~ Scholarship Corner ~
By Chris Nugent
We recently wrapped up the 2019 scholarship application cycle, and I’m happy to report that we received a total of 22 applications from aspiring aviation professionals. This is on par with the number received last year, although we did update the application process to require professional letters of recommendation from employers, teachers, etc. instead of being optional as in past years. This may seem like a minor change, but the committee felt it was important for the applicants to show that they had someone that was personally invested in them and their success in aviation.
After doing a first pass review of the applications, I can tell you that I’m impressed by the passion for pursuing a career in aviation that all the applicants have shown. Some are well on their way with several ratings under their belts and a solid plan for achieving their long-term career goals. From a demographics perspective, most of the applications came from students at two Phoenix area schools – East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) and Chandler Gilbert Community College (CGCC). Both have strong aviation-oriented programs and the APA has enjoyed a long association with these schools. However, we also received applications from students in northern Arizona, Yuma, and Douglas. Hopefully we can continue to build awareness of our program in other areas of the state for the 2020 application cycle.
The Board of Directors and Scholarship Committee have had a lot of discussion recently about the future of our program and the need to build in provisions for younger students (read high school freshmen) to provide them an opportunity to get started in aviation. Our current program is structured for high school seniors preparing for their transition to college and/or professional training programs. These older students have already developed some “credibility” by attending an aviation-oriented school such as EVIT or have started flight training. Several organizations, such as the EAA, have well established youth programs. Those of you that participate in EAA Young Eagle flights are familiar with the program and the head start it offers kids in this age group. While we still have a lot of work to do in this area, a potential option would be for APA to offer scholarships towards a glider PPL after some pre-requisites are completed such as the Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course offered with Young Eagles participation. All TBD at this point, but it does help APA build the pipeline of future Arizona aviators.
In the interim, the committee will be hard at work reviewing applications with the objective of wrapping up the selection process this month. We’ll provide an update on the scholarship awards in the January newsletter.