Student Spotlight - Phil Hirst

Student Spotlight - Phil Hirst

Phil Hirst, an Aeronautics major with a concentration in Unmanned Aircraft Systems and minor in Aviation Management, is highly involved on campus despite being only a first year student. Hirst is a member of Kent State University’s Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives, where he has had the opportunity to travel to numerous airports and air traffic control towers for tours and networking opportunities with industry professionals. In addition, Hirst serves as the social media and fundraising chair of the KSU chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and is also a member of the organization’s philanthropy and recruitment board. 

In addition to his commitments to social and academic organizations, Hirst works as both a Line Service Technician at the Kent State Airport and as a Custom Program Facilitator at the Campus Student Recreation and Wellness Center. As a Line Service Technician, Hirst assists on both airport and aircraft maintenance and operations. In his Program Facilitator role, he assists students using the rock climbing wall within the recreation center. 

During his college search, Hirst was struck by Kent State University’s welcoming atmosphere, stating “I have never met such warm and welcoming faculty members and students…everyone is here to help each other, and the college doesn’t make students feel stressed.” Hirst was also drawn to the University due in part to the College of Aeronautics and Engineering’s rapid growth and expansion: “From the new expansion project at the Aeronautics and Engineering Building to the airport renovations, the future is approaching fast and the College of Aeronautics and Engineering is one step ahead.”

Hirst believes that the biggest advantages to his Kent State University Education have been the College of Aeronautics and Engineering’s focus on hands-on learning. This, alongside the supportive community created by College faculty, staff, and students, have given Hirst the space to grow as a student and young professional. The extracurricular activities offered by Kent State also allow Hirst to build his network of industry professionals in a unique and meaningful way. 

When asked about advice to a future student, Hirst recommends maintaining a good balance of their school, work, and other activities: “My main priority is my school work but keeping a healthy social and emotional mind can only better academic skills. I love to work, working at the airport and rec center allows me to take a break from school but also allows me to build relationships and learn more.” Hirst also cites the importance of having a well-rounded college experience, adding “Hanging out with friends and meeting new people every day is just as important as doing homework. Coming to a university is far more than making someone a better student, you are coming here to prepare yourself for living on your own and making critical decisions.”

Hirst hosted an Instagram Take-Over on Wednesday, April 5th on the CAE’s Instagram (@KentStateCAE)! Check out his take over in the “Highlights” on our Instagram page! 

For more information about the College of Aeronautics and Engineering programs, visit

POSTED: Thursday, April 20, 2023 02:34 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2024 11:22 AM