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AOPA awards $1.1 million to 2021 scholarship winners

The AOPA Foundation has awarded more than $1.1 million to 124 scholarship recipients—high school students and teachers, aspiring pilots, pilots in training, and pilots pursuing advanced ratings.

This marks the most funds the AOPA Foundation has distributed through scholarships in one year. Since 2012, the AOPA Foundation has awarded nearly $4 million in scholarships.

“We are thrilled with our generous donors and the impact they are making for these scholarship winners,” said AOPA Foundation Executive Director Melissa Rudinger. “High schoolers are able to get an early start in aviation, aviation teachers can gain a better understanding of the material they teach by learning to fly, others can continue their primary training, and already certificated pilots can work on higher ratings and certificates.”

The Ray Foundation, established by late aviator, philanthropist, and entrepreneur James C. Ray, donated $1 million for 80 high school students and 20 high school teachers to pursue a pilot certificate. Through generous donations from other individuals and organizations, more than $86,000 was earmarked for 19 primary flight training scholarships and more than $25,000 for five advanced flight training scholarships.

The AOPA High School Flight Training Scholarship, AOPA Teacher Flight Training Scholarship, and AOPA Primary Flight Training Scholarship provide funds for winners to apply toward training for their private, sport, or recreational pilot certificate. The AOPA Advanced Rating Scholarship provides funds for the instrument rating; commercial pilot certificate; and flight instructor, instrument instructor, and multiengine instructor certificates.

This year’s scholarship winners included a diverse group of pilots and future pilots, ranging in age from 15 to 62. More than 40 percent of the recipients are women, and more than 20 percent are people of color.

The scholarship program is one way the AOPA Foundation is helping to create a stronger, safer pilot community. In addition to scholarships, generous donations to the AOPA Foundation also fund the AOPA Air Safety Institute, which provides free safety programming for pilots, and the You Can Fly program, which offers aviation high school curriculum to schools free of charge, helps start flying clubs, works to improve the flight training experience, and helps rusty pilots return to the air.

Congratulations to the 2021 scholarship winners.

Abhiram Kottapalli Adele Basturk Aidan Stephan Alexis Kuyoth  Allison Schlotthauer
Alondra Lopez Alyssa Bodwin Amisha Battacharya Andrew Tejada Andrew Maciejewski
Andrew Markel Anukkah Burleson Ari Miller Atticus Bhat Audrey Fuller
Bredley McWilliams Breanna Booth Brody Hammond  Byson Witaker Cadence Bomgardner
Caleb French Casey Raymond Claudia Betten    

Curtis Merrill David Fayle Dominic Mastromatteo Dustin Mock Eduard Shvyryd Elias Kishelev
Emma Reed Entse Hsieh Eshan Kulkarni Ezra West Gianni Fowlds Grant Lamouree
Heath Masingale Henry McKinnon Jack Gray Jacob Sykora Jayden Davis Jeremy Blackman
Jillian Essig Joel Mink John Lindgren Katherine Aldridge Katherine McKinney Lauren Kimball
Lilian Shen Logan Murphy Lucius Sinsigalli      

Lukas Kleinfeldt Luke Moitoza Maddie Skatrud Mahalia Phillips Malcolm Cooksy Maren Ritterbuck
Mariya-Aleksandr Wellner Mateo Reyes Matthew Sparling Matthew Romines Max Martin Michael Gasper
Mitchell Montgomery Molly Mitchell Nicolas Pinal Nilah Williamson Noah Burnham Rachel Jensen
Samuel Bennett Sanmathi Priya Abiram Lakshmi Devi Sean Koller Sean Littleton Simone Moulton Sophie Burkhardt
Sydney Whisler Tavian Williams Troy Ettenson Wesley Yuen    

Amanda Woodward Chris George Cindy Bednara Cynthia Martin Darrin Vensil Doug Adomatis
Emily Jordan Galen Wilson Jaime Luque Jeremaiah Bernardis Jim Greene John Horvath
Joseph Riddensdale Mark Thomas Michael Halpern Raymonnd Gonzalez Robert McLellan Trevor Scott
Vicki Wilson William Holman        

Abiodun Awosanya C'Andre Codner Caden Brooks Carter Collier DavenHorne Diana Alberto Franco
Garett Griner Heather Lohse Logan Daniels Lyra Young Megan Laubhan Nicholas Reyes
Peyton Watsek Riley Combs Taylor Pemberton Thomas Botkin Tifsit Teferra Timothy Pope
Yorhara Costa          

Fernanda Bertoldi Holly Csazar Lauren Franks Margaret Potkey Matthew Grunenwald  
Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

The former senior director of digital media, Alyssa J. Cobb was on the AOPA staff from 2004 until 2023. She is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and two children. Alyssa also hosts the weekly Fly with AOPA show on the AOPA Pilot Video YouTube channel.
Topics: AOPA Foundation, You Can Fly, Scholarship

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