March 20, 2018
Though they are 2,000 miles apart, non-profit organizations Liftoff Learning and I Hart Flying Foundation are teaming up for a “Scholarship Showdown” – a joint scholarship campaign developed to bring attention to gender and diversity gaps in aviation.
Through a friendly East Coast-West Coast competition, the groups are offering flight scholarships over a six-week themed “scholarship showdown” social media campaign. Each organization has published criteria and application details on their websites, with final recipients to be selected in April or May, and flight training to follow shortly after.
Virginia-based Liftoff Learning provides students, educators and local communities with the resources to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers through mentorship and educational enrichment programs based on the concepts of aviation. California-based I Hart Flying Foundation assists young women in achieving their aviation goals through the awarding of flight training scholarships.
“Women and minorities make up a disproportionately small percentage of the pilot population worldwide,” said Jordan Ambers, a co-founder of Liftoff Learning. “The industry needs more pilots to keep commercial airline routes active, and the general aviation community will benefit greatly from getting more women and minorities involved as a means to help keep GA healthy for future generations.”
Rachelle Spector, founder of I Hart Flying, explained how social media is the preferred medium for the prime demographic the two organizations wish to target during the six-week showdown.
“Women occupy less than 6 percent of the pilot population worldwide. This statistic is staggering and unacceptable,” she said. “We will be utilizing social media primarily as it has become the most influential platform to engage with various generations, especially with millennials. We also decided to use raw, organic and fun videos to engage our followers and fans by exposing our audience to the need for a new generation in aviation while showing how fun it is to be involved.”
Combined, both organizations expect more than 300 scholarship applications by April 20. The Scholarship Showdown has secured several key industry partners including EAA, Bose Corporation, JetAviva, Qualitas and Aviation Life clothing.