To increase diversity, Aviation Authority selects 2 S.C. State students as first interns

Temarrick Hemingway

In an effort to increase diversity at Charleston County Aviation Authority, two South Carolina State students have been selected as the first to participate in the agency’s new internship program targeting minorities.

Temarrick Hemingway of Loris and Claudia Thompson of Woodstock, Ga., were chosen from among five finalists and started their 10-week internship May 18.

The agency’s internship program is designed to give students from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity for hands-on experience in airport operations and management.

It also furthers the Aviation Authority’s commitment to cultivating and recruiting a diverse workforce through community and educational outreach.

At the end of 2014, the agency had 44 minorities in its 153-person workforce, according to airport spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells. The minorities included 39 African-Americans, three Hispanics and two Asians. That’s about 28.8 percent minority makeup.

On the administrative side, the team of 18 includes three minorities — two Hispanics and one African-American — for 16.6 percent makeup.

The interns will earn between $13 and $15 an hour, and the program could expand to other colleges and universities in the future.

“Working at an airport is an exciting opportunity to learn about the many facets of aviation and airport operations,” said Paul Campbell, director of airports for the Aviation Authority. “The internship benefits students because it creates educational opportunities that will help them develop the skills needed to seek employment in the aviation industry.”

Hemingway is working on his bachelor’s degree in business administration-management. He attends S.C. State on a football scholarship and has a 3.35 grade-point average. Hemingway aspires to work in human resources or lead a board of directors for a major company. Later, he would like to run his own business.

Thompson is a 2013 graduate of S.C. State where she earned an undergraduate degree in physics with a minor in medical physics. She is currently working toward her master’s in transportation at S.C. State and is conducting research on transit-oriented development and greenhouse emissions. As a member of the school’s marching band, she plays French horn and oboe. A scholarship recipient, Thompson has a 4.0 grade-point average.

After she completes her education, which includes earning a doctorate, Thompson wants to work in the transportation field, finding environmentally friendly solutions to transportation problems.

The airport interns will spend time in each of the Aviation Authority’s 13 departments, including operations, finance, engineering, police, security and transportation at Charleston International, Mount Pleasant Regional Airport and Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or