Wings for Val Foundation Awards $20,000 in 2020 Scholarships

Wings for Val Foundation Awards $20,000 in 2020 Scholarships

We are happy to announce the winners of this year’s scholarships, four of which were awarded in person at the 2020 Women in Aviation International Conference in Orlando, Florida on March 5 – 7. We will be announcing the winners one at a time over the next several days.

The 2020 and 7th Annual LT Valerie Cappelaere Delaney Memorial Scholarship Winner ($5,000) – Kimberly Westbrook of Pasadena, Maryland.


Kim is an Aerospace Engineer at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.  She is lead engineer of critical hardware integration and test efforts on the Europa Clipper Spacecraft. Having earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland in 2017, Kim is currently working on a Master of Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.  She writes in her application essay, “Receiving this scholarship would help relieve the financial restrictions I’m facing and allow me to complete my Private Pilot’s License as soon as possible so that I may become an aviation mentor and encourage other women to pursue the incredible adventure of flight, just as Valerie has done.” We are excited to say that Kim’s scholarship funds will be paid directly to 1World Aero & Flight Club at Tipton Airport in Fort Meade, MD where she is working on her private pilot’s license in a Tampico aircraft. Congratulations, Kim!


The 2020 and 3rd Annual CPT Sara Knutson Cullen Memorial Scholarship Winner ($5,000) is Christina Rose Dussell of Snohomish, WA!


Rose has worked a variety of jobs with special needs individuals and is skilled in the martial arts of kickboxing and Krav Maga. She earned her fixed wing private pilot’s license in 2014 and has since been training to fly helicopters.  In her application essay, Rose writes, “Since starting Rotary Aircraft I am undeniably hooked on the challenge and the precision it takes to pilot them.”  Having reached her one hundred hour mark in rotary wing flight, she is now in the process of becoming a search and rescue volunteer. Congratulations, Rose! 

The Wings For Val Foundation is pleased to offer this scholarship that honors the legacy of Captain Sara Knutson Cullen, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army who perished on the same day as Val in Afghanistan. Like Val, Sara had a strong faith and positively impacted those around her through her wit and kindness.  Sara’s family chose Rose as the winner of this of scholarship for rotary wing flight training and Sara’s parents, Lynn and Bill Knutson presented the award to Rose in person at the WAI Conference in Orlando, FL in March.


The winner of the 2020 Wings for Val Drone Pilot Training Scholarship in the amount of $5,000 is Aimee Mestre of Indianapolis, Indiana.  Aimee is a Brand Ambassador for the Aviation Institute of Maintenance.  The Wings for Val Foundation has arranged for Aimee to participate in the DART Drones Pilot Training and Test Preparation Program and will pay for her to take the FAA Drone Pilot Exam.  Once she has her Drone Pilot’s License, Wings for Val will purchase her a professional drone with a high-resolution camera.  Aimee plans to volunteer her drone photography skills to the Deep Sea Valkyries organization that provides alternative forms of therapy, such as deep sea diving, to injured Veterans as a method to combat Veteran suicide and enhance lives post-service.  Good luck in your future endeavors, Aimee!

The Wings For Val Foundation received so many amazing applications for our 2020 scholarships that we also awarded $2,500 each to two finalists for the LT Valerie Cappelaere Delaney Memorial Scholarship for fixed wing flight training.

The first finalist is Sara Eagle of Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  Sara is the course director for the United States Special Operations School at Hurlburt Field, Florida.  Sara has her Private Pilot’s License and will use the scholarship funds for further ratings as she joins the Air National Guard with plans to fly the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  Congratulations, Sara!

The second finalist is Rachel Choi of Longview, Texas.  Rachel is a South Korean citizen who is working on a Bachelor of Science degree in Mission Aviation at LeTourneau University in Texas.  Congratulations, Rachel!


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