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Women in the Wings Scholarship

1st winner$1,000
2nd winner$1,000
3rd winner$500
Application Deadline
Oct 1, 2022
Winners Announced
Oct 31, 2022
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Volunteer or community service experience
Education Level:
High school or four-year undergraduate student
Field of Study:
Aviation field or related field ex: Aviation Science, Aviation Engineering, Aviation Medicine, Aviation Mechanics, or Aviation Business

Despite the continuing progress that women are making in the workforce, many fields are still predominantly male. 

Aviation is one of these fields, with women making up just 5.3% of aircraft pilots and flight engineers. In order to create a more equal world where women are able to pursue any field without feeling alone, it’s critical that female students are supported.

This scholarship aims to support women who are pursuing their education in aviation.

Any female high school or undergraduate student who has volunteer or community service experience and is pursuing the aviation field may apply if they’re working towards a four-year degree in aviation, aviation mechanics, aviation medicine, aviation science, aviation engineering, or aviation business.

To apply, tell us about an experience that led you to pursue a degree in aviation or a related field. Additionally, tell us what becoming a woman in aviation would mean to you and how you plan to support female students pursuing careers in aviation in the future. 

Two winners will receive $1,000 each and one runner-up will receive $500.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published June 21, 2022
Essay Topic

Please share a life experience that led to you pursuing a degree in aviation. What would becoming a woman in the aviation field mean to you? How do you plan to support female students pursuing aviation degrees in the future?

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Teriah Roberson
University of Central MissouriWarrensburg, MO
For most people, the thing that contributes to their love for aviation fits somewhere along the lines of experiencing a discovery flight at an airport or airshow. Perhaps they have a relative who is a pilot and flew in the past, someone who tells them stories of their previous adventures. They might have a powerful historic movie that changed their perception of what it means to work in aviation. For me, I never had a moment similar to this. As far back as I could remember, I always had a devotion to all things aviation and aerospace. These desires were not invoked by any movie, a relative with stories to tell, or even a discovery flight experience, but instead, it was just who I was. My decision to pursue a degree in aviation was decided as soon as I was born. My first plan for my future aviation career was to be a flight attendant. The opinion I had of the career changed when I realized the job focused on skills such as hospitality and customer service. I learned and developed working with these skills during my employment at Chick-Fil-A. While learning about customer service and hospitality, I quickly realized that it was not my particular calling in my life to walk the aisle of an airplane and serve food or other commodities to the patrons. I noticed that I much preferred the leadership role that accompanied climbing the ranks at Chick-fil-A, as well as the teamwork aspect of getting the job done correctly and safely. This is where I combined my love for aviation, my life goal to travel the world, and my innate drive toward success, and I realized that I would pursue the career of an airline pilot. With this realization that I wanted to become an airline pilot came a new meaning to being an African American woman in aviation. It is no secret that the world of aviation is a caucasian male-dominated field, with little space for any other demographic. To be not only a woman but an African American woman in the field of aviation would be breaking generational barriers on both sides of my heritage. As a woman, it would prove that women are just as capable as men to achieve anything they set their minds to. As an African American individual, I believe that my success can help inspire more success from all people, regardless of their ethnicity or racial background. I have no doubt that every profession should be a melting pot of different types of highly qualified individuals to promote new ideas for a better functioning community worldwide. To further the objective of aviation being a melting pot, I have joined the Women in Aviation program at my university - the University of Central Missouri - to promote and support other women working in aviation. In addition to supporting the other women in aviation through the WIA Program, I also plan to be a beacon for other women curious about the subject, but who are uncertain about their path. My goal is to show them that not only can women do anything they put their minds to, but that they can do so despite the historical factors that follow the aviation field.
Caitlyn Vinger
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusQuakertown, PA
My father got his pilot's license when he was just sixteen years old. His favorite hobby came to an end some years later when his vision had deteriorated so much that he was no longer cleared to fly. He would tell me that "back in his day," corrective lenses weren't allowed and that he needed to have 20/20 vision to fly. Growing up hearing my father's stories, I had always wanted to follow in his footsteps and start flying as early as I could. I took my first lesson in the dead of Minnesota winter at fourteen years old. I remember my hands feeling almost frostbitten, and I couldn’t stop squinting as the reflection of the midday sun on the snow-covered fields below us was nearly blinding. Despite all of this, what I most clearly remember was having the time of my life. Unfortunately for my plan to get my license as soon as I was old enough, just like my father had, the next summer was when my family decided to move halfway across the country to semi-rural Pennsylvania. Although this was a hectic time in my life and caused a hiatus in my flying progress, I have since gotten back on track flying a Cessna 150 at a small airport right down the road from where I now live. Shortly after joining the Quakertown Airport, where I now fly, I learned about a widespread flight school tradition that they partake in: the solo shirt cutting tradition. This tradition began back before today's improved headset technology, when instructors had to tug on the back of students' shirts to get their attention while flying. After completing their first solo fight, students would cut out the back of their shirts to symbolize the absence of their instructor and the shirt tugging that was once necessary. The walls of the airport lobby are decorated with this cut-out shirt fabric, each piece personalized with the names of the students and the date they took their first solo flight. After waiting in the lobby each day examining these hanging shirts, I found only one name that could have been a girl. One day before a lesson, pointing at the only shirt that didn’t have a definite boys name, I asked my flight instructor, “is that Jamie a girl?” He replied that it was not, confirming that none of the prized solo shirts belonged to any female pilot. As an engineering major, I feel a huge push toward increasing the number of women in STEM fields. Aviation, like these fields, is heavily male-dominated. Although aviation and STEM fields are closely related, I don’t feel this same push to even out the male to female ratio in the flying world. In the coming years, I plan to get my pilot’s license, join Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AFROTC) at my school, and pursue my dreams of becoming an astronaut. Growing up idolizing Mae Jemison and other trailblazing women like her, I know that working toward my own success is something bigger than myself. Volunteering at or even starting a flying camp just for girls to get involved and inspired from a young age, just as I was, is another goal that I hope to achieve in the near future. I don’t have 20/20 vision, but I do have corrective contacts and these big ideas; I want young girls and women to feel that a career in aviation is not only available to them but also encouraged, and to help incite this missing “push” for girls in aviation for future generations of young women.
Madeleine Armes
Canyon HillsSan Diego, CA
The Cessna’s engine whirred as we glided into the air. Mr. Rich, the instructor, nodded and motioned for me to take hold of the yoke and “give it a go.” I took a firm grasp, adjusted the trim, my eyes on the horizon, and flew. I felt exhilarated, euphoric, just in absolute awe. I looked to my left and saw the vibrant green marshes of Jekyll Island, and to my right, the crystal blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. With nothing but pure joy surrounding me like an aura, I was exhilarated. The feeling of being in control of such an intricate piece of aircraft, guiding one through the sky, was incomparable. I knew at that moment that aviation would be my passion- becoming a pilot would be my ultimate ambition. In the short time I was thousands of feet in the air, yoke in hand, flying up the coastline, I knew aviation was the field I wanted to pursue. Upon landing, Mr. Rich pulled me aside and said, “You’re really a natural. You know, I take some people flying and I can tell they’re going to have some difficulty with it. But it wasn’t like that with you. Come back and visit in ten or so years when you’re a pilot.” I will never forget those words. That statement lit a match that fueled a fire of drive and determination; drive and determination to pursue my passion. From the first moment I flew, I could envision aviation within my future. When Mr. Rich said he could see it in my future too, my dream blossomed into a reality. From that day on I knew a pilot would be my future career. I had never really seen independent female pilots growing up. Peering into the cockpit boarding a Boeing 737 as a small child and seeing two male pilots turn around, smile and wave, was a frequent occurrence. Curiously, I couldn’t name a single time I’ve been flown by a female pilot for an airline throughout the course of my life. In a male dominated world, it is easy to feel a sense of discomfort as a woman. This is a prominent issue especially in aviation, with less than six percent of all pilots being female. Throughout my life, despite knowing I am equally and fully capable, it feels as though my input, my work, or my success isn’t as valued as much as my male peers’. To succeed in a male dominated industry would prove, not only to others, but most importantly, to myself, that none of my limits are defined by being a woman. There is absolutely no reason why women should not comprise 50% of pilots as opposed to the current 5%. Female pilots are the future of aviation, and I will do everything in my power to inspire younger generations of female aviators to strive for success and pursue their passions. If I could do one thing to inspire future pilots, it would be to present them with the same opportunity I was given that ignited my passion. To provide a young female with the opportunity to sit in the cockpit and “give it a go,” could inspire her to pursue aviation as a career, as it did for me. To invoke this sense of inspiration in others is the most humbling and valuable aspiration I could ever hope to achieve.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Oct 1, 2022. Winners will be announced on Oct 31, 2022.

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