Alumnus learns sky's the limit while at Ole Miss

April 2012 By

An alumnus said studying engineering at the University of Mississippi forever altered the course of his life.

Head of the aircraft engineering department at Al Ain International Aviation Academy in the United Arab Emirates, Beshara I. Sholy (BSEE 83, MS 86) said he learned to "make his way in this world by not following cookie-cutter ideas" about what an engineer should be, something instilled in him at Ole Miss.

"I am proud to say that I received a top-notch engineering education at Ole Miss," Sholy said. "But Ole Miss engineering also provided a quality liberal arts education that made me a more globally minded graduate in many aspects. It was the best of two worlds."

Nationally recognized as a leading avionics educator, Sholy said he joined AAIAA to help students understand the "impact, limitations, benefits and implications of engineering in relation to the global market.

"Without my positive experiences at Ole Miss, I would never have been able to adapt and adopt in this ever-connected world, and I would not be able to share my knowledge with future engineers."

AAIAA is a part of the Institute of Applied Technology in Al Ain, located just south of Dubai. The mission of AAIAA is to encourage Middle Eastern students to pursue careers in aircraft engineering, which is Sholy's passion.

"Companies are looking to hire people with manufacturing, engineering and information technology backgrounds," he said. "There is a shortage of talented engineers, and I feel it is important to guide students towards a field that I love and one that will benefit their future in so many positive ways."

Before joining AAIAA, Sholy served as chairman of the Department of Engineering Technology at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at St. Louis University, where he earned his doctoral degree in geophysics. He joined the faculty at Parks College in 1985.

Sholy is also immediate past president of the Association for Avionics Education and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and American Society of Engineering Educators.

When not working in Dubai, Sholy and his wife, Carol, reside in St. Louis.