Dominique Leonard-Curry grew up in Jefferson, Indiana, where she never considered aviation as a career. A family friend, who worked as a UPS pilot, introduced her to the field by inviting her to a summer camp held by OBAP (Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals). The camp taught her about the different aspects of aviation—not just flying—and she began to develop an interest for it. Dominique was awarded “best cadet” in the program, which gave her the opportunity to receive one free discovery flight whenever she chose. After taking that flight, she was assured that she wanted to live her life as a pilot.
Through her junior year of high school, Dominique worked to obtain her private pilot’s license, taking training classes in Louisville in the morning, and returning to Jeffersonville for regular courses. She received flight training the next year, and earned her license one week before graduating from high school!
Dominique attended Purdue University on a scholarship, where she was the only black female in her class. She recalls that she “had to be a self-advocate…find [her] own resources,” but she was able to persevere through the challenges she faced. Her journey shifted after she married and started a family. She worked in the medical field for a few years, but after a while, she longed to get back in the air. She decided to return to Purdue and become a certified flight instructor, as well as get her commercial pilot license.
Today, Dominique and her family live in North Carolina, where she works for American Eagle PSA airline. She speaks at school and youth events, serves as a mentor, and is involved in Sisters of the Skies, an organization dedicated to guiding young girls of color in the field of aviation. “When I was coming up, seeing other women like me do it inspired me to keep going,” Dominique states. She strives to be an inspiration to children and hopes to motivate them to work toward their goals.
“Black Pilots Blazing The Trail: First Officer Dominique Leonard-Curry.” Taylor, DeAnna.