“Tina was unique. She was her own person,” longtime Sycamore teacher, Mary O’Malley, says. “She was comfortable being herself no matter the circumstances. She was memorable because of her unique creative mind and keen sense of humor.”
“When I was in Middle School, I was very much kind of wrapped up in my own little world,” Talierico admits. “Ms. O’Malley had a really encouraging way to make me stay engaged in class. She liked to give me little notes. It was all very positive and I think that that's why I came away with such a positive experience, where at a different school, it could have been totally different.”
Talierico graduated from University High School in 2009 and Kenyon College in 2013 with a degree in Philosophy. It was after college that she found herself still searching for the path to her professional passion. While seeking that which would make her happiest, she worked in the western United States for a couple years.
“Originally, I went to college thinking I would study a creative writing or Spanish, and I didn't end up doing either,” she says. “I do still love to read, and I read a lot. After college, I started working at the outdoor industry and doing physical stuff in California and Wyoming. I worked for about a year in California for a company that took middle school and high school kids climbing and canoeing.
There was a little bit of a ‘what should I do with my life’ moment that Tina thinks “most people in their early twenties go through” so she came home and decided that she wanted to try something else. “I've always been interested in planes, and always interested in flying.” Tina did an introductory flight at the airport in Fishers, and liked it so much that she signed up for lessons. “When I went out to my on discovery flight, it was the most amazing thing ever.”
She got her private pilot’s license at Tom Wood Aviation and her professional flight ratings through ATP Flight School. She became a flight instructor for several years before getting hired as an Embraer 175 First Officer at SkyWest Airlines, who contracts with airlines like United and flies smaller planes for them, on shorter routes.
Transitioning to a new career, especially one like becoming a pilot, requires learning a significant amount of new information, Talierico believes her Sycamore experience made the process a lot easier.
“You develop really good study habits (at Sycamore), and (with becoming a pilot) there's so much information that we are expected to learn and to be able to understand. In training for this airline, it was really useful because they really throw all this stuff at you. I had already learned how to process information, how to actually interpret the information, and understand which is important in the big picture.”
Talierico says she didn’t know what she wanted to do for a career and was willing to wait for the answer to come to her. Her advice to Sycamore students who are headed to high school and to college, who may not have found their passion, is a message of patience. “I would tell students not to limit themselves. I didn't really think that this path was available to me until I was in my twenties,” she says. “It was just never something that occurred to me that I could go do. If you think you have strengths and weaknesses, the strength could get stronger, or the weakness can become a strength. There are a lot of options out there.”
Talierico currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and still has her Caesar's English and Word Within a Word books.