New Round of Scholarships Offered for LGBTQ Aspiring Aviators

Total funds offered by the National Gay Pilots Association top $500K this year.

This year, NGPA is continuing its collaboration with the United Airlines AVIATE Academy, which uses the TRAC SR20s training platform. [Courtesy: Cirrus Aircraft]

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Plane & Pilot.

On June 1, the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) announced the commencement of the most generous scholarship cycle in its history. The NGPA is offering over $500,000 in scholarship funds to its membership this year, honoring its 25-year anniversary milestone in supporting the global lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other (LGBTQ+) members of the aviation community. 

Miriam Williams, chair of the NGPA Scholarship Committee, encouraged aspiring aviation professionals to send in applications. “If you aspire to work as an aviation professional, please apply,” she said in a statement. “Our scholarship program is one of the most substantive means NGPA can give back to its membership and meet the ‘build and support’ portions of our mission.”

“The scholarship program means a great deal personally because it is a way for me to plant something good for the future,” Williams added.

Also according to the release, the NGPA continues its collaboration with the United Airlines AVIATE Academy (UAA) this year. More than $325,000 of the scholarship funds will be extended to students participating in the UAA through NGPA’s partnership with United Airlines. 

[Courtesy: NGPA]

Justin Ellixson-Andrews, NGPA executive director, expressed gratitude for the support from all sponsors and partners, stating, “NGPA is excited to kick off pride month by celebrating its scholarship program’s silver jubilee—a momentous milestone representing 25 years of awarding scholarships to aspiring aviators serving their LGBTQ+ community. We are incredibly honored to receive United Airlines Aviate Academy’s generous support, as well as additional support from NGPA’s individual donors and corporate sponsors.”

The application window for the 2023 scholarship cycle is open from June 1 to July 31, 2023, with a deadline of 11:59 PM PDT on July 31. Aspiring aviation professionals within the LGBTQ+ community are encouraged to take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

It is important to note that NGPA scholarships are awarded regardless of an individual’s gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. However, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their contributions to the LGBTQ+ community. To be eligible, applicants must also be members of the NGPA, and membership can be purchased or renewed on the organization’s website.

The NGPA is an international non-profit organization based in Minneapolis and founded in 1990. The NGPA comprises LGBTQ+ aviation professionals and enthusiasts, and “aims to encourage individuals to begin aviation careers, foster an environment of equality for LGBTQ+ aviators, promote safety, and establish personal and professional networks.” The organization accomplishes its mission through education and outreach, and is led by a board of directors, executives, and dedicated volunteers.

The 2023 scholarship cycle is made possible through the generous contributions of industry partners and membership donations. Scholarships are available for various levels of flight training and other aviation-related higher education, aiming to eliminate financial barriers and foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry.

More information about NGPA and the scholarship program may be found here.

Amy Wilder is managing editor for Plane & Pilot magazine. She fell in love with airplanes at age 8 when her brother-in-law took her up in a Cessna 172. Pretty soon, Amy's bedroom walls were covered with images of vintage airplanes and she was convinced she'd be a bush pilot in Alaska one day. She became a journalist instead, which is also somewhat impractical—but with fewer bears. Now she's working on her private pilot certificate and ready to be a lifelong student of the art of flying.

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