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Hallmark Graduate Annie Illy in new careerAnnie Illy graduated from Hallmark University’s A&P Program in 2016, Magnum Cum Laude. She walked the stage, gave a speech to the graduating class and audience, and has since become the aircraft maintenance supervisor of a major airline. Her passion for aeronautics has been with her since she was a child, and has always enjoyed working outdoors. But you probably wouldn’t guess that before Annie joined Hallmark University to pursue aeronautics, she was originally an Assistant Vice President at a major banking institution.

“Since I was little, I have loved working on airplanes. My best friend’s father had a hangar and he did different kinds of aircraft work,” said Annie Illy. “So I worked for an airline for almost nine years as a manager, and we did the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. I entered in on the ramp and there were a ton of aircraft and throwing bags and just the whole airport environment. And I really liked being outside for this, but I didn’t quit the job at the time since it was a significant pay cut.”

Annie moved on to serve in different positions, namely as Assistant VP for Citi Bank and Wells Fargo as a manager in their mortgage department. For every commute between her work and home, she would pass by Hallmark University.

“I was driving by Hallmark University every day on my way to every job. I had to pass Hallmark University and I kept saying “I am going to go to that school.” First I said it in my mind, then I started saying it out loud. I started saying it to other people and everybody thought I had completely lost my mind. I had a really good job and my mother thought I should be a CEO at my job, and that’s just not something I wanted to do… so after driving by Hallmark and looking it up a few times, I just decided that I wanted to be an aircraft mechanic. After twenty years I realized “If I don’t do this now, I’m never going to do it.”

Annie resigned and registered at Hallmark the following day in August of 2015. She attended with no previous mechanical experience or training, making Hallmark’s hands-on training a valuable addition to her education. During her career at Hallmark, Annie took jets apart, assembled aircraft engines, and worked with sheet metal products she could use at interviews to showcase her work. “I love it; it’s the greatest thing I ever did for myself. And I completely agree that Hallmark University changes lives, that is a fact.”

After graduation, Annie returned to the carrier she had been previously employed at but now works on the operational side. Annie interviewed and was promoted to a supervisor opening eighteen months after starting her new career, now coordinating the maintenance and logistics for the carrier.

We asked her what advice she would give to current students and anyone looking to receive a higher education. Annie responded with this:

“You know you’re going to love it immediately. And if you don’t know that, then you might not be in the right career field. But when it gets hard and rough, and you’re wondering what you’re doing there, stick with it because the end result is a significant achievement and reward, and I will never regret my decision to start over.”

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