~  Scholarship Corner  ~


By Chris Nugent


First, I want to apologize for an error in the last Scholarship Corner article. I mixed up the information for two of our 2021 scholarship recipients, Mark Nowak from University of North Dakota, and Justin O’Reilly from East Valley Institute of Technology. So, to correct that “editorial deviation” and give them the credit they are due, I’ve included an overview for both in this installment.


scholarship corner mark nowak

Mark Nowak – University of North Dakota

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to receive the scholarship from the Arizona Pilot’s Association. As I finish the current CFI course here at UND I’m looking forward to using the scholarship funds to assist in paying for the CFI-I course at UND this spring.

Once I complete CFI-I I look forward to instructing and introducing new coming pilots to the wonderful world of aviation. I will also be looking forward to returning to the Civil Air Patrol, Willie Squadron, and use these new certificates and ratings to assist the air crew and cadets where needed.

Moving into the future I will be working towards an airline career starting at the regionals, and then onto a main line carrier. My goal is to fly wide body aircraft on international flights. I do plan to always stay involved in general aviation and continue to fly the beautiful skies of Arizona!


scholarship corner justin oreilly

Justin O’Reilly – East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT)

Hello, my name is Justin O’Reilly, I am 17 years old, and I am a senior who is also attending the East Valley Institute of Technology’s aviation program. When I first received news about being awarded this scholarship, I was over the moon, and months later I am still so grateful. I have been saving for my private pilot’s license for about a year and a half now, and because of this scholarship I was able to begin flight training more than three months earlier than my original plan.

With this earlier start, I will be able to finish training before I go to college, allowing me to focus more on my classes in the fall. My plan is to become an Air Traffic Controller, and I have already been accepted into ASU’s Polytechnic campus ATC program, which I will attend until I get accepted into the ATC academy in Oklahoma.

I am earning my private pilot’s license to allow me to better understand what is going through the minds of the pilots I am directing, and once I have the money, I plan to earn my instrument rating as well to make myself a better controller. I am training with Simplifly flight school at Falcon Field, and flying has been one of the best experiences in my life. Once again, thank you APA for helping me financially to get here!


scholarship corner kaylay yazzie

Kaylah Yazzie – East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT)

My name is Kaylah Yazzie. I am a senior at Chandler High School and attending the aviation program at the East Valley Institute of Technology. I am currently training at Chandler Gilbert Community College and the University of North Dakota to obtain my private pilot’s license. 

This scholarship will help me gain my private pilot’s license while still in high school and give me an advantage when I start college by already having college credits toward my aviation career. I am motivated and determined to reach my aviation goals and know aviation is where I belong, because I get excited and enthusiastic about learning all I can about the industry. My short-term goals after high school are to continue to gain flight hours while attending college to obtain either an engineering or business degree. My long-term goal is to fly as an ATP commercial airline pilot while giving back to the industry and my Native American communities as a positive role model for minority women. I appreciated the support from current and retired pilots in the industry as they would come to our classrooms to talk with us and offer to take us up in their personal planes. This kept me motivated and focused on my aviation goals.

Thank you for the opportunity and for the support as I am dedicated to fulfilling my short and long-term goals in becoming a Native American female pilot. This means a lot to me because I would be blazing a trail that hasn’t been taken by anyone before me and I would have the knowledge to pass down to others after me so more Native American girls can follow.

As we wrap this look at our 2021 scholarship recipients, we are already preparing for the next application cycle with information sessions at schools such as EVIT. We’ve seen a steady increase in interest in our program over the last several years and I expect 2022 to be n o different based on the renewed growth in the aviation industry.

However, none of this would be possible without your support of the program. Thank you again for helping APA continue to build the next generation of Arizona aviation professionals.

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