Brittany Gallarneau applies lessons learned at Purdue in her career as a first officer for Envoy Air
When Amelia Earhart came to Purdue in 1935 as a consultant on careers for women, she imagined a future in which young women persistently pursued work that they loved — like Brittany Gallarneau (BS professional flight ’21).
“I decided I wanted to fly when I was about 17,” she says. “My dad (Hugh Gallarneau, American Airlines 737 captain) was my first flight instructor; he taught me while I earned my private pilot’s license.”
Aviation was something Gallarneau wanted to pursue professionally, and Purdue was the right place for her to take her next steps and earn a professional flight degree.
“Purdue is one of the best aviation schools in the country,” she says. “But I also wanted to feel like I was going to college to have a broader experience and go somewhere with great school spirit.”
She accomplished that goal in a significant way, earning a spot on the Purdue Golduster Dance Team. For four years, Gallarneau practiced many hours a day, five days a week, with the team.
“For me, it was just amazing because I was able to continue my love for dancing while meeting many different people,” she says. “And it taught me a lot about teamwork. So many people coming from different dance backgrounds, different states, different walks of life, and we all got to dance together in support of one big cause — Purdue.”
Gallarneau developed close friendships in Goldusters, as well as with her roommates in college, none of whom were aviation majors. She says, “I was able to really branch out and meet people. And I love that about Purdue.”
Genuine curiosity about other people and the ability to quickly form connections with them has served Gallarneau well, both in her aviation education and career.
“I made wonderful friends in professional flight,” she says. “We all went to different airlines, but we’re all still close friends today. It’s cool that we get to fly around the country and meet up with each other in different places.”
Gallarneau is a first officer for Envoy Air, the largest regional carrier for American Airlines. People tend to assume that means she flies a fixed route over and over. The opposite is true.
“We fly all over the country,” she says. “We also fly up to Canada, down to Mexico and to the Caribbean. Last night I was in North Carolina, but I could also be heading to Dallas, Baton Rouge, Miami, Phoenix, Chicago, New York. It’s nice to have the diversity of different destinations, new places.”
Different routes mean regularly working with entirely different crews — something Gallarneau loves. “Everybody has their own story,” she says. “We’re all bringing something different to the table. I get to fly with former helicopter pilots, fighter jet pilots, Purdue alums, and that is fun.”
One of Gallarneau’s favorite things about her job is making special moments possible for her passengers.
“No matter where I am,” she says, “I know that I have a little bit of a bigger purpose in connecting passengers. People might be traveling for a birthday, a wedding, a funeral. Airports have this huge emotional veil over them: the sad hugs of goodbyes, the happy groups of people cheering and holding ‘welcome home’ signs. And I love being part of all of that.”
Gallarneau also likes making connections with future aviators. Like Earhart before her, Gallarneau is inspiring the next generation of women pilots. She participates in Girls in Aviation Day at Purdue, encouraging young girls to consider the profession. And she is a part-time recruiter for Envoy Air, recently participating in the 34th Annual Women in Aviation International Conference.
“My job gives me such great opportunities,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll get this beautiful sunset or sunrise, or I’ll get to see the stars or fly over the mountains. And I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m 30,000 feet in the air, and I am so blessed to be able to do this.’”
Everybody has their own story. We’re all bringing something different to the table. I get to fly with former helicopter pilots, fighter jet pilots, Purdue alums, and that is fun.Brittany Gallarneau BS professional flight ’21