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2015 AOPA Flight Training Scholarship winners announced

Twenty-four individuals have been selected as winners of the 2015 AOPA Flight Training Scholarships, a program designed to help aviation trainees of all ages earn a pilot certificate. The scholarships are funded by donations to the AOPA Foundation.

The winners, who included 10 female aviators, three helicopter pilots-in-training, 11 high-school and college-aged student pilots, and one recipient in her sixties, will receive grants ranging from $2,500 to $12,000.

The 2015 recipients were selected from an initial applicant pool of more than 700 that was narrowed down to 36 finalists, then 24 winners, by a review team of AOPA staff members who included flight instructors and student pilots.

"We recognize that the cost of learning to fly can sometimes be a barrier for student pilots," said Stephanie Kenyon, AOPA Foundation vice president. "And with generous contributions to the AOPA Foundation, our donors are helping us provide scholarships to these deserving, aspiring pilots."

The AOPA Flight Training Scholarship program launched in 2011 with a focus on facilitating a positive flight training experience that would encourage student pilots to achieve their goals. By helping to produce new pilots, the scholarship program also strives to ensure general aviation’s future, with scholarship recipients serving as ambassadors for GA and flight training on a grass-roots level.

Four awards were made in the program’s first year. Its growth to 24 scholarship awards in 2015 was made possible by the generous donations of organizations and individuals: the Blackburn Flight Scholarships, the Breitling Aviation Scholarship Fund, the Buddy Flights Scholarship, the Richard R. and Gretchen E. Harper Scholarships in memory of Richard R. Harper, the Noe-Singer Flight Training Scholarship, the Erral Lea Plymate Memorial Endowment Scholarships, the Gina Santori Flight Training Scholarship, the Richard Santori Memorial Scholarship, and the Ceci Stratford Flight Training Scholarship.

$5,000 Blackburn Flight Scholarships

  • Noah Brands, Vancouver, Washington
  • Malia Johnson, Monmouth, Oregon

$5,000 Breitling Aviation Scholarships

  • Diane Abela, New York, New York
  • Matthew Ehrlein, Franklin Square, New York
  • Stacey Hales, Wichita, Kansas
  • Frederick Hoffer, Douglas, Massachusetts
  • Trenton Jensen, Bountiful, Utah
  • Charlotte Kaber, Sherman Oaks, California
  • Mindy Nye, Los Angeles, California
  • Thomas Quirk, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Sandra Urias, Lake  Hughes, California
  • Desiree Whittington, Steeles Tavern, Virginia

$7,000 Buddy Flights Scholarship

  • Connor Frank, East Lansing, Michigan

$5,000 Richard R. and Gretchen E. Harper Scholarships

  • Chase Burnes, Rome, Georgia
  • Robert Rolley, Youngstown, Ohio

$12,000 Noe-Singer Flight Training Scholarship

  • Isaac Wilson, Ramah, New Mexico

$2,500 Erral Lea Plymate Memorial Endowment Scholarships

  • David Chuke, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois
  • Abby Devarennes, Davis, California
  • Stephen Gilmer, Chicago, Illinois
  • Brock Longley, New London, North Carolina
  • Xaleon Shields, Ellenwood, Georgia

$5,000 Gina Santori Flight Training Scholarship

  • Shirleen Bergren, Suffolk, Virginia

$5,000 Richard Santori Memorial Scholarship

  • Zachary Huffman, Muncie, Indiana

$7,000 Ceci Stratford Flight Training Scholarship

  • Genevieve Zasada, Honolulu, Hawaii
Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: AOPA Foundation, Giving, Scholarship

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