UofM Students Spearhead Course on 9/11 Lessons in Resiliency 

Aviation professor pilots module from Fordham’s Human Resiliency Institute 

Cade Plunk

Monday, March 25, 2024 — University of Memphis aviation students Brandon Carroll and Cade Plunk did not experience Sept. 11, 2001, the largest terror attack on U.S. soil in history, or its aftermath. 

Like many of their peers who also began their higher education journey circa 2019, they have always lived in a post-9/11 world, part of the first class of collegiates who are now preparing to enter that world in a professional capacity. 

The two commercial aviation majors from Pickwick, Tenn., both received scholarships from the University Aviation Association (UAA) in 2023, further strengthening their commitment to the UofM aviation program. The pair also made an industry connection at the association’s national conference that set-in motion a much bigger plan to bring a new class module to the UofM via the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University in New York. 

Already, aviation students at the UofM were learning more about 9/11, especially as it relates to resiliency, as part of an aviation management class taught by University of Memphis professor Peter Reddan. An Air Force retiree, Reddan is working with Tom Murphy, director of the Human Resiliency Institute, to create the module that 128 other UAA-affiliated institutions will be able to offer their students following implementation at the University of Memphis. 

“Brandon and Cade created an incredible opportunity for fellow and future students to not only learn, but also apply to their own careers, the valuable lessons in resiliency generated by 9/11,” said Reddan, a two-time veteran of combat operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.  

As part of their class work, UofM aviation students read the stories of airport and airline employees who came to work in New York, Boston and Washington, DC on the morning of 9/11 expecting a normal day, only to find that “just doing my job” was to become the creed of heroes. Their stories are chronicled in the book, “Reclaiming the Sky,” by Murphy, who before founding the Human Resiliency Institute, was an aviation consultant who saw firsthand how his aviation colleagues were responding with courage, selfless and resiliency to the attacks on 9/11 to rebuild their lives and reclaim hope. 

“The Reclaiming the Sky Resiliency Project gives aviation students an opportunity to learn lessons from the example of the 9/11 heroes and apply them as ‘resiliency tools’ to meet challenges they will face in their lives, both personally and professionally,” said Murphy. Brandon Carroll

The new course module introduced first by the UofM will give students in aviation programs the opportunity to learn resiliency strengths from the example of 9/11’s aviation heroes. 

The goal is that the program expands to other institutions in coming years, training a new generation who never experienced 9/11 first-hand but who can now learn from the lessons of their forebears to navigate challenges in an ever-evolving world. 



Jennifer Godwin 
Director of Media and Public Relations 
(O) 901.678.4822 (M) 501.529.7482 


Share this article