Last January, OPJ Ambassador Emmy (@aviatrixemmy) came to me with the idea about a scholarship. It was perfect timing. We brainstormed ideas and decided we wanted to offer a scholarship with as few restrictions or qualifications as possible. We also wanted the process to be valuable. Scholarships applications take time and time is valuable. So we decided to focus on three aspects of the application that would have long term value: financial need demonstrated through making a financial plan; a recommendation letter that demanded camaraderie and collaboration among fellow female aviators and across industry divisions; and an actionable piece of self express that would talk to the community, at large.
A scholarship is not a loan. It is not something you pay back. A scholarship is something you pay forward. And the most successful applicants are those who have already begun to pay their dues forward even before accepting a single award.
We began fundraising in February 2020. Angee (OPJ Founder) and I (Christine), set off to Nepal to climb towards Gokyo in the Everest Region. We wanted to show girls and women that flight paths are not linear, alternates are required, communication is essential, and that even with the best of plans there are things we cannot control (thank you, Mother Nature). We wanted to show the world where aviation can take us. Low and behold, as soon as we returned home, worldwide borders were shuttered.
We believe flying is the business of freedom - of movement and of ideas. Flying allows us to reach remote destinations and to share the stories of people who live there. In fact, billions of people have never left their own borders. We must be the voice to their stories. Flying changes lives and, for pilots, flying is life.
Being a pilot brings great responsibility. That is why are are asking all applicants to complete a financial plan: to articulate their exact costs (both time and monetary) to achieve their goal, as well as determine how to meet those costs. This information is valuable beyond your application. In fact, it should be the reason for your application - financial need. Though we will be considering even more. Be sure to save this information. It will be valuable for other scholarship applications, especially if you are applying for an AEMS through the 99s.
It takes a team to get an airplane off the ground, hence why applicants' recommendations must come from another member of the aviation industry. We believe in rising by lifting others and in collaboration over competition, so we added another caveat - a female industry member must provide the recommendation. There are many ways to get involved in the industry and our application will reward the ones who are already engaged in their communities, while providing pathways to new members to join and interact with these communities. For example, Female Aviators Sticking Together (F.A.S.T.) is a group for women who already have at least their PPL. Ladies in Flight Training is for women who are pursuing their PPL, as well as those further along in their training or careers. Lady Aviators is for women intersted in all facets of aviation, not just pilots. The Ninety-Nines are a long-established organization for female pilots with at least a student pilot certificate. Women in Aviation is another primarily chapter-based organization for women in all facets of the industry. Women in Corporate Aviation focuses on, as you can guess, the corporate side of things. These are just some of the groups where you can find mentors, teachers, and lifelong friends.
Last, but not least, the only way to grow the aviation industry, especially for women, is to reach beyond aviation. That is why our essay/video portion includes options such a letter to the editor of your local paper or a video aimed at 12-16 year old young ladies. We need to not only spread our wings, but spread our reach!
We encourage you to consider our intentions that we just discussed as you prepare your application. If you have any questions, please email Christine@oneplanejane.com with the subject: scholarships. Applications are due September 30, 2020.
For a list of scholarship tips, for our applications and others, please see this post.
For a list of other scholarships, please see this post.
Photo credit: Adventure Family Journals and @piloterika