"Commonwealth Honors College and BDIC have given me the flexibility and freedom to study my passion...where the aviation world meets foreign policy."

Max Grover

As a child, Max Grover often flew across the country with his mother, an actress. “Going to the airport was always my favorite part of the trips,” he says. “I loved watching planes come and go—and for me that thrill has never diminished.” By the time he was eight, Max had decided that he would one day fly for a living.


After spending a year studying flight technology at another university, Max realized that he didn’t want to focus solely on flying. He transferred to UMass Amherst and Commonwealth Honors College and found a way to chart his own academic course. “I wanted to continue my aviation education,” he explains, “and also incorporate other subjects of interest to construct a well-rounded degree. I’m still primarily interested in fl ying, but I’ve broadened my horizons.”


Through the College’s interdisciplinary track, Max has worked with the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) program to design a major in Aviation and Foreign Policy. “Commonwealth Honors College and BDIC have given me the flexibility and freedom to study my passion,” he says. “Through BDIC I saw an opportunity not only to study aviation but also to examine where the aviation world meets foreign policy.” Max’s major includes coursework in political science, history, and legal studies, as well as two honors independent studies, each of which will lead to separate Federal Aviation Administration certifications.


“Commonwealth Honors College has encouraged me to diversify my academic experiences and select courses that explore areas that are new to me,” he says. “It has also been intellectually challenging and creatively stimulating, inspiring in me a thirst to acquire all the knowledge I can about various fields within my major.” Max has expanded his knowledge to include hands-on experience through a semester-long internship at a private flight company. When he returns to campus, he expects to explore intersections between aviation and human aid around the world.