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Flight Attendant by day, student by night

By Staff | Feb 15, 2013

Many students at Shepherd University know how it is to work a full or part time job during their time in college. Shepherdstown resident Valerie Ater has taken it to the next level. Ater works for United Continental Holdings as an international service manager and flight attendant and has for the last 15 years. While she is still at that job, Ater is also working to get her Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications online through WVU.

Ater is often traveling the world on business, but that doesn’t stop her from completing her assignments on time.

“I usually print readings and assignments off before I leave,” said Ater. “The long flights give me plenty of time to get my readings and assignments done.”

Ater said that she keeps her watch set to east coast time since all the deadlines for her assignments are set to that time, while she sets the alarm on her phone to whatever time zone she’s in.

When she is not traveling the world, Ater lives at home with her husband, Malcolm, who is a teacher at Harpers Ferry Middle School and who has authored a few books. Ater helps promote her husband’s books, even when she is traveling on business.

Ater considers herself a huge Mountaineer fan. When she is home, she attends many of the home games in Morgantown. Even when there’s no football going on, she can usually be seen in some kind of Mountaineer apparel. For those wondering, Ater does attend the home games at Shepherd University, but that doesn’t stop her from watching the Mountaineers.

“Even if I go to a game [at Shepherd], I still watch the Mountaineers play on my phone,” said Ater.

Ater has received various degrees from other colleges, including a Nursing degree from Fredrick Community College. After she gets her Master’s degree, Ater is hoping to get a job in the sports PR closer to home. As of now, Ater works out of Newark, N.J., but she said she would change that in a heartbeat once she finishes her degree in the next year.

“I love sports and I love the field I’m going into,” said Ater. “If I was offered a job in that field in someplace like Morgantown, I would take it.”