fee board, Ellen Gordon, Beth Ramsey, Team Alaska Airlines, Steve Travers, Ken MacTiernan, Shea Fuller, Anne Comer, Roman Larsen, Rachel Husted, Erin Nunn, Miegan Wegrzyn, Scott Hurd, Michele Smith, Marcus Clark, Heidi Munkres, Betsy Andrews, Joseph Grande, H.J. Cancannan, Liang Sim, Paul West, Alicia Bounds, John Commeree, Ben Blain, Kevin L. King, Kathy Fosnaugh, Leah Sullivan, Thomas Lynch, Daniel Creson, Barbara Erwine, Joanne Brayden, Christopher Boffoli, Angie Hudson, Indhira Campbell, Lisa Huston, Gayle Pucci, Brad Burzynski, Kayla Weiner, Express Credit Union, Bill Packard, Tom and Julie Denison, Purity Bowen, West Seattle Blog, and all of our anonymous supporters and donors. We thank you: for without you this would not have been possible.

One more note from Hudelson: “The team has already started making appearances to share their story upon request and is more than happy to do so. All requests should be sent to or

“This has been one of the many events that South Seattle’s aviation club has participated in. We are currently looking for sponsors for our upcoming student learning opportunities, similar to this one. Follow or e-mail for details.”

5 Replies to "Followup: History-making South Seattle College team back from aerospace competition, sharing successes and gratitude"

  • Al April 9, 2014 (8:47 am)

    This is great! I wish there had been similar programs when I was younger…it looks like fun and a great experience (not to mention all important networking…).

  • LivesInWS April 9, 2014 (10:19 am)

    Fantastic! Kudos to the team!

    As to why an all-women’s team, there look to be plenty of all-men’s teams out there. Should be OK to have more than a few all-women’s teams.

  • ScubaFrog April 9, 2014 (10:32 am)

    Yeah that’s fantastic. Great work SSCC, what a heck of a team!

  • Jord April 9, 2014 (11:06 am)

    Awesome job by all! A first place in an event in a competition like this is really an accomplishment. Up against professionals from Boeing, Alaska Airlines, UPS, FedEX, etc. to beat them all is something to be proud of. Even more impressive the first time out for a program.

  • JoB April 10, 2014 (7:54 pm)

    Great job!
    thank you for representing us so well…
    Rosie the riveter would be proud.

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