SEATTLE, May 12, 2021—The Museum of Flight awarded $226,000 in scholarships to 14 high school students for postsecondary education and flight training during a virtual ceremony held on May 11. The scholarships are awarded annually to students who have participated in Museum of Flight education programs or are enrolled in Raisbeck Aviation High School. The recipients represent a diverse racial and economic profile of 78 applicants chosen from 39 school districts in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Missouri and Texas. The ceremony was emceed by the Museum’s Vice President of Education, Dr. Dana Riley Black. The keynote speaker was astronaut and former Museum President, Dr. Bonnie Dunbar.
“These annual scholarships provide the significant opportunity for students to access the dreams for their future,” said Dr. Riley Black. “The postsecondary STEM education scholarships are opportunities for high school seniors planning to attend a university in science, technology, engineering or mathematics-related field with plans of pursuing a career in aviation or aerospace, and the flight training scholarships provide opportunities for high school students who want to earn their private pilot license—an important first milestone for anyone with aspirations to become a professional pilot or professional in the aviation industry. We are so proud to see that past recipients have since become commercial pilots and aerospace professionals.”
The recipients represent 11 school districts, and they reported their gender as 50 percent male, 43 percent female, and seven percent other. Twenty-one percent reported eligibility for Free/Reduced lunch. (Detailed data is available upon request.)
Image: 2021 Museum of Flight scholarship recipients pose for online group photo during the May 11 online award ceremony (not pictured is Akash Mungra). Photos and video clips of each student are available upon request.
One Frank “Sam” and Betty Houston Postsecondary Scholarship at up to $29,500 for four years ($118,000 total).
Five Frank “Sam” and Betty Houston Postsecondary Flight Training Scholarships at $12,000 each.
One Alaska Airlines Flight Training Scholarship at $12,000.
Two Benjamin L. Ellison Future Pilot Scholarships at $12,000 each.
One Aeronautical Science Pathways Scholarship at $3,000.
Two Stephen and Hazel Eastman Memorial Postsecondary Scholarships at $2,000 each.
Two Stuart Knopp Memorial Postsecondary Scholarships at $2,500 each.
2021 Frank “Sam” and Betty Houston Postsecondary
STEM Education Scholarship Recipient | Up to $29,500 per year for four
years of postsecondary education ($118,000):
William Esposito is an Everett, Wash. homeschooled senior. He has participated in the Museum’s Washington Aerospace Scholars program and is currently enrolled in his second year of the Museum’s Aeronautical Science Pathways program. Esposito also volunteers in Seattle-based soup kitchens and missions.
“Sitting in the cockpit, the world fades away and the 2,300 RPM engine and an endless view is the only thing left. There is no place I would rather be. I hope to one day become a mentor and giver to everyone interested in aviation, while learning to financially provide to the extent of my ability.”
2021 Frank “Sam” and Betty Houston Postsecondary Flight Training Scholarship Recipients | Up to $12,000 each toward earning a Private Pilot license:
Axel Duran is a junior at Ballard High School in the Seattle School District. Duran began his flight training by enrolling in the Museum’s Private Pilot Ground School, and is currently participating in the Museum’s Aeronautical Science Pathways Program.
“This program [ASP] has truly developed and intensified my passion and understanding of aviation. I now know more than ever that I will become an airline pilot and nothing will get in my way.”
Andrea Garibay is a senior at Lincoln High School in the Tacoma School District, Wash. She has participated in the Museum’s Washington Aerospace Scholars program and is currently enrolled in the Museum’s Aeronautical Science Pathways program.
“In my time, my family and Hispanic culture feel that it is not proper of a woman to be in the aviator field of work. It is very hard on one’s self esteem to try to overcome society’s beliefs that you are not good enough for a specific career. Just as she [Betty Houston] worked so hard to prove to those around her that women are just as capable as men for the job, my final goal is to prove the same thing to my family and my cultural background.”
Emilia Hickle is a junior at South Kitsap High School in the South Kitsap School District, Wash. She has participated in the Museum’s Washington Aerospace Scholars and is currently enrolled in the Museum’s Aeronautical Science Pathways program.
“To me, flying means opportunity. Opportunity to be free to explore. Opportunity to inspire young people in a math and science field. Opportunity to be a female leader in a male-dominated field. Most of all, it means an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.”
Jaidon Thompson is a senior at Skyline High School in the Issaquah School District, Wash. He has previously participated in the Museum’s Private Pilot Ground School.
“The Museum of Flight has taught me a lot about aviation, but the greatest lesson I learned was that the aeronautical community was larger than I imagined. Best of all, it has introduced me to friends and peers who constantly encourage and challenge me, ensuring that I work my hardest and supplying me with constant motivation to succeed.”
Jordan Vieira is currently a junior at Renton High School in the Renton School District, Wash. He has previously participated in the Museum’s Washington Aerospace Scholars Sophomore and Junior programs, and the Museum’s Private Pilot Ground School.
“After completing the Museum of Flight’s Private Pilot Ground School, the only thing on my mind is flying. I am willing to do whatever it takes in order to earn a pilot certificate, regardless of any challenges that may come my way.”
2021 Alaska Airlines Flight Training Scholarship | Up to $10,000 toward earning a Private Pilot License:
David Rodgers is a sophomore at Skyline High School in the Issaquah School District, Wash. He participated in the Museum’s Private Pilot Ground School program.
“Ground School has been the most beneficial learning experience that I have ever attended…It is allowing me to get a head start on the FAA written and is preparing me for my flight training…It was also where I got to ride in my first non-commercial plane which set my goal of becoming a pilot in stone.”
2021 Benjamin L. Ellison Future Pilot Scholarship Recipients | Up to $12,000 each toward earning a Private Pilot license:
Garret Griner is a junior at Raisbeck Aviation High School in the Highline School District, Wash. He has worked to fund all his flying to-date with a part-time job at Jersey Mikes.
“I believe the most important and valuable lesson I have learned from The Museum of Flight and its programs is giving back to the community by being a mentor that keeps every community thriving and coming around full circle ready to inspire and assist the next generation of aviators.”
Zoe Thompson is a junior at Lincoln High School in the Seattle School District. She is currently enrolled in the Museum’s Aeronautical Science Pathways (ASP) program, and previously participated in the Museum’s Aerospace Camp Experiences.
“Before I joined the ASP this school year, I felt a bit like that weird kid who was super into aviation but didn’t have anyone to talk to about cool airplanes…I feel at home and comfortable at ASP, everyone is very supportive and encourages others to do their best. It is a truly priceless gift, to create such a tight-knit community that will stay with me for the rest of my career.”
2021 Aeronautical Science Pathway Scholarship Recipient | $3,000 toward flight training or postsecondary education:
Carson Turner is a junior at Tahoma High School in the Tahoma School District, Wash. He participated in the Museum’s Aeronautical Explorations program and is currently enrolled in the Aeronautical Science Pathways program.
“When I learn to fly I won’t just be learning to fly, I will be learning about the world around me.”
2021 Stephen and Hazel Eastman Memorial Scholarship Recipient | $2,000 toward postsecondary education:
Gina Dickson is a senior at Kentridge High School in the Kent School District, Wash. She participated in the Museum’s Washington Aerospace Scholars Sophomore and Junior programs.
“Thanks to my experience with The Museum of Flight, I have been able to surround myself with those who are striving towards a common goal. In this group I have found inspiration, motivation, and shared joy in marveling at the wonders of the universe.”
Emily Nelson is a senior at La Center High School in the La Center School District, Wash. She participated in the Museum’s Washington Aerospace Scholars Sophomore and Junior programs.
“Coming from a small town, very few people shared an interest in STEM with me, however, meeting other scholars and professionals either through the online portal or through the summer experiences introduced me to people who cared about STEM as much as I did. For perhaps the first time in my life, I felt like I found a community where I truly belonged and I knew that I wanted to feel that way for the rest of my life.”
2021 Stuart Knopp Memorial Scholarship Recipients | $2,500 toward postsecondary education:
Sarah Heller is a senior at Capital High School in Helena, Mont. She participated in the Museum’s Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) Sophomore and Junior programs.
“Being a part of WAS has helped me gain confidence as a future female scientist and leader. Meeting successful female educators and other female STEM students helps me develop confidence and an understanding that I do belong in a physical science field.”
Akash Mungra is a senior at Raisbeck Aviation High School in the Highline School District, Wash. He has been a participant in a multitude of Museum programs including the Aerospace Camp Experience, Michael P. Anderson Program, and the Western Aerospace Scholars Sophomore and Junior programs.
“After reflecting on all the time spent at the Museum…I realized there was an underlying constant during my journey with the Museum that kept bringing me back. Whether I was giving explanations about planes to strangers in the pavilion, mentoring kids of various ages, or working tirelessly with a group of fellow high schoolers to make a successful aerospace project, my connection towards aviation shined through beyond any other task.”
The Museum of Flight’s Boeing Academy for STEM Learning
All education programs at The Museum of Flight operate under the umbrella of
The Boeing Academy for STEM Learning, which was created in 2015 through a major investment by The Boeing Company and Mr. and Mrs. William E. Boeing, Jr. From pre-kindergarten to college prep and career readiness programs, the Academy provides unparalleled learning opportunities for students to explore and prepare for education and career pathways in flight, engineering, and space.
The Academy strives to accelerate opportunities for all youth, with particular focus on under-resourced and underrepresented populations, by connecting them to fulfilling, in-demand STEM careers. The Academy operates in partnership with schools, community-based organizations, government, business and industry to ensure that the next generation of workers are ready to lead and innovate.
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Ted Huetter/Senior Public Relations Manager
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