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EAA Member Honored With Wright Trophy

  • Barbara Walters Phillips
    Courtesy of Barbara Walters-Phillips

December 5, 2019 - The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is proud to announce that Barbara Walters-Phillips, EAA Lifetime 316261, has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 Katharine Wright Trophy. The trophy was established in 1981 and is awarded annually to an individual who "has contributed to the success of others or made a personal contribution to the advancement of the art, sport, and science of aviation and space flight over an extended period of time."

Walters-Phillips is being recognized for "her career and contributions as a pilot, mentor, community advocate, and educator" and "inspiring countless youth and fellow teachers with her aviation education programs."

While attending the National Congress on Aviation and Space Education (NCASE) in 1986, Walters-Phillips was inspired to integrate aerospace education into her fifth-grade classroom curriculum. After receiving the Eleanor Roosevelt Grant from the American Association of University Women, she created "Aviation Invasion," an aerospace program designed to motivate middle school girls towards math and science careers. The program quickly expanded, and Walters-Phillips brought her workshops, classes, and "first flight" experiences to thousands of students and teachers across the country.

Since 1992, Walters-Phillips has worked with EAA Chapter 74 in Orlando and the Orlando Youth Aviation Center to reach out to all youth and help them learn about aviation careers and the school subjects needed to attain them. After completing the aviation curriculum developed by Walters-Phillips, the "Introduction to Aviation" students prepare a flight plan and fly a mini cross-country flight to three local airports. This program has provided hundreds of young people with the opportunity to see their world from the sky.

Identifying a need to involve young people in the Lakeland SUN 'n FUN air show program, Walters-Phillips started the first aviation summer camp, "Destination Aviation," for students at the Florida Aviation Museum in 2000. She is also the chairman of the SUN 'n FUN Aerospace Educators' Workshop and has conducted this program for thousands of teachers in the last 27 years.

Walters-Phillips is credited with integrating the Civil Air Patrol's Aerospace Connections in Education (CAP ACE) program into the Orange County, Florida, school system. She served as the director of the 2011 National CAP ACE lift-off event, bringing together the school system, aviation industry, and community to inspire more than 750 at-risk youths towards a better future using aviation and STEM.

Over the course of her career, Walters-Phillips has received more than 20 awards and recognitions for her work, including the 1994 national A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Teacher of the Year Award and the 2011 Air Force Association National Medal of Merit for Aerospace Education. In 2018, she was named Teacher of the Year at Cheney Elementary School. She then transferred to Rosemont Elementary, where she continues to inspire and motivate at-risk students with her lifelong passion for aerospace.

The Katharine Wright Trophy will be presented at the NAA Fall Awards Ceremony at a date and location to be determined. For more information or to view a complete list of previous recipients, please visit www.naa.aero.

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