Small town, small school, big dreams

97th Air Mobility Wing, Public Affairs
Story by Airman 1st Class Klynne Pearl Serrano

Date: 03.22.2013
Posted: 03.22.2013 15:21
News ID: 103966
Small town, small school, big dreams

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – She is from a small town where she went to a small school, but she had a big dream to become a pilot.<br /> <br /> Maj. Meghan Fridley, a Big Lake, Alaska, native, expressed that with dedication and hard work, one’s goals can be accomplished.<br /> <br /> “As a little girl I decided I wanted to be a pilot, which is what drove my decision to go to the Air Force Academy where I majored in astronautical engineering,” Fridley said. <br /> <br /> Fridley sometimes felt lonely being the only woman in her classes.<br /> <br /> “I would be sitting in class and realize, ‘I don’t think I have a class with another woman all day. This is a different world, different from high school, and different from anything I’ve ever experienced growing up,’” Fridley said. <br /> <br /> To boost herself up, Fridley started looking at the situation from another angle. <br /> <br /> “I think it’s good to celebrate who and what you are - woman, man, culture, or religion - but that is not all of you,” Fridley said. “I started focusing on being a member of the military and an engineering graduate instead of just focusing on being a woman. I think looking at what part of you is still included in a larger group is helpful.”<br /> <br /> Fridley described that being looked at differently because of being a woman was one obstacle she faced during her career in the Air Force.<br /> <br /> “It happened in pilot training too,” Fridley said. “Sometimes I did have to work a little bit harder (than the males did) because if for a moment someone realized that I was the only female, I was spotlighted. But as long as you’re getting the job done and you’re achieving the best that you can, I think that speaks for itself.”<br /> <br /> Eager to share her experience and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Fridley took the reins of the STEM program at Altus AFB.<br /> <br /> “We started with the teachers, by showing them how we use STEM in our day-to-day lives.” Fridley said. “I think we can expand further as this program continues and apply our expertise to what the children are doing in classes - show them directly that they do have to learn these subjects, because later in life it can help them get a good career in the STEM field.”<br /> <br /> When reflecting on what inspired her to pursue her dreams, one woman in history came to Fridley’s mind.<br /> <br /> “My mom is definitely my inspiration,” Fridley said. “She raised me to never know boundaries, never know limits, and that I can do anything I want to do. She pushed me all along the way. When I wanted to quit, she wouldn’t let me, she continued to push me to achieve my dreams. It’s definitely thanks to my mom that I am where I am today.”<br /> <br /> Today, Fridley is assigned to the 58th Airlift Squadron as a C-17 Globemaster III evaluator pilot and will be going on her third deployment in the upcoming months. She hopes she is able to inspire women every day, wherever she goes.<br /> <br /> “Don’t let it intimidate you being alone - being the only woman there - because you’ve got what it takes, and if you want something bad enough you can get there,” she said.