We are proud to announce the winners of this year’s scholarships, which were awarded this weekend at the Women in Aviation International Conference in Reno, NV.
The 2018 and 5th Annual LT Valerie Cappelaere Delaney Memorial Scholarship:
Winner ($5,000) – LT La’Shanda Holmes is a helicopter pilot for the US Coast Guard stationed in Miami, FL. She overcame a challenging childhood after losing her mother at an early age and being placed into the foster care system to joining the Coast Guard and becoming their first African American female helicopter pilot. In La’Shanda’s own words, “I am fearless, I work hard, I love aviation, I love serving my country and I’ve had an impact on communities at the state and national level.” She will be using the scholarship money towards achieving her fixed wing multi-engine rating.
Finalist #1 ($2,000) Alexandra Kemp is from Atlanta, GA and has ambitions of pursuing a career in the aerospace industry. She currently works in healthcare, has volunteer and intern experiences with NASA and other aviation related companies and was recently accepted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to complete her Master of Science in Aeronautics and Space Studies. She ultimately hopes to work towards her private pilot license and to eventually obtain her PhD in Human Factors Psychology so that she can work in the aerospace industry doing research and making strides for humans to go to Mars. According to Alexandra in her application essay, “Similar to Valerie, both of us have the same passion for aviation, aerospace, singing, and even the French language! I believe that we all make our own paths and mine has just begun. Valerie was an unstoppable person, she set high goals for herself and never backed out because something got too intense or fearful of the unknown, I aspire to be more like that. It is my dream to be able to fly and pursue my private pilot license. I hope that by obtaining my license I can eventually give back to the aviation community what it has given to me.”
Finalist #2 ($2,000) Lea Van Den Brink is a French Citizen of Dutch descent who has ambitions of enlisting in the French Air Force as a pilot . In her application essay, Lea writes, “After high school, flying appeared the obvious choice about what I wanted to do with my life. Lacking self confidence, flying deeply changed my way of looking at things. It makes me feel stronger, more able to deal with every day’s problems, and people. My wish today is to enlist in the French Air Force as a pilot. I have a long way to go and Wings for Val can definitely help me out… Very much as Valérie has accomplished in the US, I wish to carve my way into a flying career, no matter how strong the masculine legacy is in France. As a reservist in the French Air Force, I have already seen how much a dedicated young woman can help and take part in a common effort. Risk, responsibilities, challenges, both physical and mental, do not scare me – They motivate me.”
The 2018 and 1st Annual CPT Sara Knutson Cullen Memorial Scholarship:
Winner ($2,000) – Madison Warner of Salt Lake City, UT is a Firefighter and Canine Search Specialist working on her helicopter flight training so she can pursue a pilot career as an EMS or fire pilot. From her scholarship essay, Madison writes, “Every morning I ask myself, how can I serve this world? Because I have known two things in this life, I love to fly and I love to serve others. Upon the diagnosis that my eyesight was not up to military flight standards, I was not about to let that be final say in my aviation ambitions and I began to seek service in other ways… This scholarship will bring me to the collective of my career path, to allow me to begin to elevate myself to the true service I wish to provide.”
Elyse Cosgrove is a storyteller passionate about documenting life experiences, human connection and emotions through photo and video. She lives in the DC area and started her own photography/videography business Elysees Eye Productions, LLC. Elyse expressed interest in using drones for her photography work because she believes, “it can be a major support in helping to tell beautiful and important stories in new ways – and broaden peoples perspectives on their own city, state and even the world.” Inspired by her husband’s grandfathers who have served the military, she hopes to use this scholarship and training, “to become a part of the DC drone community and to help our government and other supporting businesses create powerful imagery that can create change.”
Eleanor Kay is a high school student in Maryland who has been honing in her photography skills as a volunteer with Images for Good. According to Eleanor in her application, “Drones allow us to gain new perspectives and see things from different angles, which is not only good for photography, but for life and finding new ways to help others… This would be an amazing opportunity for me not only to bring my dream of owning a drone to life, but also to combine this new technology into a form of assisting others that helps give me valuable service and job skills that I can pass on to other students I mentor with Images for Good.”