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 two additional scholarships, for a total of four annual awards of $5,000, named after our 2018 luncheon honorees Gina Adams and Trish Gilbert. Learn more about the Women in Aviation Scholarship Luncheon.


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.

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.”