No Such Thing as Flying Too High : A Malaysian Story
By Ilyas Alex Chan
Ilyas is contributing story writer at The WiAA Project
When you are only 21 years old, and you already have your achievements published by a Malaysian mainstream media group and an online news portal, that’s a big deal. On top of that, your Australian alma mater also proudly shouts out your achievements in their student portal. That means you are probably on your way to become famous !
Meet Nicole Ng Kylie. Now 22 years old, she is the perfect role model for a Merdeka-feel-good-Malaysian-over-achiever story.
Nicole is Selangor-born, one of two siblings in the family and she has super-supportive parents. A top-performing student during her school days here, she caught that Malaysian anomaly…she was “blur-blur” about what she wanted to be exactly and what she wanted to study in University.
Following her initial instincts, she signed on to study Automotive engineering. One semester in, she decided to flush that down the toilet.
On a leap of faith, Nicole took up a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation (Management). And she got hooked. Big time. She has spent the best part of 2017 to 2019 as an undergraduate at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.
2019 was her take-off year. And not only did she take-off, she took-off at full throttle !
Nicole began racking up highlight after highlight while still an undergraduate. She did not bother to wait until she graduated. Here is a peek at what she has achieved for herself so far :-
At Uni, Nicole was mentored by Captain James Nixon, perhaps better known for his books on aviation and in particular “The Crash of MH370”. Captain Nixon was also an A380 pilot. That mean he was top gun in the airliner world.
In 2019, Nicole was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society. This is the world’s largest honour society for collegiate and university students, with over 400 affiliated universities worldwide. Nicole is not shy to be seen among the best of the best.
Nicole is a straight 4.0 GPA student. No ifs, no buts.
During her winter holidays, she scratched an itch for some real action by getting herself signed up as an intern / Marketing Trainee with Dviation Group in Malaysia, a Part 145 and Part 147 organization. She has since produced over 40 industry articles for Dviation apart from supporting her boss Trixie Joy Guantero in producing marketing collaterals, doing events, engaging in social media, graphics designing for online contents and also market research.
THE BIG ONE
The icing on the cake (or the frosting on the nose cone, if you like) for Nicole was when she became the first recipient of the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA) scholarship at Swinburne University of Technology, awarded in early 2019.
This global scholarship gave Nicole access and entry into the club of some of the most powerful women in aviation globally. Only 6 scholarships were awarded worldwide and Nicole clinched one of them in a win for the Asia Pacific, with the rest dominated by North American and European candidates. Only 2 scholarship recipients were undergraduate students, while the others were post-graduate seniors.
The scholarship also included a fully-paid trip to Lima, Peru in October 2019 to attend the IAWA Annual Conference where she rubbed shoulders with aviation industry leaders, including the women of NASA.
Nicole told The Star in an interview that she was particularly inspired by a meeting with Airbus’ Senior VP Katherine Bennett, who was named the “7th Most Influential Woman in Engineering” by the UK Financial Times.
Nicole was among the 2 youngest attendees out of almost 200 delegates at the IAWA Annual Conference. Malaysia Boleh !
WHAT NEXT ?
These days, Nicole continues to work remotely for Dviation while awaiting the pandemic travel restrictions to be lifted so that she can return to Australia to continue chasing her dreams.
When asked where she saw herself in 5 years, she replied that she would like to be more involved in the more technical side of aviation including Air Traffic Control, Flight Dispatching and so on. These are areas she trained for at University and in true Nicole spirit, she wants to sponge off all she can learn from the aviation frontlines. This girl is FEARLESS !
In her interview with FMT for a feature on her achievements in December 2019, Nicole poignantly paid tribute to her parents. “The people that inspire me to do my best are my parents. Not that they are pressuring me, but I just feel like I want to do the best for them”.
These are the words of a perfectionist. She tries to perform beyond what is expected of her.
In the same feature article in FMT, Nicole reinforced her role model credentials by advising students and the young to have discipline in their routines, to balance schoolwork and play….but to do work before play.
From her words, she recognizes there are challenges to women who choose a career in aviation but she does not believe these are hard stops. It certainly won’t be stopping her.
No such thing as flying too high. Nicole Ng Kylie. Malaysian extraordinaire.