Meet Megan Gerding: she is a college graduate with an eco-tourism/travel degree. “On July 3rd, 2015, my life changed forever. On this day, I took my introductory flight at Sporty’s Academy.”
“I absolutely love aviation; it’s changed not only my career, but everything about my life and how I look at things.” You might think I’m quoting myself, but that actually comes right out of Megan Gerding’s flyGIRL Scholarship application essay.
Throughout the process of choosing our first ever scholarship award winner, I was able to meet with multiple inspiring young ladies. However, one stood out, and that’s why Megan was presented with our award in early May. I could not be any prouder or more excited for her!
Megan credits her life’s passion to one day: July 3, 2015. That’s the first day she took an introductory flight at Sporty’s Academy (flyGIRL’s partner in crime for the scholarship program). Before that day, she was, like many young people, unsure about what she wanted to do with her life.
“I remember walking away from the airport thinking,
‘everything just changed; I want to be a pilot.’” When she first heard about the flyGIRL opportunity, Megan had already earned her Private Pilot’s License. She spent most of her free time (and money) on flight training, even thinking about her paychecks in terms of flights. (“If I sell this account at work, that will equate to 5 flying lessons.”) She was so committed to achieving her dream of flying professionally for airlines, cargo, or a corporation that she had recently quit her full time job to begin training full time. Talk about
Matt, her Private Pilot instructor, wrote a recommendation letter for Megan. In it, he describes her as a determined, attentive, and hard-working student: “Her ability to control the aircraft was never in doubt when we flew together, and I can honestly say she had some of the best landings of any of my students.”
Turning Dreams into Reality – And Inspiring Others to Take Flight
Megan embodies everything flyGIRL is all about. Not only is she pursuing a career in flight, but she wants to give back to others with the same dream, too.
“I would love to give free rides and let people realize how incredible flying is. I would hopefully be able to spark something in them to have the same realization that I had on July 3, 2015.”
That is something to which I can certainly relate!
Putting it to Use
FlyGirl aims to inspire women to pursue their dreams. While aviation can give us confidence to explore the heavens, that exploration has real costs. Flight time means paying for a plane, an instructor and the gas to power the engines. That’s why our scholarship provides $5,000 to aspiring female pilots to help cover some of the various fees associated with becoming a pilot.
So how will Megan be using her flyGIRL award? She’s currently earning her instrument rating training and will use these funds to continue that training, as well as working toward her commercial rating shortly thereafter. I’m confident that it will go to good use: “Megan takes nothing for granted,” Matt told us. “She has a dream to be a professional pilot and does not stray from the path to take her there.”
Where Can Our Dreams Take Us?
People should do things they really love, and I hope that all women can become inspired to pursue their dreams. Becoming a pilot has been a tremendous inspiration to me, and helping other girls follow in my footsteps is a dream come true.
Women currently make up only about 7% of all pilots, but young women like Megan are leading the way for future generations.
Please join me in congratulating Megan, the first ever flyGIRL scholarship winner! You can show your support by sharing this with your friends and family on social media. Also, if you’d like to donate toward our next scholarship winner – whether that’s $1 or $100 – please click here.
You can even consider picking up stylish flyGIRL apparel from our online shop—proceeds will go toward future scholarships. If you have any loved ones working toward a dream, it’s the perfect gift that says, “Go for it!”