More than 100 scholarships were distributed to WAI members during the recent 27th annual International Women in Aviation Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, March 10-12, 2016. These scholarships were given to WAI members at every stage of life, from university students to mature members seeking a mid-life career change to aviation. A total of $661,234 in scholarships were awarded, bringing the total scholarships awarded to more than $10,100,000 since the inception of the scholarship program in 1995.
The scholarship which pushed the total dollar value past the $10 million mark was sponsored by King Schools. The Martha King Scholarship for Female Flight Instructors includes $5,000 toward an advanced CFI rating and lifetime access to the entire King Schools course library, bringing the total value of the scholarship to $18,120.
King Schools co-chairman and scholarship namesake Martha King said, "We have supported WAI since the beginning of the organization. I am humbled and proud that this scholarship is the one that took WAI over the ten million dollar mark. I hope that this milestone inspires others to also step up and support the goals of WAI. The organization provides invaluable support for women building careers in the aviation industry."
The Martha King Scholarship was given to WAI member Lindsey Dreiling, an Associate Dean/Professor of Technology & Aviation at Kansas State University in Salina, Kansas. She has a commercial pilot certificate with single and multiengine airplane and instrument ratings. She is also a certificated flight instructor for single engine and instrument airplane. Lindsey is pursuing her doctorate in aviation and will use the scholarship to help achieve her goals.
In addition to the scholarship, WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian presented Lindsey with a lifetime membership to WAI. Dr. Chabrian said, "Lindsey overcame extremely challenging health issues as a teenager, and despite those obstacles, Lindsey achieved a private pilot certificate as a teenager and multiple ratings and certificates in her twenties. Like our other extraordinary scholarship winners, she continues to reach higher and views aviation as providing a lifetime of learning."
WAI's scholarship program began in 1995 when the organization decided to award a scholarship at its annual conference and sold $1 tickets to fund the program. A little more than $1,000 was raised, which enabled WAI to award two $500 scholarships that first year.
The following year, in 1996, the annual conference was held in Minneapolis, home of Northwest Airlines which generously offered to augment WAI's fledgling scholarship program by offering a type rating scholarship for any airplane that was part of Northwest's fleet. The winner, Jodi Osborne, then a student at Middle Tennessee State University, elected to receive her type rating in the 747.
"No one, including me, could have imagined that in the years to come, our scholarship program would exceed $10,000,000," said Dr. Chabrian. "Those companies, organizations and individuals who sponsored scholarships changed and enhanced the lives of hundreds of deserving recipients."