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UT Austin psychology major set to graduate on Saturday takes unconventional route to career as Air Force pilotNote to Editors: For photos, call 512/471-6412

Cadet Lt. Col. Megan Loges, a psychology major bound for Air Force pilot training, says there’s nothing particularly unusual about her decision.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Cadet Lt. Col. Megan Loges, a psychology major bound for Air Force pilot training, says there’s nothing particularly unusual about her decision.

“It’s interesting that a lot of the time, the engineers you would expect to be the ones to go to pilot training don’t. “(Pilot candidates) come from many different majors.”

Loges, 26, whose area of interest in psychology is child development, came to her present circumstance in an unconventional manner. The Maryland native grew up near Washington, D.C., where her father worked as a government computer systems analyst. Like many, she graduated high school without a clear sense of what she wanted to do in life. At age 21 — still lacking a degree after dabbling in several colleges and majors — she joined the Air Force.

“I hoped it would give me some direction,” she recalls.

That it did. She emerged from three years as an air surveillance technician aboard AWACS (Airborne Warning Control System) with a passion for flying and a firm goal of becoming a career Air Force pilot. In 1997 — partly influenced by the desire to remain near her mother, who lives in Arlington — Loges moved from Oklahoma to Austin to attend UT. She entered Air Force ROTC under a two-year scholarship for outstanding airmen with past enlisted experience, and, as her major, selected psychology, a field in which she had recently become interested through a community college class.

Loges will be one of nearly 6,000 UT Austin students graduating this spring. The University’s evening Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday (May 22) on the South Terrace of the Main Building.

“I couldn’t have made a better choice,” she says now. “I love the department and the professors.” She has particularly enjoyed her studies with Dr. Jacqueline Woolley: developmental psychology, cognitive development and a research course that gave her an opportunity to work at the Children’s Research Lab. She also cites as outstanding Dr. Eric Warr’s criminology class, which she pursued in connection with her sociology minor.

Her ROTC program entails a course and a drill requirement each semester. The Air Force science classes cover a broad range of subjects, from basic tenets of leadership to Air Force history and regulations, acronyms, laws of war and more.

On receiving her commission as 2nd Lieutenant in June, Loges will report to Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene to learn of her training status. The 18-month course of instruction will commence next March, at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. It will take her from small T-37 trainer planes through one of two categories — fighters/bombers or “heavies” — to the particular aircraft she will ultimately fly.

She hopes that will be the C-17, a large transport. She prefers heavies to bombers in general. “I like the big airplanes, and I like having a crew. I come from AWACS, which is a huge plane, so it’s what I’m used to.”

Assuming she gets her wish, her job will be ferrying freight to far flung destinations. She’ll be ready to go wherever she’s sent — be it Kansas or Kosovo.

If child psychology doesn’t exactly mesh with military aviation, that’s all right with Loges.

“That was never my aim, to use it in a career,” she says. “I love kids and enjoy learning about how they develop.”