Past Scholarship Recipients
2003 – Michael Scott
Mike received a scholarship in 2003. He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2008 with a degree in Political Science and was selected for Navy pilot training. Mike finished Navy flight training in jets and winged as a Naval Aviator in October 2010. He completed a three-year sea tour flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet with the VFA-105 Gunslingers out of NAS Oceana, VA. While assigned to the Gunslingers, he deployed on the USS Harry S Truman to the Middle East and flew combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He is currently a Lieutenant and an instructor pilot with the Gladiators of VFA-106, teaching students in all variants of the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet.
2003- Richard Valenta
Richard attended Purdue University, graduating in 2009 with a degree in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering. He was commissioned into the US Navy, went to flight school in Corpus Christi, Texas and earned his wings in March of 2012. Richard then attended FA-18 replacement pilot training in San Diego, CA and graduated from there in April of 2014. He is currently assigned to NAS Lemoore, CA as a fleet FA-18 pilot. In addition to flying Hornets, Richard achieved his airline transport pilot certificate and continues to fly general aviation in his spare time.
Sarah graduated Summa Cum Laude from San Jose University’s College of Engineering with a degree in Aviation, Flight Operations and a minor in Business in 2006. After working at NASA Ames Research Center and three general aviation airports in the San Fransisco Bay area, she was hired by Mesa Airlines. She flew as a First Officer on the Dash 8 out of Denver, CO. After she was furloughed, Sarah was awarded an Active Duty Pilot slot with the United States Air Force, through their Officer Training School program where she was a distinguished graduate. She completed military undergraduate pilot training with the highest academic honors in her class and was assigned to fly the RC-135 Rivet Joint out of Offutt AFB, NE. She has since deployed to the Middle East and to Europe. More recently, Sarah earned her Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Oklahoma as well as her civilian Airline Transport Pilot rating, while 8 months pregnant.
2004 – Michael Hames
Michael Hames graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2008 with a degree in Aviation Management with Flight. Michael currently works in the Airport Operations at General Mitchell International Airport,while maintaining his commercial, multi-engine and other flight ratings.
2004 – Brittany Albers
Brittany Albers graduated with an accounting degree from Judson University. Although Brittany did not pursue an aviation career, she continues to fly as a private pilot.
2005 – Ryan Wright
Ryan Wright graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2009 with a B.S. Aeronautical Studies. He served his country for nearly six years in the US Marine Corps where he flew the T-34C Turbo Mentor and T-45C Goshawk. Ryan additionally held Secondary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) / Collateral Billet / Aircraft Maintenance Officer for UH-1Y and AH-1W Helicopters. In 2015 he completed his Master’s Degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide / Master of Aeronautical Science (MAS) specializing in Aviation/Airport Management. Ryan is a Certified Flight Instructor/Gold Seal and ATP with type ratings for the A320 and Saab 340. and currently flies for Silver Airways LLC out of Tampa, Florida where he lives with wife Danielle, and two loving dogs Sunshine & Shadow. Ryan plans to fly for Delta, Southwest or United Airlines.
2005 – Kevin Carney
Kevin Carney graduated from Bridgewater State College in Aviation Science in 2008. He currently works as a crew scheduler at American Eagles Airlines and is currently involved in the process to update those functions to comply with the FAR 117 changes.
2006- Courtney Vidt
Courtney Vidt received a scholarship in 2006. She graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 2011, where she followed in Leroy’s footsteps and was a Soaring Instructor Pilot for the Academy’s glider program. Courtney attended Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) at Vance AFB, in Oklahoma and received her Pilot Wings in February 2013. She was selected to become a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP) in the T-1A Jayhawk, instructing students who will go on and fly airlift and tanker aircraft. Courtney recently pinned on Captain and is currently the Executive Officer for the 71st Operations Group while also instructing with the 3 FTS. She is an active member of various aviation related organizations including the Daedalians and Red River Rats, and will find out her follow on assignment fall of 2015.
2007 – Julie Falsken
Julie Falsken graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with degrees in Aviation Business Administration and Aeronautics and minors in Aviation Safety and Air Traffic Control. Julie holds her private glider, single-engine, multi-engine and instrument ratings and still enjoys flying for fun. She currently works at Boeing in Flight Test Operations as a Project Manager supporting current and future Commercial Flight Test Programs. Julie is also working on completing her Master’s Degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management through Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide Campus.
Brittany Smith graduated Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, majoring in Aeronautical Science with a concentration in Airline Pilot and minors in Air Traffic Control and Business Administration. She interned with American Airlines in the Flight Operations Department and learned about air carrier operations. Brittany is currently working at ExpressJet Airlines as a Crew Scheduling Supervisor in the OSC. Currently, she is planning for her wedding in October and plans to get back in the air soon. .
2009 – Joshua Mech
Josh Mech graduated Southern Illinois University with a degree in Aviation Flight and Aviation Management in 2012 completing the four year program in only 2 1/2 years. Josh worked as a CFI for SIU while completing his degree. He has flown for SeaPort Airlines to fly both the Pilatus PC-12/45 and Cessna Caravan. In August 2013, Josh became the youngest captain in SeaPort history. He has since flown for ExpressJet and Compass Airlines on the Embraer 175 regional jet. Josh recently began flying for Delta Airlines. Josh was a NIFA competitor and he continues to enjoy instructing flight students on the side when he has time.
2010 – Michael Hull
Michael Hull graduated Middle Georgia College’s Aviation campus earning a business degree in Aviation Management. He is a Certified Flight Instructor training to obtain his Instrument CFI certificate. Michael presently flies C-17 for the U.S. Air Force.
2011 – Vishra Patel
Vishra Patel recently graduated Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Prescott) with degrees in Aviation Business Administration and Global Business with a minor in Economics. She earned her private pilot license at the age of 17. Her studies with ERAU included international study in Paris and Singapore. Vishra is currently seeking opportunities in marketing and sales, airport operations and planning while completing a graduate degree at ERAU Daytona Beach.
Rick completed his PPL, graduated from Eagle Valley High School and recently graduated Metropolitan State University in Denver to major in Aviation and Aerospace Management with a minor in Business. Rick has been working toward completing his instrument rating and flies when he gets the chance.
2013 – Nathan Sanders
Nathan completed his Private Pilot License on August 27th, LeRoy’s birthday. Nathan is currently a Cadet Second Class at the United States Air Force Academy where he is a member of the Cadet Drum and Bugle Corps.
Jose completed his Private Pilot License in April 2015, attended the USAFA Prep School and is presently attending the United States Air Force Academy.
2016 – Niyah Harris