~ Scholarship Corner ~
By Chris Nugent
As I reported in last month’s scholarship program update, we had an overwhelming response to the 2021 call for scholarship applications with a total of forty received. This was a significant increase from the twenty-nine we received last year. The overall quality of the scholarship applications has always been impressive, and the 2021 submissions were no exception.
As you might expect, the review and selection process took some extra effort from the committee based on the number and quality of the applications we received. In the end, we awarded scholarships to eight well deserving candidates. However, based on the overwhelming generosity of our membership we were able to increase the award amounts from $2,500 to $3,000. This is a real testament to the commitment the membership has in keeping GA healthy in Arizona by supporting the next generation of aviators and aviation professionals. It is a very important part of APA’s mission.
Here’s a quick overview of the 2021 scholarship winners – we will be publishing a more in-depth look at each of them in upcoming editions of the newsletter:
- Mattie Mitchell – Mattie is currently attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott majoring in Aeronautical Management Technology with the goal of becoming a professional pilot. Mattie is very active in the aviation community from a volunteer perspective and is the president of the Granite Mountain 99’s and vice president of the Prescott Chapter of Women in Aviation.
- Alyssa Bodwin – Alyssa is an East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) aviation program alumni and is and working on her instrument and advanced ratings at Chandler-Gilbert Community College/University of North Dakota (CGCC/UND) flight training program. Alyssa has also been an active volunteer in the aviation community and is currently the President of Aviation Explorer Post 352 at Falcon Field. Her goal is to become an airline pilot.
- Tristan Smith – Tristan is attending Arizona State University and is a cadet in the Air Force Junior ROTC. He is currently working on his PPL with the objective of obtaining a pilot training slot once he joins graduates ASU and joins the Air Force.
- Michelle Imondi – Michelle is attending the CGCC/UND flight training program and will start her CFI course in the spring semester. Her career goal is to become a professional pilot and she currently works as a ground agent for an FBO/aircraft management company at KIWA.
- Kaylah Yazzie – Kaylah attends Chandler High School/EVIT aviation program and will transition to the CGCC/UND flight training program in the spring semester. She has been an active volunteer with the Grounded No More organization at KFFZ which provides flights to military veterans.
- Justin O’Reilly – Justin currently attends Primavera High School/EVIT aviation program and will transition to ASU where he will major in Aeronautical Management Technology. He will start his PLL training in January with the ultimate career goal of being an Air Traffic Controller.
- Blake Tusynski – Blake is also attending the EVIT aviation program and will attend the CGCC/UND flight training program. His goal is to become a professional pilot.
- Mark Nowak – Mark recently received his CFI certificate through UND and wants to fly for the airlines. During the COVID emergency he volunteered to fly supplies to the San Carlos Indian Reservation and is active in the Willie Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.
When I wrote this same article last year, air travel was almost completely shut down with many pilots and airline staff furloughed. Fast forward 12 months and the story is completely different, with the resurgence in air travel and a strong demand for pilots and other aviation professionals. It is encouraging that the APA scholarship program will help meet this demand and allow the next generation of Arizona aviation professionals achieve their career goals.
Thank you again for your continued support and helping APA fulfill a key part of our mission.
Stay healthy and fly safe.