Trevor Wheelock ’20 took time out this summer to learn how to fly. He’s pictured here behind the controls of a Cessna 152.

Musician, Pilot Ready to Join Class of 2020

MCLA is pleased to offer this first story in a series of student profiles about our incoming Class of 2020. We are proud to introduce just a few of the many accomplished and diverse students who belong to this distinctive group, as we discover more about them, their hopes, their dreams, and their goals for the future as they look forward to and begin their MCLA careers.


With a love of flying, Trevor Wheelock ’20 of Schenectady, N.Y., first thought he’d major in physics in preparation for a career in aerospace engineering. But instead, he’s decided follow a longtime dream to pursue a degree in the fine and performing arts, with a concentration in music.

“I’ve been playing music since I was 3 or 4 years old. It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do, but I never thought it could be a viable career option,” Wheelock said.

While still in preschool, Wheelock began to learn to play the piano, and ended up taking lessons from an instructor who played with jazz great B.B. King. He also plays the trombone, and was a member of the Empire State Jazz Ensemble.

In addition, Wheelock plays the guitar, the harmonica, and even a little ukulele.

Now, he’s considering a career as a music teacher, but is open to possibilities as an audio engineer or doing something related to music recording.

“But, I’m still interested in science,” he added. “In school, I was always good at math and science, which made me want to become a pilot.”

During his junior year of high school, Wheelock was introduced to a Capitol Region aviation program that offered scholarships to those who wanted to learn to fly.

“My grandfather is a pilot and my cousin is a commercial pilot for American Airlines, so it’s in my blood,” Wheelock explained.

In addition to flying small planes, he also enjoys piloting gliders, and is a member of the Saratoga, N.Y., based glider club, Adirondack Soaring Group.

“It’s very peaceful. You get up there and it’s very quiet, especially in a glider. It’s the closest thing you can be to a bird,” he said.

His fall semester course lineup – which will earn him a total of 21 credits – will include “The Physics of Superheroes” and “The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History,”as well as classes in music, public policy, and philosophy.

After working two jobs and taking flying lessons over the summer, “I’m up to the challenge,” he said.

He looks forward to meeting new friends and learning new skills he’ll need to be successful in life. Besides his eagerness to perform in MCLA’s Jazz Band and our wind ensemble, Wheelock anticipates being part of the orchestra that accompanies the various plays and musicals that happen on campus.

“I love the mountains and the entire area. I love the close-knit and artsy feel of the campus. I knew this was where I wanted to be,” he explained. “Plus, the cost was right. I got the scholarship and was accepted into the honors programs. Everything happened the way it needed to.”