Thursday, August 01, 2013

Susan, the winner of an additional Scholarship Award, Summer 2013!

We are so happy to announce the first recipient of an additional Girls With Wings Scholarship Award: Susan W Njuguna!

Girls With Wings offers two scholarship opportunities twice yearly. The Private Pilot Scholarship is to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship is targeting those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course. 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.

We are doing something simply unprecedented this year and we are super excited to finally be able to share the news with you. We are announcing NUMEROUS awards for our summer program instead of the usual two. Why? Because we are fortunate to receive donations and membership fees that people entrust to us because they believe and support the mission of Girls With Wings. There is no need or benefit to keep cash idling in the bank when the following individuals can take flight!

Therefore we are announcing several additional awards to individuals showing great promise and dedication. We are offering them $250 to help in funding at least a small portion of their flight training.

Here is Susan's application essay: 

The history of my passion for flying cannot start without mentioning the classroom setting in my second year of high school when asked about our career choices. I had known all along since elementary school that I wanted to fly those big jets, they have always fascinated me, but that moment was the stamping point. It was when I started working towards that dream of being an airline pilot. 

Coming from a family with no aviation background had its challenges. For one, after finishing high school, I got selected to study pharmacy in a prestigious National University back in Nairobi, Kenya. This happened around the same time when I had been shortlisted in the ab initio program for the national air carrier Kenya Airways in Kenya. A big highlight in my life, if I may add. My parents were of the opinion that I should pursue the degree as I’d have a lucrative career and I’d fulfill my father’s dream of all his children getting college education. I opted to wait on the outcome from the ab initio program shortlisting and let go of my slot at the university. Sadly, it was not to be, I didn’t make it for the final pick. 

This did not deter me from pressing on, it just reaffirmed that I knew where I wanted to be. Resources not being so readily available to fund my own training, I opted to study and earn a diploma in aeronautical engineering, the next option that would keep me in the same industry and next to the planes. I got employed by the same national air carrier after earning my diploma as an aircraft technician. Here I got my chance to work on the aircrafts daily. 

On one of my vacations in Kansas, I decided to enroll in a local flight school and managed to do my solo in that month of training, another highlight in my life, that’s the best vacation I’ve had so far. I caught the bug. Even when I went back to work, that was all I could think of, my little cockpit in the C162, the radio calls and just navigating my way around in the sky in a faraway land from my home. I knew I had to make a serious decision. I handed in my resignation; I couldn’t continue being one foot in and the other out. It was an easy decision to make but scary as well because I was heading to the unknown in pursuit of my dream. 

Taking out all my savings, I took the deep plunge and moved to Kansas in April. I’m already back at flying at the same school and it was a sweet homecoming feeling, it was exhilarating being back in the cockpit and not to just maintain it but to fly. I was a bit nervous because I hadn’t flown in almost a year, but my first flight was better than I expected, I had missed it. Now it’s serious business because there’s no turning back. It’s been a bit slow because of the weather, but I’m hoping to do my first cross country within the next two weeks as I look for a job to help foot some of the cost, it’s not easy but I’m not deterred at all because something in my gut tells me I’m on the right path. 

During this transition, I’ve come to embrace the fact that nothing is impossible. Some things may seem hard and intimidating to achieve but not at all impossible. With that in mind, my dream seems within reach, notwithstanding the financial hurdles, but within reach. I have to broaden my dream’s horizon. I hope to one day be a game changer in the aviation industry. Make it more accessible to girl’s back home. Stumbling upon Girls with Wings was definitely astounding. I share the vision. I want to help others achieve their dreams and let them know that dreams do come true. 

I’ve recently been accepted to the University of Central Missouri to pursue the Professional Pilot program this fall. I believe this will better equip me and give me a better platform to put my mark in this industry. I have to have finished my private pilot license by then, a lot on my plate I must admit but all I know is I have the drive, ambition and hope to make it. To be a role model to another girl that truly; go dream big and dreams do come true.

From Kansas to Kenya, Susan. Now that is dedication! We look forward to hearing about your training.

See the details of the 2014 Scholarship program starting January 1st, 2014.

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 comment:

  1. This is an inspiring story of courage, determination and hope. To help others achieve their dreams is a wonderful gift. Kudos.