Elizabeth City State University Alumnus Keishon Ellis ‘22 is the institution’s first graduate of the Federal Aviation Administration Academy (FAA), since the university partnered with the organization in 2022 to train prospective air traffic controllers.

ECSU is one of only 31 institutions in the nation approved for the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative (AT-CTI). The initiative’s goal is to collaborate with partner schools to deliver up-to-date air traffic training that matches the requirements of the National Airspace System and helps provide qualified applicants for the FAA.

Ellis graduated ECSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Science with a concentration in Professional Aeronautics. In January, he began training with the FAA and is now continuing his training at the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Denver, Colo., to become a certified professional controller.

“It felt amazing to be a part of the program. It is pretty challenging to go through, but I had a very good support system, good teachers, and classmates to help me along the way,” Ellis said.

ECSU anticipates more graduates from its Department of Aviation and Emergency Management will be able to participate in the training. ECSU is one of only three Historically Black Colleges and Universities who’re part of the initiative. AT-CTI schools offer two- and four-year non-engineering aviation degrees that teach basic courses in air traffic control and aviation administration.

“We are very proud of Keishon and will be tracking his further success” said Robin Mangham, ECSU Department of Aviation and Emergency Management aviation program coordinator.

ECSU’s Aviation Science program boasts five areas of specialization: Flight Education; Aviation Management; Avionics; Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Professional Aeronautics. Enrollment in the program totals more than 180 students, with a nearly 60 % minority student population. Moreover, ECSU is one of only 42 institutions worldwide to offer an aviation degree program accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AAB International).