Sheltair Aviation, a leading aviation services company, and Avfuel Corporation, the leading independent supplier of aviation fuel and services, announce the six recipients of the annual Sheltair & Avfuel: Future Takes Flight Scholarship.
For the second year in a row, this scholarship program provided $5,000 to six people dedicated to business aviation. The 2023 scholarship class includes Lei Huot of St. Augustine, Florida; Joel Mink of Florence, Kentucky; Justin Hernandez of Milford, Pennsylvania; Katrina Kienitz of Oceanside, California; Bailey Pollard of Columbus, Ohio; and Kyle Keyser of Denver, Colorado.
The scholarships are to be used to further their aviation education within the business aviation sector, specifically for learning to fly or an advanced pilot rating, for aviation technician training, or for continuing education.
Lisa Holland, Sheltair’s president, said: “What a privilege it is to again support such passionate aviators, thereby re-investing in the business aviation community that has given our operations so much. We congratulate the 2023 scholarship class and wish them all the best as they pursue a greater commitment to business aviation.”
Joel Hirst, Avfuel’s senior vice president of sales, said: “Business aviation is a special space—it provides our world with unmatched connectivity and fuels our economies. It is our distinct honor to give back to the business aviation industry by partnering with Sheltair on this scholarship program. We are thankful to the many applicants who expressed their commitment to business aviation and congratulate the six recipients of this year’s scholarships.”
The next round of applications will be made available in December with a June 1 deadline. A team of Avfuel and Sheltair executives will then evaluate the applications to select 2024’s six recipients based on essay submissions and with special consideration given to those facing financial hardship. The third scholarship class will be announced at NBAA-BACE 2024.
Get to Know the Second Annual Scholarship Class
Bailey Pollard, Learning to Fly or Advanced Pilot Ratings: Pollard will use her scholarship money to obtain her instrument rating and commercial license, furthering her career while inspiring the next generation of women in aviation.
“It is truly an honor to be awarded the Sheltair & Avfuel: Future Takes Flight Scholarship,” said Pollard. “Receiving this scholarship will allow me to continue and complete my instrument rating after putting it on hold for a few years … this opportunity is putting me one step closer to having my dream become a reality!
“As a woman in aviation, I aim to inspire and drive the next generation of women pilots. I participate in the 99’s organization and Women in Aviation events …. I travel throughout the country to different universities, sharing my story, and teaching others about the incredible opportunities and excitement of a career in aviation. If it were not for the people who have shown me the world of aviation, I would not be here today. It will take a collaborative effort from the general aviation community, corporations, airlines, training facilities, and individuals to help more women succeed in aviation. I am up for this challenge and plan on playing my part through devoting my career to helping women get involved and succeed in aviation.”
Kyle Keyser, Learning to Fly or Advanced Pilot Ratings: Similarly, Keyser will use his scholarship funds to earn his instrument rating with the ultimate goal of pursuing a career in aerial firefighting.
“Simply put, I want to be a useful member of my community and country,” said Keyser. “I want to give my time and hard work to a valuable career. I believe aerial firefighting is a way for me to give back and do something challenging and fulfilling.
“Eventually, I hope to fly the lead planes that direct the air tankers where to drop their retardant or the highly coveted single engine air tankers (SEATs). Any role in this field of general aviation would be immensely interesting to me and I would love to fly above the fireline supporting the brave men and women working on the ground.”
Lei Huot, Aviation Technicians: Huot will put her scholarship toward tuition at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University where she is majoring in aviation maintenance science with minors in aviation line maintenance and computer science, as well as an area of concentration in avionics cyber technology and security.
“My overall goal is to work on jet aircraft,” said Huot, “and I would be honored if, at some point in the future, I was also offered an opportunity to maintain military aircraft, as my grandfather did. It would be a privilege and challenge I would eagerly accept.
“When I was notified of being awarded the Sheltair & Avfuel: Future Takes Flight Scholarship, I was ecstatic! …. I know my grandfather would be just as excited for me, knowing that I’ve received the support to accomplish my goals and be afforded the opportunity to do something that I love. Thank you, Sheltair & Avfuel, for such a generous award. I am so grateful and appreciative of the scholarship committee and the team there! You have all made a significant impact on my future and I can’t thank you enough.”
Joel Mink, Aviation Technicians: Mink will also use his scholarship for tuition to earn his FAA Airframe & Powerplant certifications with the ultimate goal of becoming an aviation maintenance technician.
“I have put 100% of my heart and soul into learning about aviation ever since my first flight at an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles fly-in event,” said Mink. “I was amazed by all the gauges, and I wanted to know what each one was and how it made the plane fly …. This experience sparked a desire inside me to learn how each of the various aircraft systems operate, which has developed into my career goal of becoming an aviation maintenance technician (AMT).”
Justin Hernandez, Continuing Education: Hernandez plans to use his scholarship toward flight school.
“It is an honor to have been chosen for the Sheltair & Avfuel: Future Takes Flight Scholarship Program,” said Hernandez. “I am currently a freshman at Bridgewater State University majoring in aviation/piloting; I also play football here at BSU. When I’m not studying or playing football, I’m working part time at a local food shop …. I’m sincerely grateful for this scholarship as it will allow me the opportunity to focus more of my time on my studies. Thank you for your support.”
Katrina Kienitz, Continuing Education: Kienitz will use her scholarship toward a degree in aviation management with the ultimate goal of becoming a customer service manager at an FBO.
“I have tried a lot of career paths, but they have all led me back to general aviation,” said Kienitz. “Having always sought out work with purpose, I see first-hand how my work in general aviation directly contributes to my colleagues’ success, and the passengers and crews’ experiences. Not only do I find working in general aviation extremely satisfying, I believe it is in my bones. I have walked into walls, cars and tripped off the sidewalk craning my neck to catch sight of anything I hear fly over. I get a rush of excitement when I can correctly identify an aircraft or use my skills to find it on ADSB and locate its registration information.
ABOUT AVFUEL CORPORATION
Avfuel provides fuel and services—including sustainable fuel and initiatives—to the global aviation industry and is the leading independent supplier in the United States. Established as a supply and logistics company 50 years ago, Avfuel is core competent in every aspect that surrounds the delivery of fuel—from refinery to wingtip. Avfuel combines global access with personalized service throughout a fueling network of more than 3,500 locations worldwide and 675+ Avfuel-branded FBOs. Our 100% dedication to aviation demonstrates our passion and commitment to a global community that prospers on the movement of goods and services around the world.
Sheltair is a family-owned company that enjoys a national reputation for its superior customer focus and service-driven corporate culture. Founded in 1963 by Jerry Holland, father of current Sheltair President Lisa Holland, it is the nation’s largest privately-owned aviation network, proudly operating 16 award-winning FBOs and a portfolio of over 4.5 million square feet of aviation-related properties under the mission of Family First. Fuel, Build, Serve.
Avfuel Corporation: Marci Ammerman, Vice President Marketing, 734-663-6466, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.avfuel.com, facebook.com/avfuel, twitter.com/avfuel, linkedin.com/company/avfuel-corporation, instagram.com/avfuel
Sheltair: Connor Fichtner, Director of Marketing, 954-771-2210, email@example.com, sheltairaviation.com, facebook.com/SheltairAviation, twitter.com/sheltair, linkedin.com/company/sheltair/, instagram.com/sheltairaviation/