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AOPA presents first 2018 flight training scholarshipAOPA presents first 2018 flight training scholarship

Active student accepts award at International Women in Aviation conferenceActive student accepts award at International Women in Aviation conference

AOPA presented its first 2018 flight training scholarship to Madelief Schelvis, who is already in the cross-country phase of her training for the private pilot certificate, during the 2018 International Women in Aviation Conference in Reno, Nevada, March 21.

Madelief Schelvis, right, received AOPA's first 2018 fight training scholarship during the 2018 International Women in Aviation Conference. Already in the cross-country phase of her training, she shares her experiences with Kathleen Vasconcelos, left, senior director of development communications for the AOPA Foundation, and Paula Wivell, AOPA’s coordinator of flight operations and dispatch. Photo by Mike Collins.

Through the generosity of donors to the AOPA Foundation, AOPA’s You Can Fly initiative will award more than 40 flight training scholarships during 2018. Applications to this year’s AOPA Foundation Flight Training Scholarship Program and AOPA High School Flight Training Scholarships will be accepted until noon Eastern Daylight Time on May 2.

Kathleen Vasconcelos, senior director of development communications for the AOPA Foundation, and Paula Wivell, AOPA’s coordinator of flight operations and dispatch, presented the $3,000 award to Schelvis during a Women in Aviation chapter social sponsored by AOPA.

Women in Aviation, International—which presents the annual International Women in Aviation Conference—currently has 117 chapters worldwide, including chapters in 17 countries and at 52 colleges and universities, said Molly Martin, WAI outreach director. AOPA hosts a WAI chapter that comprises 50 women and men from around the Frederick, Maryland, area; many of them are AOPA employees.

Schelvis took a private pilot ground school while she was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with a double major in integrative biology and marine sciences. Schelvis is a certified open-water diver.

A longtime student of biology and the marine sciences, she said she has always been interested in birds and how they fly, providing a parallel interest. “The idea of learning to fly was very interesting to me,” Schelvis explained. She’s currently training at the West Valley Flying Club in Palo Alto, California.

“As soon as I took the ground school, I kind of fell in love with the idea,” Schelvis added. While learning to fly started as a hobby for her, she said, a pilot certificate will expand her career choices—allowing her to explore remote areas and conduct aerial population surveys.

“Right now I’m in the cross-country phase,” Schelvis said, and already has passed her FAA knowledge test. “I hope to finish it up in the next few weeks. This will help me finish it up,” she added, clutching the envelope containing her scholarship check.

AOPA is an exhibitor at the 2018 International Women in Aviation Conference in Reno. The exhibit hall closes at 3 p.m. Pacific time on March 24.

Members of Women in Aviation, International mingle at a chapter reception sponsored by AOPA Wednesday evening during the 2018 International Women in Aviation Conference in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Mike Collins.
Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Topics: AOPA, You Can Fly, Women in Aviation International

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