High school student Ty’Niyah Harris received a lift from AOPA’s Women in Aviation International Chapter March 10—a $3,000 scholarship to help her pursue her flight training dreams. AOPA Pilot Community Development Coordinator Meghan McCutcheon presented Harris with the award during a social at the 2016 Annual International WAI Conference in Nashville.
Harris soloed a Diamond DA20 Katana on July 18, 2015, and hopes to become a professional pilot.
“Flying has opened a whole new world for me,” Harris wrote in her scholarship application. “I have wanted to become a pilot ever since my first introductory flight at the age of 13. Learning to fly has boosted my self-confidence.”
Harris said most of her aviation accomplishments, which include three hours of time in a 757/767 simulator, have been financed through scholarship and mentorship programs. The Georgia teen is enrolled in the Centennial Aviation Academy—The Flight Academy for Young Aviators, and completed the Tuskegee Airmen Aviation Career Training Program in the summer of 2014, participated in multiple summer programs through the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals Atlanta ACE Academy, and received simulator training from Flight Safety International.
An active member of the Atlanta “Gone with the Wind” Women in Aviation International Chapter, Harris helped the chapter membership grow by 41 percent in one year through her social media outreach efforts, according to chapter president Becca Friesen.
Sharing the passion for aviation is one of Harris’s goals. The 17-year-old launched a Facebook page, “Niyah’s World—The Status Quo Won’t Fly,” to “be an advocate for aviation, empower people through technology, and help improve the lives of others through community service.”
“Every time you share your experiences, whether that means telling people about flying or inviting them out to the airport to look around, you are giving those people a chance to fall in love with aviation,” she wrote. “And that’s what I have set out to do!”
With the scholarship, AOPA is helping Harris get closer to accomplishing her flight training goals and sharing the love of aviation along the way.