Minnesota State University-Mankato Student Receives Scholarship Sponsored by Aviation Trades Group

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following essay was written by Minnesota State University-Mankato student, Caitlyn Brady, in applying for a scholarship sponsored by the Minnesota Aviation Trades Association. Brady was chosen among eight candidates to receive the scholarship.

An Aviation Scholarship Essay

by Caitlyn Brady

My name is Caitlyn Brady and I am currently an instrument rated private pilot. Growing up a military brat, our family moved a lot and I have been on more airplanes than I can remember. I always felt a sense of comfort at the airports we visited, even if they were in different countries. Twelve-plus hour flights seemed like an inconvenience to others, but I was always excited to board the plane and look out the window. The power of these huge planes always made takeoffs and landings my favorite part of the flights. My dream is to be the pilot flying these incredible airplanes.

Living in Alaska half of my life, we often flew with Alaska Airlines. The Boeing 737s were my favorite planes because they were powerful and could make it out of Alaska’s weather seemingly effortlessly. My final career aspiration is to be a captain for Alaska Airlines, and then work for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) after I have reached the maximum allowed retirement age to fly professionally.

I have high career aspirations of becoming an airline pilot, but it has not come without obstacles.

I believe that I should receive this scholarship because the financial support would help me to reach my goal of becoming an airline pilot.

I cannot say that I do not have any support because I do. My parents have supported my dream of flying in more ways than just financially. They did pay for my private pilot flight training; however, the rest is on me. The only scholarship I have received was a $1,000 scholarship from North Star Aviation, the airport I received my training from. The rest of my flight training is paid through student loans. In my opinion, it is worth it, but financial help would ease the worry of how much money I spend every time I jump into the airplane with my instructor, as well as pay back my loans.

Growing up with my dad being a flight engineer in the Air Force, I learned to not give up even if you reach obstacles in your life. The cost of flight training is one of my obstacles, but I won’t let it hold me back.

I took a big step of moving out of my home state of Alaska to benefit from the safer and more cost-effective flight training at Minnesota State University (MSU).

The transition in moving here and living by myself has been a great one. I keep busy by immersing myself in aviation-related activities. Last year I was chosen as treasurer of MSU’s Women in Aviation, International (WAI) chapter, as well as a member of the Aviation Club. I have now been selected president for the upcoming school year.

I attend almost all WAI meetings and leadership meetings as an officer, as well as the tours and trips we put together. This year I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 WAI Conference, which was a great experience! I hope to attend every year because I learned so much and met so many prospective employers in just three days. The next step in my aviation involvement is to join the MSU flight team, when I am able to make the time with all of my school activities.

On top of keeping a minimum 3.0 GPA while taking more than a full load of classes, I have been an MSU Football and Basketball Cheerleader and a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority the last two years.

With aviation being a major part of my life, I immerse it in everything I do. Last semester I was my sorority’s Recognized Student Organization Collaborator, so naturally I set up an event with my sorority meeting with some members of my WAI club. My sorority had very interesting questions for us and a few lucky girls got to fly with a certified flight instructor who was an officer of WAI.

Being a cheerleader and a member of my sorority, I am happy to say I have had many community service opportunities. Even with my busy schedule every semester, I make time to put in at least 20 hours of community service ranging from RPM Children’s Play therapy fundraisers and highway cleanup, to volunteering with the local Girl and Boy Scouts. In the upcoming year, I was chosen to be philanthropy chair of my sorority. I am excited to play a bigger part in planning our various philanthropy events.

In contrast to the community service I do, I also make time to educate myself more in aviation. I was awarded my Basic FAA Safety Wings this last semester, and I am planning on continuing my FAA Safety Team education throughout my flying career.

Safety in my flying career is extremely important to me. I read several books, other than used for training, to further my aviation knowledge that will help me be a better pilot. In the future, I hope to be able to attend Minnesota ACE Camp as a counselor. I believe it is important to give back and try to spark an interest in aviation among young kids.

For the last two years, I have helped set up Aviation Day, as well, and work at the event. It is very rewarding being able to share aviation with the local Boy Scout troop, but I hope to one day do more.

My next step in my flight training is my commercial pilot license. Even though I did enjoy instrument training, I am excited to learn more maneuvers and take my flying to the next level. Once I have completed my commercial license and multi-engine training, I plan on getting all the ratings to be a certified flight instructor. I plan on working as a flight instructor to build my hours and learn more through teaching students, before working for a regional airline. I have a lot to learn and a long road ahead before I am able to fly professionally for a major airline.

Thank you for taking the time to read my essay, and I hope to hear from you soon!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Congratulations, Caitlyn, on being selected to receive the MATA Scholarship for 2015.

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