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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Sky’s the Limit

By Rachel Murray

Nathan Steigerwalt began his journey at LCCC captivated by the world of aviation. Initially apprehensive, his limited knowledge posed a challenge. However, Steigerwalt acknowledges the pivotal role played by his dedicated instructors and faculty, who fueled his determination to pursue his passion. Nathan graduated from LCCC in 2020, with an Associate Degree in Aviation Science and went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from Liberty University in 2022.

During his time at LCCC, Steigerwalt recognized the strategic design of the aviation program and became accustomed to step-by-step guidance provided by his instructors. He notes these qualities of the program as key factors contributing to his success, “Aviation is a very complex world, and if you do not have your thoughts organized and a plan for where you want to go, it’s very easy to get lost in the process.” Through the dedication and careful planning of LCCC instructors, Steigerwalt was able to obtain the skills and mindset necessary to succeed.

Image shows Nate Steigerwalt smiling on the main campus mall area.Steigerwalt underscores the significance of LCCC’s unique standing as a 141 program. Schools with a 141 certification foster a connection with the Federal Aviation Administration by following a federally approved and regulated syllabus. Steigerwalt expressed the rarity of government-affiliated programs in higher education and shared how valuable this was for him. As a 141 school, LCCC provides an advantage that enables students to accrue fewer overall training hours while maintaining the standards required for piloting at commercial airlines. LCCC’s status as a 141 school also helped Nathan obtain a career with PSA Airlines before meeting his hourly aviation requirements. “They scoop up people – especially out of 141 schools like LCCC because they know exactly what type of training that you have.”

A recipient of the Morgan Scholarship, Steigerwalt says this opportunity was imperative in helping him navigate the high costs of aviation school. “The Morgan Scholarship came in at the right time, and it helped me not have to worry about tuition and helped me focus on pulling money together for flying.” Designed for graduates of Tamaqua High School, the Morgan Scholarship covers the full cost of tuition. Steigerwalt feels the Morgan Scholarship helped not only him, but numerous other Tamaqua High School graduates to be able to obtain a college degree they would otherwise not have.

Today, Steigerwalt is employed by PSA Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, as a First Officer. His passion for aviation is driven by his sense of service to the public, “What I love about it is the people that you fly with, and connecting people from place to place. Seeing the expressions on their faces, it gives you a sense of service to the people that you are flying with.” He also enjoys the unforeseen day to day changes that occur in the airline industry, and relates this back to the importance of having a clear thought process, a skill he learned at LCCC.

Reflecting on his journey to become a pilot, Nathan has deep gratitude for the  instructors as he feels they changed his life and helped him connect the dots between a dream and reality. His recommendation for success is to become a self-advocate.

The core of his passion for aviation lies in its ability to provide a sense of connection, “You are making the world smaller as a pilot. We think the United States is so big, everything is so far apart. Airplanes are just time machines, and I’m able to connect people from place to place to bring everybody closer.”

For more information on the LCCC aviation and professional pilot programs visit the website or contact program coordinator, Roger Matteson at