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Young Girls Soar in Aviation

By Abigail Oleniczak

  • Young Girls Soar in Aviation
    Women Soar You Soar participants show off their NASA tattoos.
  • Young Girls Soar in Aviation
    Women Soar You Soar participants pose with fighter pilot Lt. Gen. Stayce Harris.
  • Young Girls Soar in Aviation
    Women Soar You Soar participants look at the Super Cubs on the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh grounds.

July 26, 2018 - The Women Soar You Soar day camp that takes place during the week of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh has engaged many young women over the past 14 years. This impactful camp includes many airplane discussions, informational seminars, and for some, a Ford Tri-Motor ride or a seaplane ride.

Women Soar You Soar first started encouraging young women in 2004. The camp is for high school students who must apply for the program online. The hope of the program is to increase the number of female pilots, which currently is only 6 percent in the United States.

Emma Moore, 15, from Michigan, heard about the camp from her dad, who has been attending EAA Air Venture Oshkosh for years. This is her first time attending. Emma said she decided to participate in the camp because she wanted to learn more about aviation and possible career paths. She said the mentor sessions were a highlight because she appreciated the time spent discussing her future, which she now believes will be in flight.

Another aspiring pilot, Sally Debaun, 15, is from Indiana. She found out about Women Soar You Soar on the EAA website, applied, and was very excited to attend for the first time. Sally said she dreams of possibly becoming an airline pilot or an aviation journalist. She decided to attend to get more familiar with airplanes and investigate other jobs in aviation. “Being at this camp is an eye-opener in aviation, and there are so many different opportunities,” she said. Sally and many other attendees found the scholarship seminar to be very informational.

Sarah Benish, a five-year attendee of the program, is currently a scientist onboard a research aircraft that collects air pollution samples. “Women Soar You Soar provided me with a strong mentor network across the nation in aviation-related fields,” she said. “I also earned my private pilot’s license in 2015, something I likely would not have done without the encouragement and support of Women Soar You Soar.”

The mentors impact girls well beyond the four-day camp.

“Insert your passion in your future” is Nancy Lawrence’s motto for young girls. Nancy has been a mentor for the Women Soar You Soar program for 10 years. She keeps coming back to volunteer each year because she knows how important it is to prepare young girls for their college experience. She said it makes her happy to see girls pursue careers in aviation.

Editor’s note: Abigail Oleniczak, 15, attended Women Soar You Soar for the first time at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018.

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