RAA Announces 2020 Scholarship Recipients

RAA Scholarship Foundation

Washington, DC, August 24. 2020. Media contact: media@raa.org The Regional Airline Association Scholarship Foundation has awarded its 2020 scholarships to three outstanding students pursuing aviation studies at institutions of higher learning: Makayla Best, Lothin Serao, and Pardeep Singh.

This year, RAA will award its scholarships in memory of the late Terrell “Terry” Hibler, a longtime RAA associate member who advocated for creating the RAA Scholarship Program and played a pivotal role in transitioning the Scholarship Program into a 501c3 charitable foundation. It RAA’s great honor to award the first three RAA Terrell “Terry” Hibler Memorial Scholarships in the amount of $4,000 each, in memory of our dearly missed friend and his mission to support students preparing for aviation careers.

Makayla Best of Southwestern Illinois College is studying aviation management and flight training and is especially interested in the airline industry. Makayla was looking for something unique and flying held exactly that appeal. Attending a “Women in Aviation” Day through a local university piqued Makayla’s interest in the profession and an airport tour of St. Louis Lambert International reinforced her determination to join the industry. Makayla has been encouraged, along the way, by strong, influential women in aviation and is already determined to give back and motivate others to follow in her footsteps. She notes: “Once I become a professional pilot, I am going to use my image to motivate others…that they can do this too!”

Lothin Serao of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is studying aviation business administration and hopes to additionally advance her dream of becoming a professional pilot. Born in the United States, Lothin spent her childhood in Belgium and the Democratic Republic of Congo and today speaks English, French, Swahili and the Congolese language Lingala. Her passion for flying was inspired in part by her late father, a career military pilot for the Congolese army who spent hours talking with her about what it was like to fly and how being a pilot allowed him to see the world. Lothin turned her grief at her father’s passing into determination and took her first flight three years later. Citing the prohibitive costs of flight training, Lothin is focusing on Aviation Business Administration to remain in the aviation industry, where she one day hopes to fly the A380. She notes: “Receiving this scholarship will make an incredible change in my life…allowing me to explore my potential in the aviation industry.”

Pardeep Singh is studying aviation technology at Thomas Edison State University while also working as a regional airline mechanic. Pardeep’s interest in aviation was sparked in childhood. From his home near JFK Airport, Pardeep spent hours trying to read the N number on aircraft flying over. With his knack for making repairs, he helped to repair household items and even the family’s vehicle. When applying to high schools, he listed Aviation High School as his first, second, third and fourth choice and graduated with a high school diploma plus his airframe and powerplant licenses. Pardeep gained encouragement and insight from teachers and professionals who had advanced in the industry and continues to pick up valuable lessons from everyone he meets. He one day hopes to share his own expertise with others. Pardeep plans to get his master’s in aviation technology and aviation business. Setting goals is central to him, as he explains: “With each goal accomplished, I set two more new goals: one to follow up and one to surpass the current.”

RAA’s Scholarship Selection Committee is comprised of RAA’s Associate Member community. RAA thanks Associate Member Council Chair Dale Reid of Pratt & Whitney and Scholarship Committee Chair Dan Slater of GECAS, along with Philippe Poutissou of De Havilland and David Ropper of Elix Aviation, for contributing their time and talent in support of our Scholarship Foundation.

One of RAA’s paramount goals is to encourage future generations to pursue aviation, while helping to offset the financial burden placed on students during their education and training. This goal has not diminished in its importance.

“In the era of COVID-19, young people are worried about their future,” noted Faye Malarkey Black, RAA President & CEO, “in making this modest contribution to students’ tuition, we are also showing the values of the industry they will one day join, where a sense of community and a steadfast commitment to our shared future runs strong. On behalf of the regional airline community, RAA wishes Makayla, Lothin and Pardeep a lifetime of success.”

Make sure to check out RAA’s twitter for a special profile on each winner throughout the rest of the week.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution in support of the RAA Scholarship Foundation, please email membership@raa.org for more information.

2020 Terry Hibler Memorial Scholarship Winners- Makayla Best, Lothin Serao, and Pardeep Singh

About RAA

The Regional Airline Association (RAA) provides a unified voice of advocacy for North American regional airlines aimed at promoting a safe, reliable and strong regional airline industry. RAA serves as an important support network connecting regional airlines and industry business partners. In the United States, regional airlines operate 41% of scheduled passenger flights and provide the only source of scheduled air service to 66% of the nation’s airports. Regional airlines provide 75% or more of the air service in Alabama (76%), Alaska (88%), Arkansas (83%), Idaho (75%), Iowa (76%), Kansas (78%), Maine (77%), Mississippi (77%), Montana (78%), Nebraska (90%), North Dakota (87%), South Dakota (85%), Vermont (77%), West Virginia (92%), and Wyoming (78%). Regional airlines provide half or more of the air service in Indiana (61%), Kentucky (67%), Michigan (57%), New Hampshire (61%), New Mexico (53%), North Carolina (54%), Ohio (58%), Oklahoma (51%), Oregon (50%), Pennsylvania (53%), Rhode Island (54%), South Carolina (54%), Tennessee (47%), Virginia (58%) and Wisconsin (61%).