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.
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.
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.