Senior Dontaerius Weakley becomes the first student selected for the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority CO-OP Program

A senior from Alcorn State University just completed an internship that steers him closer to his aviation dream career.

Dontaerius Weakley, a biology/pre-medicine major from Jackson, Mississippi, was the first student selected for the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA) Cooperative Education (CO-OP) Program. The new three-week program began Monday, July 27, and ended Thursday, Aug. 13.

The JMAA CO-OP Program provides interns with an opportunity to shadow various airport professionals in their respective departments to boost their interest in a career at JMAA. 

Securing the position was a significant accomplishment for Weakley. Being an Alcorn student gives him the chance to advocate for internship and job opportunities for students from the University.

“It’s an honor to be the first person ever to be selected,” said Weakley. “I’ve always wanted an opportunity like this. It feels good not only to be the first student selected for the program but also to be an Alcornite because it allows me to build a bridge for other Alcorn students.”

Participating in an internship at the airport was perfect for Weakley because he became interested in aviation careers. The opportunity was a good fit for him to learn more about the field and to grow comfortable exploring careers outside of biology.

“The program helped me to boost my confidence. It also helped me to be open-minded to explore other fields outside of my major. Because of the program, I’m more mature, and I have the confidence to pursue all of my dreams.”

After all that Weakley has experienced in the program, he feels that a career in aviation is attainable.

“This internship is beneficial because it has shown me that a career in aviation is possible. I believe there are many opportunities for me in this industry. My professional outlook has changed.”

Weakley credits the leadership from his mentors at Alcorn for preparing him to succeed beyond the classroom.

“Alcorn equips its students' minds so that we can be mentally strong. Our professors and mentors continue to push us to be great and achieve our goals in whatever field we decide to pursue. Alcorn has taught me to always put my best foot forward in every task that’s given to me.”