A 2015 Young Alumni Award nominee:
Caroline van Arendonk’s career has soared to great heights in the three short years since graduating from the Geography and Aviation program in 2012. She has risen quickly in her career becoming a pilot at a major airline. Working hard to build her in-flight hours in a variety of different pilot positions across Ontario, van Arendonk caught the eye of West Jet Encore and was offered a position as First Officer on the Bombardier Q400.
During her time at the University of Waterloo, van Arendonk assumed a leadership role and volunteered at orientation for both environmental and aviation programs. She demonstrated a dedication to the success of her peers and would give her time to provide entire classes with recap aviation sessions in preparation for their days aviation training. Further, she volunteered to share her upper-year experience with students via one-on-one tutoring sessions.
Van Arendonk’s career in the aviation industry began early on while she was still pursuing her academic studies. In her third year she was teaching beginner and licensed pilots how to fly, and held the position of the Fun Flyer Coordinator at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre.
Upon graduation she became a fire detection pilot in Northern Ontario, from which she made the leap to become a Medvac pilot at Ornge Global Air. She worked minimum 12-hour shifts and provided the air support required to ensure people in Northern Communities could receive medical care on short-notice
With two years of experience and hundreds flight hours in the fire detection and the emergency evacuation areas of the aviation industry, van Arendonk was offered a position as captain of a multi-engine aircraft. A brief six-months later the owners promoted her to Chief Pilot of the operation, which made her responsible for training, the creation of standard operating procedures and reporting to Transport Canada.
Van Arendonk has successfully completed her training and line indoctrination for West Jet and has officially assumed the role of First Officer.