cruitment personnel who made themselves available for ques-
tions and comments during the entire event). I left Reno
renewed, inspired, and motivated.
That same year I learned that my benefactress, Jacque
Smith Burdette, would be at the PWC Conference in April
in Portland, Oregon. Early on my day off, I jumpseated up
there from Los Angeles and went to meet both Karen and
Jacque. They required I update them on my progress either
by e-mail or in person and I was thrilled I was able to attend
the Conference and deliver my report in person. I was able to
share many details of my life’s path not only with Karen and
Jacque but as well as with the Conference attendees. Karen has
urged me to share my story with a few more people, so I did—
here is my story:
My grandparents immigrated to Brazil at the beginning of
the nineteenth century from Romania, Lithuania, and Portu-
gal to work on farms in old Sao Paulo. My Grandma
When she was 22, Grandma Katy decided to be-
come a seamstress. The Master Seamstress course
was a year-long program for most women, but she
learned her sewing, fitting, pattern designs, and
the rest in a little over three months, and went on to
dress all the women and brides in her town.
With the money she made, she built her own
house! In those days, most houses were built of
bricks and cement. Because of her limited funds she
used “clay” instead of cement because it was a much
cheaper material—she lived in this house until she
passed away at age 86 in 1999.
Then I was born, living in Brazil until the age of 17. I
dreamed of a career in aviation—my father would take me to
At 12, I started working as a cashier at a pharmacy,
and got my first “official” job at age 15, working at a local
bank as a receptionist/PBX operator.
I moved to the United States in 1987, on my own,
speaking no English, in search of a brighter future.
Once in America, I worked as a housekeeper and child-
care provider the first seven years, becoming proficient
in English, and becoming an American citizen.
When the opportunity presented itself, I applied for
a flight attendant position at United Airlines in 1991,
The first five years working as a flight atten-
dant were a means of saving the money necessary
to start flying lessons and obtain a college degree. I started
Top: Rosely and her grandmother Katy in Brazil.
Above: At the PWC Conference, Rosely Netrefa with the
co-founders of PWC, Jacque Smith Burdette (left),
who sponsors the scholarship, and Sue Townsend.
Bottom: Netrefa in the cockpit of the
Continental 737 simulator.