Thursday, May 02, 2013

Najla, The Winner of the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship, Spring 2013!

We are so happy to announce the first winner for the 2013 Spring Scholarship Program: Najla Dorsey!

[The Girls With Wings Dreams Take Flight Scholarship is designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. The award of this scholarship is intended to fund introductory flight training to encourage achievement of a stated goal, whether in aviation or in another field of study. There is no prerequisite flight training required for this scholarship, just enthusiasm and the desire to learn. The Dreams Take Flight Scholarship is an award in the amount of $500.00.]

This is the way Najla introduced herself to us:

"Flying for the airlines is a dream of mine and taking the necessary steps in making it a reality has been a blast. Fulfilling a dream requires visualization, feeling as if you have already accomplished that dream and following it through until it becomes a success. My inspiration for flight comes from having worked in the ground operations department for an airline. I took the advantage of networking with airline pilots daily. They informed me of the resources and organizations that would help me achieve my goal. In every aviation organization I have joined, I always learn new ways to support, educate, and expose aviation to others. My volunteer work is concentrated towards young ladies who are less likely to be introduced to the various career options in aeronautics. I know that they will contribute to aviation’s advancements and that is why it is so important for me to invest in that future. As I became more involved with flying, I made Aviation Engineering my major in college. I also took the initiative to document my flight training progress with the mission to inspire girls that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Many times the hard work involved in achieving your dreams comes with financial sacrifices. Obtaining this scholarship would not only add value to my flight training but to the impending advancements in aviation as well."

Here's Najla's essay:

"It’s 5:15am and a 737 sits quietly at the airport gate before starting its day. I open the fuselage door and walk toward the cockpit. I then climb into the left seat and place my hands on the yoke. My eyes slowly shut and through the power of imagination, the plane automatically comes alive. I am now visualizing myself as pilot-in-command, flying 35,000ft in blue skies. Excitement and adrenaline rush through my veins, knowing that all of my hard work in becoming an airline pilot has finally paid off.

I would perform this scenario every morning, before starting my shift as a baggage handler at the airport. On my first scheduled day off from work, I took an introductory flight lesson in a Cessna 172. From takeoff to landing, I was blown away and knew I had to make flying my career. The spectacular view, the precise skills needed to fly and the science behind it all had ignited my passion for flight and continues to fuel that passion to this day. In five years, I see myself working as an airline pilot while serving as a mentor to future aviators. I have established an aviation outreach blog , which shares my experiences in becoming a pilot. It is geared specifically for girls who are interested in flying or who may have never experienced flight at all. As a pilot, I plan to continue my outreach efforts by giving intro flights and being an active role model for young women who envision themselves flying high, just as I did.

Shortly after completing my introductory flight, I sought out to enhance my aviation knowledge and connect with others already involved in the industry. I joined the Civil Air Patrol and am currently a decorated Lieutenant and the Aerospace Officer of my squadron. I also volunteer at WIA and AOPA conferences, when they are held within my area, and as an Aerospace Educator at local schools. I recently submitted my biography and contact information to Girls With Wings, WIA, and Ninety Nines to aid as a mentor for their members. I am working on my Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation and have maintained a 3.69 GPA. And because of that, my university selected me for their Dean’s list in 2012. My most recent flight training accomplishment has been passing my Private Pilot written examination.

Finances are extremely tight for me right now. While working at the airport, I took on a second job as a freelance Notary Signing Agent. Once a network of companies began using my signing agent services on a consistent base, I resigned from my job as a baggage handler. This allowed my income to remain the same while giving me more time to pursue my piloting career. When funds are left over from my living expenses, they go directly towards my flight training. I take advantage of any free flight programs or clinics offered by the organizations I am a part of. I am presently working on my private pilot certification and in the pre-solo stage of the curriculum. This scholarship would be used towards the remaining cost of my training at Hortman Aviation in Philadelphia, PA. Earning my private license would bring me one step closer to my dreams. My dreams of being an airline pilot who devotes herself to her career, aviation’s future, and to all who have helped those dreams become a reality."

We wish Najla great success in the pursuit of her dreams! We look forward to hearing about her training.

See the details of the Summer Scholarship Program. Applications accepted until June 30th, 2013.

Please note that the scholarships are funded by donations - so we need contributions from people like YOU to keep our program running. We always have way more deserving applicants than funds. Visit our donation page to help.


  1. Amber1:25 PM

    I absolutely enjoyed reading both yours and Kathi's cover letter and essay. I'm so thankful to be part of a group of ladies with as much dedication as myself. It's very encouraging which can be tough to receive sometimes in our goals that we set! Hope to meet some day in our travels and fly on! A.M.P.

  2. That's so inspiring Najla, how you managed to shift from baggage handler to the notary job and maintained same flow of cash and also managed more time for flight.
    All this needs lot of discipline which is good for becoming a pilot.