Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lisa, A Private Pilot Scholarship Winner!

This is Lisa's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.


Thirty five years ago, I was offered a flight in my friend’s Aeronca Chief. From the very first flight, I loved every moment of the experience: the sights and the feelings. We even did some aerobatics. I climbed out of the plane with a huge smile on my face; I was hooked. A few years later I had the opportunity to join a flying club at the Savings and Loan where I worked. I had a wonderful time learning to fly. It was a big confidence builder and an all-around good experience. I was ready to take my check ride when I ran out of money and had to put flying on the back burner. In the decades since, I have raised a son, built my successful finance business, survived breast cancer and bought my own home. Now it is time to fly again. At the beginning of September, I began flying lessons with Judy Phelps at CP Aviation in Santa Paula, California. I soloed in January. As a single woman/mom, finances are tight but I am determined to make room in my budget for flying. I have financed my training with savings so far but I will need to budget carefully to complete my primary training. Once I obtain my Private Pilot Certificate I plan to get my tailwheel endorsement. I would like to do Emergency Maneuver Training, as well, if my finances allow, to improve my skills. The Girls with Wings Scholarship will allow me to speed up the process and get me started on the next phase, allowing me more time to volunteer in the aviation community.

I am a member of AOPA and I joined the Ninety-Nines as soon as my student pilot certificate was issued. I plan to continue my active participation in the aviation community, through the Girls with Wings Program and the Young Eagles program because I am interested in encouraging young women to pursue aviation. Throughout my life, I have volunteered and held leadership positions with a number of educational, environmental, art and community non-profit organizations. I enjoy participating in the aviation programs and activities. I am a member of the Continent Luscombe Association and have been asked to join their board for a 3 year term beginning this May. I have joined the Ventura County Ninety-Nines “Big Sister” mentor program planning committee.

I enjoy the sense of community in aviation, at the fly-ins and the small airports. This year I went to the Luscombe Fly-in, the Piper Cub Fly-in and a couple of airshows and Ninety-Nine events. I have met many wonderful aviators, both professional pilots and private pilots at these events. They have all been so giving of their time and willing to share their knowledge and love of aviation. Many volunteer their time to aviation organizations such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Ninety-Nines and the Young Eagles Program. These pilots are an inspiration to me. Their encouragement has shown me just how important it is to have the support of other pilots to realize success in the pursuit of a pilot’s license. I want to learn to fly, not only for the sheer enjoyment of flying but also to share my love of aviation by encouraging others, especially women, to fly. I have a special interest in education and plan to focus my volunteer efforts in that direction.

I am confident that my experience in small business administration and finance, along with my enthusiasm and proven leadership skills will be an asset to my volunteer career in the aviation community.

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course.  The Private Pilot Scholarship is in the amount of $1000.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Susana, A Private PIlot Scholarship Winner!

This is Susana's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.


If you asked me a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. Me? A pilot? That sounds like something out of a movie. Am I really capable of doing something like that? All I’ve ever done is study history in college. I don’t know if I know how to do anything else. After all, I grew up in the concrete jungle of New York City. We didn’t have a shop class in high school, and I didn’t grow up launching rockets from my backyard. But here I was one year later, in the cockpit of a Piper 140, rounding the pattern for my first solo!

 The summer I turned 21, a family friend first introduced me to the joys of aviation in his Cessna 150. It was as if a new, previously unavailable world had opened up to me. But as a young Latina with no technical background, it was also a very intimidating world. These were guys who had rebuilt their Camaro, who were studying engineering, who were veterans of the service. I felt completely out of my element.

 Instead of becoming discouraged, I jumped in. I had never spent Saturdays flying model airplanes, but I had always been self-motivated. I bookmarked AOPA’s student website. I downloaded Microsoft Flight Simulator and Comm1. I bought myself a remote controlled helicopter for my dorm room to better understand how aircrafts maneuver, using my heater to observe the effect of thermal wind flows on flight. A few weeks ago I graduated from college and moved out to Tehachapi with my boyfriend. I’d saved up some money from working at my college town’s grocery store and doing odd jobs: babysitting, office work, a legal internship, you name it. Money is always hard to come by as a student, but I made it work. I took a few lessons, enough to know that I actually wanted to do this, and then I put aside all the time and money I could to do something I love. It was an easy decision, really.

I’m also learning in one of the coolest places to learn to fly. Tehachapi rests at an altitude of 4000ft, surrounded by mountains. The end of runway 29 has a huge hill that quickly teaches you the importance of best climb. Practicing cross wind landings just one town over in Mojave is its own challenge, but, within a few lessons, I learned to navigate the frequent 25knot crosswinds that grace their major runway. Instead of thinking of it as a hassle, I’ve actually found crosswind landings to be incredibly fun, much to the amusement of my instructor. We’re planning on renting a spin-certified plane for an hour or two in the future, since I enjoyed practicing spin recoveries so much. Apparently I’m an adventure junkie and I never knew it!

I’ve always been a straight-A student, but maneuvering comfortably in an academic setting is completely different from feeling comfortable and capable in your everyday life. I have found that flying, which constantly stretches my mental and physical capabilities, which gives me something to hold, take ownership of, and command, has given me this confidence in my abilities that I haven’t found in any other area of my life. This is an experience I want to share with every woman.

I want to be a role model for Girls With Wings because part of my hesitance in pursuing flight lessons came from a conviction that no other women were doing it. Recently I’ve met a few awesome women in the Tehachapi area who are proving me wrong. Still, girls need to know that they’re welcome and wanted. I think that when young women see successful female role models they find that instead of getting discouraged they want to push themselves to be stronger, more self-secure people and better pilots.

Secondly, I really love the aviation community. I’m always hanging out at the pilot’s lounge, helping out the owner of the local FBO (we cleaned spark plugs the other day), and trying to fit another lesson into my week. I feel like I’ve done a good job planning out everything I need to do to achieve a private pilot’s license before I start law school in the Fall. I’ve organized a weekly self-taught ground school with two other local students at the airport that’s part social and part communal learning. We pooled money into buying books together, and I’ll be taking the written exam in a few weeks. I plan to do something similar for my oral exam. Essentially, I think my enthusiasm, interest, and hard work will appeal to many girls who either like the idea of flying but are nervous about pursuing that dream, or current female students who would just be happy to know that they’re not alone.

Even without the recognition of this award, I plan on being a role model to all young girls who don’t yet know that the sky is not the limit. My ultimate goal, no matter how long it takes, is to get my license. A few years down the road, I want to instruct young girls just like me. Too often, money is an obstacle to doing the things we love. With the money from Girls With Wings I can personally grow and excel. I hope that by sharing my experiences, I can encourage other women to hop into a cockpit and rule the skies!

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course.  The Private Pilot Scholarship is in the amount of $1000.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Dale, A Dreams Take Flight Scholarship Winner!

This is Dale's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.


I have been in the recreation and nonprofit field, delivering recreation and leisure programs to communities throughout California for over forty years. I enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities. I have been active member in my Ninety-Nines Chapter since June 2, 2012, and have attended the Future Women Pilot activities; Chapter meetings, served on the set up and take down committee and helped with participant registration for Pilot Proficiency classes sponsored by the Chapter; participated in the Girl Scouts in Aviation Day; and collected votes for the Lightspeed Aviation Grant. I thoroughly enjoy conversing with other female pilots who understand and relate to my flying experiences and provide me with encouragement as I work toward my next milestone.

My ultimate goal in aviation/aerospace is to learn to fly and become proficient so I can fly for organizations such as Angel Flight, Pilots for Paws and Flying Under to Son to transport patients/pets and medical supplies. I intend to share my new interest in aviation with youth groups such as Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Club and Oxnard City Corps. I believe that it is tremendously important to not only to be a strong role model for young women, but to also give back in serving the community. This was ingrained throughout my childhood, and I intend to do the same with my passion for flying.

I have financed my flight training and education through my savings account. I had just enough money set aside last year to log the hours to qualify and receive the Ventura County 99’s Future Women’s Pilot Award for Light Sport Pilot last June. I had to stop just shy of soloing, as my funds were depleted. Since then, I have been meeting regularly with my mentor, and our sessions have covered topics such as: radio communications, airport operations and flight planning. I have also decided to pursue my Private Pilot License instead of a Light Sport Pilot. This process involved ten months gradually reducing a medication prescribed for menopause, neurological and psychological testing, physical exams and a 120 day waiting period as per the FAA. I am happy to report that my first milestone was securing my Medical Certificate 3rd Class and Student Pilot Certificate on February 12, 2014. I am studying for the FAA Private Pilot knowledge written exam, which I plan to take on May 3, 2014.

After working for over forty years, I suddenly found myself unemployed. I have been interviewing intensely statewide for a year and a half with many call-backs, and I expect to be re-employed in the near future. My salary was over $100,000; our annual household gross income has shrunk from $156,000 to $56,000. We did a home loan modification on our mortgage. I am now reaching out beyond the field for which I was trained, so that I can further support my family and flight training.

Now is an excellent time for me to pursue flying. I have the time, the health, and the stability to focus on the demands of training. Many of my sister Ninety-Nines have encouraged me to apply for this award, recognizing the importance of facilitating the continuity of my training. I believe the GWW/Rick Dahl Memorial Dreams Take Flight Award fits my circumstances. When I have found new employment, I’ll definitely have more money, but I’ll surely have less time to devote to flight training.

GWW/Rick Dahl Memorial Dreams Take Flight Award will help me achieve new flight goals, and embark on a new life journey in the Girls With Wings and the 99’s. With my experience in recreation management, I will continue to help the GWW and my 99’s Chapter inspire young adults to appreciate the aviation world through the variety of programs that the organizations provide. I will continue to speak with youth groups (Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Club, and City Corps) and school classes to interest students in aviation fields, to inspire them to fly, or simply be supportive of general aviation in the years ahead. I have already organized and implemented many special events to raise funds and awareness for various causes and will apply these skills to do the same for GWW and my 99 Chapter.

I have the drive, the passion and the perseverance to achieve my Private Pilot license. With the help of the Girls With Wings/Rick Dahl Memorial Dreams Take Flight Scholarship Award, I’ll be able to continue my flight training and become a proud fully-fledged Private Pilot.

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship, designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. 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 of $500.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Rachel, An Advanced Training Scholarship Winner!

This is Rachel's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.


At three years old, I told my parents I wanted to be a pilot. We don’t have any pilots in our family and I had never been in an airplane. My family has no idea where this thought came from, when most other girls my age wanted to be ballerinas (I was in dance lessons at the time, too), or princesses. I’m positive they laughed and said “You can do whatever you want to do,” because they continue to tell me that to this day.

At fifteen, I joined an aviation summer camp for kids, and of course, I was the only girl. The instructor sat back and said, “You can take off now.” I was terrified. I had never even been in a small airplane, let alone flown it! After that first takeoff, feeling the rush of power involved, controlling the plane in the air, I was hooked. We landed and I said, “Mom and Dad, I’m going to school to be a pilot.”

And now I am. I am a pilot. Really and truly. I feel it with all of my heart. I earned my Certified Flight Instructors license this summer and have been teaching at school since. Girls with Wings is an amazing organization encouraging girls to take flight. At Purdue University, I am one out of five girls, in a class of 160. It saddens me that women of my generation are still not seeing the absolute joy of flying. If sharing my experiences and passion for aviation can help one girl believe in herself and take the chance, then I will be overjoyed. I know this is what I’m supposed to do with my life, why not help other brave women find their passion too?

At Purdue, I am involved with the Women’s Air Race Classic. I noticed that a few GWW members are participating this year and I am so excited for them. I was the co-pilot last year for Purdue’s Race Team and this year I am the Captain. The Air Race was one of the best experiences of my life. Meeting all of those wonderful women role models was the highlight of my experience. The race course itself was amazing, but the connections and friendships I made are the real reasons I can’t wait to go back.

I have an internship with Boeing this summer in North Charleston, South Carolina. I am beyond excited because I get to see another facet of aviation. There is nothing better than being able to talk about airplanes with people who understand the feeling of flight. While I am there, I hope to get my CFII at CRAFT Flight School. They are located right next to the Boeing plant, which is absolutely perfect. I can work on my CFII on the weekends, or after work.

Going to school at Purdue is extremely expensive. I pay $40,000 a year for out-of-state tuition, plus flight fees, which range from $20,000 a year to $5,000 a year, and housing. All in all, I’m in a lot of debt and don’t have enough money for extra licenses/ratings. I know, however, that having a CFII rating will help me shine against other applicants for CFI positions and airline jobs. It shows I’m willing to go the extra mile. With the new 1500-hour rule to get a job as a first officer, I know I’m going to need a lot more hours. If having a CFII helps me get a job as a flight instructor after school, then it is well worth it.

I have already completed the FAA Written portion of the rating, I teach students working on their Instrument Rating in the Cirrus SR20 AATDs at school, and I am taking a simulator course in our Phenom 100 Level D simulator. I am very used to instrument flying and believe I could pass a check ride with a short amount of training; I just need a little help getting there.

Being the only woman in most of my classes freshman year was a little intimidating. But not anymore. I am confident in my abilities and ready to take on the world. With GWW help, I can become an even better pilot and a better instructor for all of my students. I know I can be a good role model, because I have so many women to look up to. I would love to be that person for another girl, trying to find her place in the sky, too.


The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Advanced Training Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of an Advanced Rating or Certificate such as instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, multi-engine rating or multi-engine flight instructor certificate. This new scholarship award is in the amount of $1000, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Natalia, A Private Pilot / Rick Dahl Scholarship Winner!

This is Natalia's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.

 

Becoming a pilot has always been my dream, but it was never an option until January of this year. Flying was my passion, but fulfilling my parents’ requirements was my duty. Now that I am two months away from graduating with two bachelor’s degrees, I have fulfilled my duties, and I am able to pursue my dreams. I started my private pilot training on January 20 and have been training about twice a week. I would love to train more, but because I am still in school and I have to work to pay for the flight lessons, I am having to take it slow. Once I graduate, I will be able to put more time into my training. I hope to get my private pilot’s certificate as soon as possible so I can move on to a tail-wheel and seaplane endorsement, an instrument rating, and at least a commercial certificate. My end goal is to become a mission pilot so I can use my training to help others.

I believe I will be a good role model for Girls With Wings for several reasons. First of all, one of the main reasons I finally started my training was because of my friend who had already received her private pilot’s certificate. She is five years younger than me but has already completed her training. As I talked to her, I realized that if she could do it, then there’s no reason why I couldn't. If it wasn't for her example, then I would still only be dreaming of flying. I always try to encourage others, especially girls, to pursue their dreams no matter how difficult they may seem. I tell them that they shouldn't let others stop them from doing what they want. Also, just because they are a girl, shouldn't stop them from doing things that are dominated by men. Flying isn’t something only men can enjoy. Girls are just as capable to fly. I also tell them not to be afraid and not to give up. Giving up is never an option for something you love doing. It may take a lot of time, energy, and money, but it is way worth it in the end. So no matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I see a girl who isn’t confident in herself, I always try to show her that she can do anything if she just puts her mind to it.

My motivation and inspiration for aviation started when I was only 4 1/2 years old. My family and I immigrated to the United States from Ukraine and we had to make several stops and change planes on the way here. From then on I loved flying, and more than anything, my biggest dream in life has been and always will be—to fly. To fly like an eagle. Airplanes get me a little closer to that dream, although they will never fulfill it. But I’ll take what I can get. As I grew up, my love for speed, heights, and thrill started catching up to me. Roller coasters were the closest thing to an airplane, and I loved them! My favorite one was Top Gun at Great America in California, the only coaster that was airplane themed as you walked through the long line. That, in a way, started my desire to become a fighter pilot. But I struggled with that because as a Christian, I knew I wouldn't be able to kill anyone. As I started high school, there were many career fairs I got to go to and all them of had Air Force recruiters. By that point, home life was getting very difficult and very stressful so I started seeing this as a possible way of escape. But that little voice in my head kept reminding me that killing wasn’t an option for a Christian. I decided to give that up, but it never really left my mind. I still think about. If I couldn’t be a fighter pilot, I figured I could at least become a regular pilot. Then I started thinking about being a mission pilot and how exciting that would be. But knowing my parents, and trying to live up to their standards and requirements, it didn’t allow for “hobbies” like that. Anything remotely dangerous was out of the picture. Anything expensive, denied. Anything that distracted me from school, negative. I never mentioned my dream of flying. I kept it a secret so no one would try to discourage or stop me. It seemed easier to forget about it for the time being and not get involved then to be slightly in without having the ability to completely immerse myself in it. But hearing and seeing an airplane flying in the sky, I always had to look up and imagine what it would be like to actually fly one. I don’t know what it is about flying that makes me love it so much. From the shape of the planes, to the sounds, to all the gauges, to the scenic views, to the Gs,—it all amazes me. When I found out my friend was starting her training, that reminded me of my own desire to train. After she got her certificate two years later, I couldn’t contain myself anymore. I needed to get mine.

Since I have just started my aviation “career”, I haven’t really participated in any aviation organizations or events. I was able to attend my first air show last October and was amazed the entire time. Since I’ve started training, I have become a member of AOPA as well as Women in Aviation. I’ve been hanging around the airport and my flight school during my spare time, washing planes and helping in any way I can with the mechanics. I plan to continue my involvement in everything aviation related, especially once I graduate.

Aside from still being in school, the only thing keeping me from flying as much as I’d like to is finances. While I was still at the community college, I was working part time and going to school full time so I was able to completely pay my way through my associate’s degree. I later quit my job and spent six months in Honduras as a missionary helping in any way I could. When I returned back to the states, my father and I made a deal. If I went to school full time (over 16 units) then he would help pay for my tuition so I wouldn’t have to work and be overloaded. Now, three years later, thanks to my father and financial aid, I am able to graduate debt-free. Since I haven’t worked for over three years, I don’t have a solid savings so now I have to work part-time in order to pay for my flight training. Unfortunately, time is limited and I am having a hard time going to school, doing homework, flying, doing flying homework, and working all at the same time. Fortunately, my parents are allowing me to live with them without paying rent. So to me, this scholarship would allow me to finish my private pilot’s certificate in a timely manner so I can move on to instrument and commercial. If I don’t receive the scholarship, well, it’s not the end of the world or the end of flying, but I definitely will have a hard time continuing to fly regularly.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing back.
Natalia Dzyndra

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Private Pilot Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship targets those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course.  The Private Pilot Scholarship is usually in the amount of $1000.00. However, because of a generous donation made in memory of Rick Dahl, an aviation buff who greatly supported women’s achievement in the aviation field, the award this Spring will be in the amount of $2500.

Jamie, A Dreams Take Flight / Rick Dahl Scholarship Winner!


This is Jamie's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.


I am aware of the decline in the aviation industry, especially the desire of women pursuing aviation as a career path. The Aviation Education Foundation of Colorado (AEFCO) has aided me with the specific training necessary, pin-pointed to my needs as a student; and they have provided a solid foundation to guide me in pursuing a career as a Fighter Pilot. My flight instructor, Hank Bartlett, has dedicated so much of his time into setting up the plane and preparing lessons specific to me so that I can fly easier and obtain my private pilot’s license before I apply to the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy. If having the honor of being selected to an extremely selective college [...], I plan to advance to jet training and also study forensic sciences (forensic anthropology and blood spatter analogy). However, my interests as a fighter pilot are/ and always will be my primary goal. There are no words to describe the feeling I get when I fly. Only people who have flown can comprehend the thrill, adventure and sense of accomplishment that goes along with flying.

My inspiration to become a fighter pilot came when I watched Thunderbirds fly over me as I was heading to an Air Force football game. It might sound childish, but for a 10 year old, those fast, loud, and incredibly beautiful planes were irresistible. They still are!!! When I joined JROTC, I started learning more about the history of aviation and the aerospace sciences.

I continue to create learning experiences and memories every time I fly. Flying is my passion and I love doing it every chance I get. I have roughly 7 hours of logged flight time, but that is over a span of a couple months. Right now, money is tight. My Mom is a single mom who is battling a terminal illness and is constantly in and out of the hospital. With my mom being sick, we have many financial restraints. However, any and all money goes towards my flight training, as that is a priority. I am only 16 years old, but I do work every day after school and 100% of my paycheck also go towards my flight training. If at all possible, my Mom works her treatments and long hospital stays around my flight school and training. This scholarship would give me the boost I need to further my aviation career and get me to solo even faster. The benefits, for me specifically, for soloing and obtaining my private pilot’s license sooner is to gain favor on my resume when applying for the Air Force Academy and Naval Academy this August.

In school, I maintain a 3.78 GPA and I take honors classes. I have also had the greatest honor participating in JROTC. I have recently been promoted to Cadet Master Sergeant, which is only given out to the top 3% in our class. I take immense pride in my academics and achievements. In addition, I actively volunteer in my community. One of the places I volunteer is with the Colorado Springs Teen Court using positive power of peer influence to stop criminal behavior at the earliest stage using the concepts of Restorative Justice. By serving on their Peer Panels, I question both the defendant and the defendant's parent/guardian individually before deliberating on an appropriate sentence. I also volunteer at middle school events, sports games (high school and middle school), elementary school carnivals, blood drives and Young Eagles flights. This year I have volunteered over 150 hours!

I am a member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and member of JROTC Kitty Hawk Air Society (JROTC National Honor Society.) Furthermore, I am in several extra-curricular activities including the Girls Tennis Team and in JROTC’s Rocketry Club. As a senior, I plan to participate in Cheer, Tennis, and Rocketry Club. Last summer, I competed for (and won) a scholarship to go to the Leadership Laboratory Activity at the Air Force Academy’s Preparatory School. That was the most amazing experience I have had in JROTC. I learned so many things and had so much fun, I wish my entire life was a replica of the week I spent there (plus flying time of course!) In addition to my adventures at the Preparatory School, I was selected to be a High School counselor at High Trails where I mentored sixth graders and taught them about the Sioux Indians that once lived in that area. As you can see, I have leadership skills and capabilities beyond those of the average 16 year old.

Girls with Wings is an amazing foundation and I would be honored to help inspire other girls pursue their dreams. I have a servant’s heart by nature and I know that being part of your foundation would allow me to be a positive role model for other girls. As I succeed in fulfilling my career goals, Girls with Wings would provide the opportunity of sharing my journey with others girls/women who share my same interests. I would make myself available through email for any questions, concerns or moral support that other young aviators like myself might need. One piece of advice that I would share with every girl (or boy for that matter) is that if flying is truly your passion, that passion it is larger than any sum of money. Do not let finances hinder or discourage you. Make yourself known and get out there and do what you love! I would be thrilled to spread the word of encouragement to other girls who are in the same boat as me financially.

I appreciate your consideration for the scholarship opportunities that your program offers.
Sincerely,
Jamie Daino

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship, designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. 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 of $500.00, funded in the memory of Rick Dahl, an aviation buff who greatly supported women’s achievement in the aviation field.

Deborah, An Advanced Training Scholarship Winner!

This is Deborah's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.


As the daughter of an enlisted Army father, I moved 8 times by the age of 15. This experience offered me greater perspective and some difficulty in learning to make new friends every time I moved. But the most important part of my childhood experience was growing up on air force bases. From a young age, I was surrounded, amazed, and inspired by aviation. I have always known I wanted to be a pilot, although it has been a long road to gain the confidence and means to make this dream come true.

I am the first person in my family to attend and graduate from a university. Working my way through college was a true lesson in priorities: I had to balance 40 hours of work, two jobs at times, a full school schedule, and a lot of homework. Even during this time, I pursued my passion for aviation in any way that I could afford. Although many of the members of the University of Arizona Flying Club were men with flight experience, I joined the Club and worked my way into the position of Vice President. My time is the University of Arizona Flying Club was a valuable learning experience and precursor to the gender dynamics I would later face in aviation.

During this time, I worked two jobs to pay my tuition. However, I soon learned that the Challenger Learning Center of the Southwest was looking for a new Space Exploration Educator. Up until this time, my interest in aviation and space were simply that, interests. I spent my own free time learning and exploring these fields of interest, but I had no formal experience in them. Still, this was a dream job. I studied hard and I earned the job. Through the next two years, I spent any spare time outside of school learning more about aviation and space exploration. I was able to share me love of aviation, science, math, and technology with middle school students. Often, I worked with children from schools that did not have strong science programs. I consider it a true blessing that I was able to share my excitement about aviation and learning with young children who had never before considered aviation as a real opportunity. So many children had never met scientists, astronauts, or pilots and certainly did not believe they could ever attain such careers. My favorite question for these children was “Why not?” For instance, why not finish school? Why not learn to fly? Why not follow your dreams? Eventually, that “why not?” question started to look me right in the face.

One of the pivotal moments that inspired me to finally follow my own dreams was during a two-week girls only summer camp designed to inspire girls to pursue their interests in math and science. I had the honor of co-writing the curriculum and co-hosting this girls-only camp. Inspiring girls to support one another to learn about male dominated fields inspired me. Following the camp, I was chosen to speak about the camp at the Space Exploration Educators’ Conference in Houston to inspire other educators to host girls’ only camps to peak girls’ interest.

 I became a flight attendant to become more exposed to aviation and have used my current profession as an opportunity to meet female pilots and learn from their experiences. Although I believe this has been a positive experience, being a regional flight attendant for the last two and a half years, with the minimal pay and lack of seniority, has presented complications in pursuing my goal to become a private pilot. I gladly made many sacrifices to pay for my private pilot’s license. I chose to relocate from Detroit to Dallas-Fort Worth to increase the possibility of flight time. I also switched to a smaller, less popular airplane to increase my seniority in base to allow me to work more hours and thus spend more money on flying. As well, I have had up to ten roommates at one time to keep my living costs low. As hard as it has been, it has been completely worth it. I am inspired every day to continue chipping at my ratings to achieve my ultimate goal of being an airline pilot.

Even though I am very focused on my own goals, motivating young women is still paramount to me. In my current profession as a flight attendant, I urge the children on my planes to ask questions about aviation and share their excitement of the wonder of flight. My aspiration of being a strong, passionate role model in the aviation field became apparent to me the more I surrounded myself with women that are zealous about their aviation careers. I was lucky to be taught by a female flight instructor for my private pilot’s license and completed my check ride with a female examiner. I have also been able to volunteer with the Dallas 99s and meet incredible women through that organization. These encounters only increase my own passion.

I would be honored to become more involved with Girls with Wings. With the support of this wonderful organization, I would be able to gain more flight time and thus come closer to earning my instrument rating. It would allow me to complete 11 more hours in the Cessna 152 I rent and bring me a huge step closer to my instrument rating and ultimate goal of being an airline pilot. I also believe that accomplishing this goal would give me an even greater ability to become a role model for young girls. I am so grateful for the opportunity to apply for this scholarship. Thank you for your consideration.

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Advanced Training Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of an Advanced Rating or Certificate such as instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, multi-engine rating or multi-engine flight instructor certificate. This new scholarship award is in the amount of $1000, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Erin, An Advanced Training Scholarship Winner!

This is Erin's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.


Flying is my passion. Teaching is my vocation. I used to stare at the sky hoping to one day slip the surly bonds of earth, and, on May 13th of last year, I was finally able make that dream a reality. I passed my PPL checkride last May with immediate hopes of leaping into my Instrument training (which I had already begun) and pushing through to CFI within the next few years. Sadly, government furloughs meant the elimination of my job providing educational advising to our service men and women. This, when combined several other financial setbacks, put my instrument training in a holding pattern.

I joined the 99’s the day I became a Private Pilot. I had, however, been attending meetings for several months while I was still a student pilot. I remember my first meeting vividly because they were discussing their major outreach program: Girl Scout Aviation Day. I was thrilled. Not only was I finally surrounded by other female pilots (I was one of two women at the Dover Aero Club—they have a membership of 120), but they wanted to encourage other young women to fly. This is exactly what I wanted to do. The Aviation Day program was exactly what I needed when I was a young girl. Despite being a student pilot, I promptly volunteered to fly the Club’s PA-28 to Wilmington for the day. And the following year, I volunteered to organize the event.

This year, I am bringing the Girl Scout Day down to Dover—specifically, to the Dover Air Mobility Command (AMC) Museum. The AMC Museum has dozen of planes (from Air Force 2 to a C-5), they have a simulated control tower, and they have flight simulators for the girls to utilize. However, what is more important than all the big planes and fancy equipment is the fact that they want to help expand the program. In the past, 35 girls had been a large number for our small chapter. The Museum would like to work with us to encourage at least 50 young women to attend! I can only imagine where I would be now if I had been given the opportunity to participate in an event like this when I was a girl scout, and I can’t wait to give that opportunity to these young women.

I am desperate to fly consistently again. I am also desperate to remain active in aviation. I want to repay the kindness so many pilots, mechanics, CFIs, chiefs, 99’s have shown me, and I want to share my love of flight with everyone I meet. To accomplish these goals, I have currently completed my AGI certificate not only to make a little extra money for flight training, but also to lead a Private Pilot ground school at the Dover AFB Aero Club as their first female instructor. I have also been working with the Aero Club to begin a special ground school aimed directly at encouraging women to fly. I have become the secretary of my local 99’s chapter (Delaware). Lastly, I am working with my local university’s aviation program (Delaware State University) to design a year long course which will combine English and Aviation.

In five years, I hope to have established myself as a CFI, and to that end, I have asked Barbara Wright to be my mentor. Barbara is currently the chapter chair of the Delaware 99’s and has worked as a CFII (and Air Traffic Controller). Barbara has already been encouraging me to continually reach out to those around me, and she consistently challenges me to make a difference. She knows I want to encourage the next generation of aviators, and I look forward to learning from her knowledge and experience. I want to continue educating, and I want to continue flying. In 10 years, I want to be doing the same thing. Dreams of 777’s haven’t haunted my sleep, but dreams of flight instruction have. I want to sit in the cockpit of a Warrior, crabbing her into the wind, and telling my students the same things I’ve heard a hundred times from my own CFI. Wing down, hold opposite rudder, watch the centerline. Fight with it. Fight. 

Participating in aviation has made my life better. I’ve wanted to fly since I was a little girl. In fact, I dreamed of piloting the space shuttle; I am, however, exactly one inch too short. When I stopped growing, so did my dreams of flight. I knew no pilots, and my parents weren’t particularly supportive of having a daughter who refused to keep her feet on the ground. When I finally found my way back to aviation, I promised myself two things: 1) I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of my dreams and 2) I was going to do everything I could to encourage those around me to pursue their dreams of flight. This scholarship, with its aim of “Paying it Forward,” hits close to home for me. I desperately want to be able to do the same in the not too distant future, and I know this generous award will help make that a reality.

As I mentioned earlier, my job was eliminated during government budget cuts. I have since picked up two-part time jobs, but I am still struggling to finance my aviation goals. This very generous scholarship will enable me to complete stage one of my Instrument Rating; I will be the first female at the Aero Club to do so. I began my Instrument training while I was still a Private Pilot, and my instructor is willing to work with me to accelerate my training. However, I am currently flying only once a month, and I am plagued by my apparent lack of progress. As an educator, I know how important consistency is; and as a student I am frustrated at my inability to fund that reality.

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Advanced Training Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of an Advanced Rating or Certificate such as instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, multi-engine rating or multi-engine flight instructor certificate. This new scholarship award is in the amount of $1000, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Ema, An Advanced Training Scholarship Winner!

This is Ema's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.


I completed the Aviation Science program at Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Center throughout my last two years of high school. During my time there, I earned a private pilot license with Richmor Aviation in Kingston, New York. Currently, I am training for my instrument rating, still at Kingston-Ulster Airport (20N).

After developing a passion for flight, I enrolled full-time in the Aviation Science program at Dutchess Community College. So far, I have taken the Aviation History, Aircraft Safety, Aviation Management, and Instrument Flight classes, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Spring 2014 marks my second semester at the college.

In order to be more involved in the aviation community, I am a member of the Poughkeepsie Pilot Association (PPA), the Hudson Valley Aviation Club, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). I attend safety seminars whenever possible, and use AOPA as a valuable resource to my flight training.

 The PPA holds meetings to discuss issues pertinent to Dutchess County Airport (KPOU), local and national aviation news, new certificates/solos, aircraft accidents, and PPA activities. The club hosts barbeques, holiday parties, fly-outs, and an annual open house. This has created a close community at the airport, and many of the older members of the PPA have acted as mentors to the students at Dutchess Community College. Participation in this club is important to me.

In the spring, I will be flying to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in North Carolina with the PPA. We will have lunch in Delaware, visit First Flight Airport, camp next to our airplanes, and have lunch in New Jersey (at an airport with a WWII aviation museum). Without the club, and my involvement in the community, I would not have had this exciting opportunity. In one weekend, I will have traveled to four different airports, which will give me valuable cross-country experience.

I joined the Hudson Valley Aviation Club through Dutchess Community College, which is organized by the students. Unlike the PPA, which involves mostly veteran aviators, this club consists of mainly young, student pilots. I enjoy talking to pilots my age about personal experiences in the industry and recent flying. We frequently discuss aircraft accidents at our biweekly meetings and hold discussions about safety. I plan to run for a leadership position in the Hudson Valley Aviation Club once we begin elections.

I am also very committed to my schoolwork, which resulted in an invitation to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK). The bimonthly meetings focus on community service and resume building. Regarding volunteerism, I helped host a blood drive at Onteora High School, as well as a senior citizen prom for men and women in the Onteora school district.

I have also volunteered for the Olive Free Library, cleaning and reorganizing bookshelves. Another student and I hosted a movie night at the library, and offered extra credit (for the local high school) to those who came. We chose to screen Bully, a documentary that aims to raise awareness of the negative effects caused by bullying.

Specific to aviation, I have volunteered to recruit students for the Aviation Science program at Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Center. I took this opportunity seriously, as I wanted to inspire others to enter the aviation industry. I spoke in front of Onteora High School students about my experience with the program. They asked me questions about flight time, ground school, and the flight simulators we had in the classroom.

As for leadership experience, I was once a Counselor-In-Training for Frost Valley YMCA. Along with two other counselors, I supervised and led a group of ten children into the Shawangunk Ridge in New Paltz, New York. Motivating the campers to hike and rock climb was rewarding, and made me realize that I enjoy teaching and working with kids. This is partly why I am so excited to become a certified flight instructor.

The campers taught me a lot about myself and what is necessary in becoming a positive role model. Naturally, I bonded with the girls in my group. I learned to lead by example, by having a passion about the activities we were doing, acting selflessly when it was necessary, handling stress, and having confidence in the campers themselves. This experience tested my patience, perseverance, and commitment to the group as a whole.

My most recent experience with leadership was becoming the editor of the Conklin Hall Newsletter at Dutchess Community College. This position includes brainstorming article ideas and assigning projects to other students. I have written about stress management, local hiking trails, and have interviewed students about life at the college. My goal is to promote healthy living and inspire students to focus on schoolwork.

Writing is another passion of mine. I always had an interest in flying, but as a little girl, I saw it as an unattainable dream. The requirements for obtaining a pilot certificate are not common knowledge. Welcoming others into the industry is important in keeping it alive and thriving. I make it a point to tell others why I love to fly, and encourage new students to keep training, even when it is hard to stay motivated.

Any pilot can tell the story of his or her first solo. I cried while taxiing to the runway, not out of fear, but out of the joy and sense of accomplishment I felt. These emotions only heightened when I received my license. The examiner congratulated me on the landing rollout of my check ride. I thought I was going to spin right off the runway in elation.

Flying reminds me that the world is beautiful. Any pilot who has flown in the Hudson Valley is blessed. The Catskill Mountains, Hudson River, and Ashokan Reservoir fill me with astonishment. Amazingly, the scenery is constantly changing with the weather, time of day, and time of year.

Flying gives me solitude. When I fly at night, and the lights congregate into large towns, I feel set apart from civilization. Surrounding the cluster of moving vehicles, perfectly lined-up houses, and well-lit parking lots, is a blackness. We are still small in this world, and nature is all around us. Then, I see other flashing lights in the sky, planes piloted by men and women experiencing the same sense of awe; reassuringly, I am never really alone. These are just a few of the reasons I love to fly.

It is an honor to be one of the few girls in aviation. Still, only about 6% of pilots in the United States are women. It is important to envision airline captains as females too, since the media tends to illustrate them as otherwise. Younger generations need to see that anyone can fly, for the sake of our industry.

One common argument is that if women wanted to be pilots, they would be. In other words, typical females do not have the desire to fly. However, there is no actual evidence that this is the case. Men introduce other men to the hobby. They have exposure and a commonality with pilots already in the workforce, which is an entirely different experience. I want to introduce other females into the field and make them feel welcome too.

Women need to support other women. As a pilot who loves what I do, I feel it is partly my responsibility to introduce the art of flying to others as well. This includes both genders, but especially women who might feel shy about going to the airport.

The most motivating force in my flight training was my aviation science teacher at Ulster BOCES Career and Technical Center. She had dealt with the same gender issues as I have, and understood the training process well. Without her, I may not have earned my pilot certificate. She inspires me to inspire others.

 Helping other women in the aviation industry is a goal of mine, since I understand the tremendous amount of help having a role model can be. This includes encouraging others to continue flying, even when it is cold out, or if she is lacking motivation; talking about issues that students face during training (sloppy landings, confusion during navigation, etc.); introducing women to other pilots; and inviting these women to events in the aviation community. I hope to be a part of Girls With Wings, in the effort to communicate with my female peers.

In 2013, I won a Vanguard Student Recognition Award through The NET (Nontraditional Employment & Training) Project. This award is for students who are pursuing careers that are nontraditional for their genders. This recognition inspired me more than ever, and efforts like these can strengthen a student’s commitment to a nontraditional field.

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Other awards I have received include a career-tech diploma endorsement with high honors (Ulster BOCES Aviation Science Program in 2013), the Ulster County BOCES Achievement of Excellence in English (2013), the Ulster County BOCES Achievement of Academic Excellence and Professionalism in Aviation (2013), and the fall 2013 President's List at Dutchess Community College.

The aviation industry is an expensive field to get involved in, especially during training. I want to obtain my commercial rating as soon as possible in order to share my passion with others, and support myself (specifically during the next few years of college). I am already halfway through my instrument training, and try to fly at three times per week. My plan is to continue into commercial training immediately; however, I need the funds to do this.

The aviation industry is challenging, exciting, and interesting. My long-term goals include teaching (as a Certified Flight Instructor, and eventually a college professor), writing (in aviation journalism/textbooks), owning a business (a flight school, air charter, and/or commercial spaceflight company), and flying commercially.

My short-term goals include transferring to a four-year university. The decision to major in either Aeronautical Engineering, Aviation Management, or Aviation Science, has proven difficult. The only thing that is definite is my will to fly and my determination to share the industry with more women.

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Advanced Training Scholarship, to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of an Advanced Rating or Certificate such as instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, multi-engine rating or multi-engine flight instructor certificate. This new scholarship award is in the amount of $1000, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Brittany, A Dreams Take Flight Scholarship Winner!

This is Brittany's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.



I believe I am valid candidate for the Rick Dahl Memorial Scholarship because I am a worthy and deserving student that will benefit greatly from this award. I’m truly committed to being a successful student and making good use of the scholarship funding to further my life-long goal of becoming a pilot.

I can proudly say that I have always wanted to be a pilot. As a young girl, I frequently traveled by plane to visit with my Dad in Boston and honestly, I fell in love with flying after a young Delta co-pilot allowed me to tour the cockpit and explore his world, mid-flight!

I have had the amazing opportunity to begin to learn to fly via the Prosser Aviation Program. In the fall, I passed my exam with a solid score of 92% and have started working to accumulate my required flying hours.

I am nearing high school graduation and I plan to finish my senior year with all A's for my final semester. Additionally, I am the varsity captain of my high school cheer squad and am very involved in my community with numerous weekly obligations. I believe I have mastered the art of hard work, multi-tasking and time management. I say this because in addition to the above, I am currently working 15 hours a week at our YMCA (I am a lifeguard and childcare worker) and am saving every dollar that I can to use for additional flight time. My goal is to enter ISU with no less than 20 hours.

I will continue in my formal education in the August as I enter ISU. I plan to double major in Professional Aviation Flight Technology and Aviation Management. As soon as possible, I intend to earn my Flight Instructor designation to help finance my final years of school. Upon graduation, I hope to get a job as a pilot and start building my flight hours to work toward my ultimate goal. My dream job is to be a UPS Pilot, just like my mentor, Captain Jay McKiever. I aspire to travel the world and experience new cultures.

Just as importantly, I also plan to continue to give back to the community by mentoring other young women who are interested in flying and sharing my experiences and learnings. I believe becoming involved with Girls With Wings would be a great opportunity for me and I’ve recently joined Women in Aviation International, an organization dedicated to the advancement of females in the Aviation Industry. I’ve also become a member of The Ninety-Nines, an international organization for women pilots. I am looking forward to working with all these inspiring women, especially Girls With Wings, learning from their sharings, participating in their activities and ultimately working my way through these ranks so that someday I too can help other women in this industry. Through these opportunities and more, I will also work to find creative ways to help other aspiring flight students find a way to fly so that they too can recognize their own dreams.

As I come from a humble household with 4 other children, my family cannot afford to provide financial assistance for college. My Mother is disabled and my step Father works two jobs to support us all. Therefore, I am completely dependent upon grants, scholarships, loans and financial aid to provide funding for this very expensive dual degree program. It is my hope to be considered for the Rick Dahl Memorial Scholarship so that I can better focus on my education and spend a little less time worrying about funding. I truly appreciate your consideration.


The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship, designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. 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 of $500.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Amy, A Dreams Take Flight Scholarship Winner!

This is Amy's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received.
 
I have always dreamed of being a pilot. Since the age of 2, I was telling people I wanted to fly airplanes. I don’t know how, at the age of 2, I came up with the idea of becoming a pilot. I did though, and that dream has been with me ever since. Something about being in the open air and seeing the world from the sky has always intrigued me.

The first time I can remember being in an airplane, I was 12. My family was camping and we went to a town festival where a pilot was giving rides in a Cessna 172. I don’t remember taking off or landing, but I remember how in awe I was when we were in the sky. I thought it was the most amazing experience. The pilot let me fly for a few minutes, and I absolutely loved it! As the years went on, I always considered being an airline pilot my dream job, but never thought that it would be a possibility for me.

Then last summer, my mother and a family friend bought me one 60- minute flight lesson as a graduation present. After that flight I knew that flying was what I wanted to spend my life doing. The lesson was at a small town airport called West Metro Aviation, in Buffalo, MN. We flew around town, and the instructor showed me the very basics of flying- how to taxi and how to control the speed and the direction of the aircraft. He told me that he could see it was something I loved, and that he considered me a natural. He told me to stay out of trouble and to work hard and stay motivated, advice that I have taken to heart this first year of college. I consider that high school graduation gift one of the greatest things I have ever been given.

 Later last summer, I got a job as a nanny for the children of a Delta pilot. When she contacted me about the job, I had no idea she was a pilot. At the interview, she told me about her job at Delta and I told her that I had always dreamed of being a pilot. She hired me on the spot. Throughout the summer, she encouraged me to become a pilot. She explained that there would be no better time than now and borrowed me a book about Private Pilot training. She gave me her old headset and answered any questions that I had. I continue to visit her and her children when I am on break from school. Meeting a woman who had succeeded with an aviation career was very influential and inspirational to me. I am very happy to have met her and to be mentored by her. She is such an inspiration and role model to me. She continues to encourage me to this day.

 I have not had the easiest start in life. My family has never had money to spare. I cannot remember a time in my life when money was not a concern for us. When I was growing up, my father battled with depression. He took his life in 2009. I was fifteen at the time. Even though my father lost his battle with mental illness, I remember him for his strength. He worked so hard to support us growing up, and I am proud to say he is my father. He gave me his morals and his stubborn determination, and taught me my values. He made sure I knew that I could do anything I put my mind too, and I never doubted for a minute that he believed in me. I was very close with him, and losing him was the hardest thing I have ever been through. My family has been through so much both emotionally and financially. We were left without the person who had provided for us and had been the glue that held our family together. My mother has done the best that she can to step up to provide and care for us, but life for single parents in this world is not easy. I am determined to make my father and mother proud and honor my father’s memory.

I am very proud of my family’s strength, despite our troubles. Going through the hardships I have been through has not broken me down, but instead it has built me up. I am determined to make something of myself and to get an education. I worked throughout high school to help pay for a car, and to save up for college and living expenses. I am very proud to be able to pay all of my living expenses at 19. My first semester in college I earned a 3.6 GPA. I was invited into Alpha Lambda Delta, an honor society. I was also chosen to be a Learning Community Coordinator at my university, a job that includes mentoring college students here at Mankato in Aviation and Law Enforcement. I am currently involved with Campus Crusade for Christ and with the Women in Aviation chapter at my university. Even though I have saved for college, without any support I will not be able to complete my flight training or education. This award would make it possible for me to start my flight training to become a licensed private pilot.

My motivation to become a pilot and have a career is not purely for myself. This is not all about me. My goal in life is to make a difference. I want to prove to my younger brother and sister that things are not impossible for my family. I want to help those struggling with mental illness and support people who have lost family and friends to suicide. I would love to use aviation to do mission work and help with disaster relief in other countries. I would love to help underprivileged children get an education and be able to pursue their dreams. I would especially like to encourage young girls with interest in aviation to pursue a career in it. I know that without the encouragement from the woman pilot I worked for, I would not be where I am today. I hope to encourage young girls in the same way that I was encouraged. I would love to be involved with Girls with Wings to help do that. Many people think that flight is not traditionally a career associated with women and have asked me why, as a girl, I would want to be a pilot. I believe that is ridiculous! Just think of all the amazing women who were involved with aviation from early on. Amelia Earhart, Harriet Quimby, Katherine and Marjorie Stinson, Bessie Coleman, the WASPS, and Jacqueline Cochran were all amazing pilots, and that’s just a small selection out of an enormous group. Women have been a part of aviation throughout history, and we should not be underestimated just because of our gender. Women are just as capable as men to be great pilots!

During my life, I hope to help others who have struggled and are struggling. I have chosen to believe that the hard things I have gone through and am currently going through are building me up to be able to better help and understand the situations of others. I have tried to make a difference by raising money by doing the Shiver Plunge in Elk River Minnesota and giving the money to organizations that help and raise awareness for those struggling with mental illness. I have volunteered at Feed My Starving Children. I have also volunteered at an event with Airspace Minnesota, a nonprofit organization created to honor Minnesota’s great aviation and aerospace legacy, and educate kids about aviation. However given the opportunity; I know that I could do more to help people who need hope and encouragement in life. I know that I could use aviation to make a difference in this world.

My experience at Minnesota State Mankato thus far has been amazing. The aviation professors at the school are very involved with the students. They have gone out of their way to help me. The people at North Star Flight Training in Mankato have been incredibly helpful. Even though I have not been able to start flight training because I do not have the financial resources to do so, they have let me sit in on ground school lessons and ride along on planes rides while giving flight training lessons. Even the aviation students here have made a huge impact on my life. The older students have always helped me when I have had questions outside of class. A student who had his own plane took it upon himself to teach me a bit about flying and took me on a ride to the airport in my hometown. He was the first signature in my logbook, something I will always be grateful for.

I want a career in aviation because I absolutely love it. I love airplanes; I love all the technical details, the mechanics of it, the charts, the checklists, and the adventure. Most of all, I love flying. The feeling I get when the airplane takes off is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I love the anticipation and excitement right as the airplane speeds up on the runway to takeoff. Flying is on my mind every day. I have realized that I love flying more than I could ever love any other profession. I could talk about airplanes and flying for hours.

I don’t care if I have to work twice as hard as many people to get my dream job. I will work four times as hard, or as hard as it takes to get this degree. I will find a way to make it. “Aviation itself”, as Eddy Rickenbacker said, “is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.” I know that I have the will to achieve what seems now as though it is impossible in my life. I would like to give back and make a difference. I am so thankful for organizations like yours that support and encourage girls to follow their dreams. This organization has definitely encouraged me and will continue to do so!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and consider me for this scholarship. I am very grateful.
Sincerely,
Amy Dahlheimer

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship, designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. 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 of $500.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Lauren, A Dreams Take Flight Scholarship Winner!

This is Lauren's essay from her application. As an awardee of this scholarship, she has agreed to send us updates on her flight training, which will be posted here when they are received. 


Being awarded the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship would allow me not only to fulfill my personal dreams but would also allow me the opportunity to share my experiences with girls across the nation. My personal dreams related to aviation are to become an aerospace physician in the U.S. Air Force and to earn my private pilot’s license. I will achieve my first goal by attending college and enrolling in a pre-med program. After graduating from this program I will go on to medical school, and after getting my license I will join the Air force. In preparation for my private pilot license, I am taking Sporty’s Flight Course which will aid me during the written test. This training will also allow me to be more educated for the next time I can fly in an actual airplane. After passing my test, I will need to take lessons in the cockpit of a real plane.

My motivation for this chosen career stems from a peculiar sequence of events. As an honor-roll student, I’ve always been told I’d become a doctor; even though I never believed it. After completing an aviation maintenance internship with NASA-Langley, I was exposed to the career of an aerospace engineer. I was thoroughly interested in the career, and I now take a college course for it. I love the concept of aerospace, but I had to realize that I enjoy interacting with people instead of blueprints and machinery. So, I continued my search for a promising career, and with some guidance from my air traffic control teacher, I found what I was looking for; the aerospace physician. This career in the perfect middle between medicine and aerospace. Whilst researching this career, I wondered upon the Girls With Wings program.

My involvement in Girls With Wings is limited as I am fairly new to the programs, but I will definitely stay involved. I would like to become a role model for the Girls With Wings organization to teach young girls that aviation and STEM isn’t just for boys. I want them to open their eyes to the fact that, the world of aviation is larger than people actually realize. This means that great opportunities are waiting for us all; such as this one. I, for one, have taking advantage of many aviation related programs and opportunities.

My achievement and participation in other organizations related to aviation have been plentiful. As a student at the Aviation Academy, I am constantly given chances to meet people with experience in the fields of aviation and aerospace. These conversations have led to me earning internships with NASA-Langley and Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport. While at NASA, I was an aviation maintenance intern and I helped inspect and repair experimental aircraft. As an intern at Newport News-Williamsburg International, I worked with the airport operations managers. My job varied from day to day but mainly consisted of runway inspections, tenant meetings, and event planning. Aside from my schoolwork and internships, I am very active in community service. I recently earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award for teaching local youth about aviation fundamentals, careers, and opportunities.

My personal need for this scholarship is another significant factor for my application. As the second oldest of five kids children, my parents are unable to support my dreams of flight. My father just recently retired from the U.S. Army, and is currently looking for another job to support our family. This scholarship award would assist me in making my dreams come true, as I would be able to finally get hours of flight time in my log book. It is extremely unfortunate to have a log book signed by two originally documented Tuskegee Airmen, but empty of any hours.

By becoming a Dreams Take Flight scholarship winner, I would be afforded the opportunity that many miss out on, to chance to accomplish my most challenging dream. If successful, I will finally be granted the training I’ve been so desperately awaiting. Even more so, I could share my goals and achievement with females and aviation enthusiasts alike.

The Girls With Wings 2014 Scholarship Program includes the Dreams Take Flight Scholarship, designed to introduce the world of aviation to someone who would benefit from experiencing the joy of flight. 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 of $500.00, funded by the generous donations from supporters of Girls With Wings, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.