April 29, 2020

Polytechnic campus student body president Daniel Pasco earns his wings

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2020 graduates.

When Daniel Pasco stepped onto an airliner for his school's eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C., he was thrilled. Now graduating from ASU with a degree in professional flight, he still gets the same feeling every time he steps onto a plane. 

“Traveling brings new experiences and changing environments, which helps motivate me and keep me focused,” Pasco said. “I quickly realized the opportunities associated with being a pilot align well with my desired lifestyle and career.”

After an introductory flight, he was hooked. When the Chicago, Illinois, native left home to visit ASU, his plane had to be deiced before takeoff.

“We landed in Phoenix and it was 75 degrees and it was absolutely beautiful,” he said. “I was really impressed by the aviation program and faculty.”

Pasco never pictured himself having a 9-to-5 desk job. “Travel gives me so many opportunities,” he said. “You have to constantly change and adapt as a pilot.”

He graduates with an opportunity to fly with Envoy Air, American Airlines’ largest regional carrier, though that is postponed due to the coronavirus.

Question: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

Answer: My experience of student body president at Poly for the past two academic years has afforded me the opportunity to get exposed to how such a large enterprise operates and what it takes to make ASU's charter possible for all of our students. It has allowed me to gain so much appreciation for this institution and understand how hard the leadership works behind the scenes so students have the opportunities they need to self-actualize during their time at ASU and beyond. I've been so humbled to work with Dr. (Michael) Crow and his entire team to make the New American University model work.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose Arizona State University because of the quality of the professional fight program, and as a Midwest native, it was the perfect opportunity to see a different part of our country.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: Professor (Michael) Pearson taught us a really important principle in his Aviation Law and Regulations course; he challenged us to think differently. He presented to us many nonconventional principles that university courses often don't stress enough. He made sure we know how to think critically and write our thoughts professionally, regardless if it was about law and regulations. These skills are foundational to the rest of our lives.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: For those still studying, I cannot stress enough to live the life that you want to live. You're the pilot in command of your life, not the co-pilot. Avoid signing up for things to just put it on your resume. Stay true to your ideals and committed to your vision for what makes you happy; as long as you do that and treat others with integrity, your resume will be strong.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: Poly is such a peaceful campus. Going for walks all around campus are calming and the desert arboretum setting beats most campuses. The student union is a great location to connect with colleagues and friends, and my second home is the simulator building, home to the majority of aviation and engineering courses.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduation, my professional goals include flying as an airline pilot, and someday becoming a designated pilot examiner, responsible for issuing (Federal Aviation Administration) airman certificates in the U.S. I also have aspirations of being a CEO for a nonprofit as well.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: If someone gave me $40 million, I'd establish a nationwide, nonprofit animal rescue. I am a proud volunteer of Wright Way Rescue, the most successful animal rescue in the state of Illinois. I'd love to grow this effort across our country of saving the lives of thousands of animals annually.

Top photo: Daniel Pasco is graduating with a degree in aeronautical management technology (professional flight), through the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He is the University Student Government president for the Polytechnic campus. He intends to move back to his hometown of Chicago where he will join Envoy Air, a regional carrier of American Airlines. He poses with a twin-engine Piper Seminole on Friday, April 24, 2020. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now

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