From Math Teacher to Mechanic

Samantha (Cortese) Taunton
Myrtle Beach Campus, SC

Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT)

Pratt & Whitney, A&P Mechanic

After high school, Samantha Taunton earned a degree in Mathematics from a four-year college and got a job as a high school teacher, only to discover she was completely unsatisfied with her chosen path. She considered changing careers to become a pilot, but instead she enrolled in the A&P program at PIA’s Myrtle Beach Campus, where she earned her A&P license.

“It was a very different experience for me, because I had never worked on cars or other machines before — it was a whole new style of learning,” says Taunton. “But one of my math professors in college used to work at Lockheed, and he taught me that if you can figure out the answer to a problem one step at a time, you can always solve it.”

Today, Taunton works as an A&P mechanic at Pratt & Whitney, where she enjoys reverse-engineering solutions to a different problem every day. “Being a mechanic is really all about math, which I love,” says Taunton. “I just never would have thought to apply it in this way.”


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