AAAE Women in Aviation Scholarship

In late 2015, AAAE established the Women in Aviation Scholarship program, to be given each year to a female college or university undergraduate student with a junior class standing or above or a graduate student, who is enrolled in an aviation program and has a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Eligibility is unrelated to membership in AAAE.

In May of 2016, at AAAE’s 88th Annual Conference and Exposition in Houston, Texas, Ms. Leonia Hunt of the Florida Institute of Technology was presented as the first recipient of the Women in Aviation scholarship.

In 2017, AAAE held the inaugural Women in Aviation Scholarship Luncheon which raised enough funds to award a second $5,000 Women in Aviation Scholarship in perpetuity, named after our 2017 honoree, Linda Hall Daschle.  In 2018, the Foundation established three additional scholarships, for a total of five annual awards of $5,000, named after our 2018 luncheon honorees Gina Adams and Trish Gilbert and longtime AAAE member and supporter of higher education and mentoring, Claudia B. Holliway. 

Learn More:

Linda Hall Daschle | 2017 Honoree

Linda is President of LHD & Associates, Inc., a woman-owned business specializing in federal transportation public policy matters. Linda was nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Deputy Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and also served as Acting Administrator. While her 35-year career has largely been devoted to aviation, she has been involved with numerous not-for-profit organizations, including N Street Village, Ford’s Theatre and the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Linda is a strong financial supporter of the AAAE Foundation and its scholarship programs.

Gina Adams | 2018 Honoree

Gina Adams is the Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at FedEx Corporation. She is responsible for shaping and promoting the interests of all FedEx Corporation operating companies. Gina works with Administration officials, members of Congress, the diplomatic community and industry associations on domestic and international commerce and transportation issues. She began her career as a lawyer at the U.S. Department of Transportation, joined FedEx in 1992 and is a two-time recipient of the FedEx Five Star Award, the company’s highest employee achievement award. Gina is a strong supporter of education, is extremely active in the Washington, DC community and sits on a number of boards including: American University Board of Governors; Howard University School of Law Board of Visitors; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Town Hall Education Arts & Recreational Campus (THEARC); National Museum of Women in the Arts; and the Economic Club of Washington.

Trish Gilbert | 2018 Honoree

Trish Gilbert has served as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association’s seventh Executive Vice President since she was elected in September 2009, and is the first in NATCA’s history to serve three terms in this role. She is dedicated to committing every day to the NATCA membership, putting aviation safety first as she works to ensure that the air traffic control profession and the National Airspace System are held in the highest regard and function with the greatest integrity. Prior to joining NATCA, she spent twenty-one years as an air traffic controller at the Houston Center. Throughout her career, Trish has held a wide variety of leadership positions within NATCA, including President of the NATCA Charitable Foundation.

Sharon Pinkerton | 2018 Honoree

Sharon Pinkerton was named Senior Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Policy for Airlines for America (A4A) in February 2011, and leads policy development on legislative and regulatory matters, working with Capitol Hill and the administration.  Pinkerton joined A4A as Vice President, Government Affairs in April 2006, where she was responsible for overseeing all aviation-related issues before federal, state and local governments. Before joining A4A, she served as Assistant Administrator for Aviation Policy, Planning and Environment at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Prior to her appointment at FAA, Pinkerton was transportation counsel to House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla.) and served on Capitol Hill for nearly 10 years. She began her professional career at Price Waterhouse.

Claudia B. Holliway | 2018 Honoree

Claudia B. Holliway served as Vice President and National Aviation Business Development Lead for Michael Baker International prior to her passing in 2017. Claudia was a respected leader and mentor in the aviation industry.  She served as one of the first corporate members of the AAAE Board of Directors and as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee, where she mentored students in the early stages of their careers in the aviation industry. She was also a proud member of the Southeast Chapter of AAAE, active in all of the AAAE regional chapters conferences and events and an avid volunteer with AAAE and her community. Claudia received the AAAE Leadership Award in 2017, was twice named the Corporate Member of the Year by the Southeast Chapter of AAAE, received the Georgia Airports Association President’s Award in 2017 and the Society of American Engineers Regional Vice President’s Medal for meritorious service in 2002. 

Leonia Hunt | Florida Institute of Technology
2016 Women in Aviation Scholarship Recipient

“Being awarded the first AAAE Women in Aviation Scholarship was and still is such an amazing honor. Having the support of professionals in the industry is such a rewarding experience that motivates me to do my best in the field, every day.”

Michelle Bassanesi | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University & Hult International Business School
2017 Women in Aviation Scholarship Recipient and 2018 Linda Hall Daschle Women in Aviation Scholarship Recipient

“Thanks to AAAE’s incredible support and this scholarship, I am one significant step further along my pathway towards making a difference in aviation training and therefore aviation safety....Thank you again. I will make you proud.”

Wambui Mburu | Oklahoma State University
2017 Linda Hall Daschle Women in Aviation Scholarship Recipient

“The generosity of the Foundation has helped me get a step closer towards achieving my dream career of becoming an airline pilot. I am very thankful for this scholarship and for the investment that the AAAE Foundation has made in me.”

Kailey Hetzel | Embry-Riddle Aeronatuical University
2018 Women in Aviation Scholarship Recipient

“Receiving this scholarship means so much to me because it will help me continue my education at Embry-Riddle where I am studying what I love….It has been my dream to go into an aviation-related field since I was a little girl, and it is so exciting to see my hopes for the future unfolding before my eyes.”