I know we are all looking forward to the Annual Conference in Bozeman, Montana, this summer. One of the many highlights of each Conference is attending the Scholarship Luncheon where the Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Fund (AEMSF) Trustees present the winners of that year’s scholarship competition.
It is such a pleasure to meet the winners who are able to attend and to hear about all of the other winners and their aviation goals. In addition, we also get to hear from past winners and learn about their accomplishments made possible by scholarships and grants from the Fund.
With the exception of a few primary training scholarships and research grants, most of the scholarships are for advanced training. This helps many of our members with their career advancement in aviation, and this recognition looks particularly good on their resumes. It is an outstanding example of our commitment to growing and advancing the female pilot population.
However, there is another group that also needs our help. With the declining number of pilots and the rise in training, gas and equipment costs, student pilots also need a lot of financial aid. Many of our Chapters already give scholarships of various kinds: solo, emergency maneuvers, advanced ratings, check rides, etc. There are many differences in requirements, location of training and amount of these scholarships.
Interestingly enough, the one thing we see in common is that Chapters that give scholarships are the ones that are usually
growing and thriving. Not only do they have the satisfaction of bringing more people into aviation, but those Chapters also note an uptick in their outreach to the aviation community as well.
An example of what a difference financial aid can make is to look at what Barry Schiff, noted aviation lecturer/speaker and long-time columnist for the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, did recently. (Yes, I bomb out on his aviation question columns, too). In the fall of 2011, he wrote an article in their magazine, AOPA Pilot, announcing a solo scholarship for $3,000 that he would award to a young person between the ages of 16-20. To apply for the scholarship, a young person was to send an email and a 500-word essay about why the applicant wanted to learn to fly.
Within a few weeks, other donors and headset makers approached Barry with additional donations and enabled him to award a total of ten $3,300 scholarships. Although he did nothing more than mention the scholarship in his column, he received 150 applications and essays and announced the names of all 10 winners in
his April, 2012 column.
Eight have already soloed, and three of them have their licenses. The remaining two are scheduled to begin their training. By the way, 25 percent of the applicants
were young women, one of whom was the first place winner, a senior in high school in Virginia and now a member of The 99s. Welcome, Victoria Hodges!
I want to encourage all Chapters that are not giving scholarships to consider doing so, if at all possible. Some Chapters started with $300 or $500; students are happy to receive any help at all with their expenses.
There are many ways to accomplish this, and Chapters that are currently giving scholarships are glad to share their information, requirements and methods with those Chapters considering setting up their own scholarshis. Ask around, look at scholarships that are promoted online and help those who need your assistance in getting started with or completing their dreams.
See you in Bozeman!
|Victoria Hodges is the first place winner of the scholarship initiated by Barry Schiff in his column — and a new 99.|