RAA Announces 2021 Scholarship Recipients

RAA Scholarship Foundation

Washington, DC, August 31. 2021. Media contact: media@raa.org

This morning, the Regional Airline Association Scholarship Foundation announced it has awarded scholarships to four outstanding students pursuing aviation studies at institutions of higher learning.

Isabella Capuano (Baylor University), Jamie Gallagher (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), Jacob Larkin (California Aeronautical University), and Elias Wiley (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) will each receive a scholarship of $4000. Please check our twitter feed for a special profile on each winner next week.

Isabella Capuano is studying aviation science to become a professional pilot and loves flying. Isabella cites her STEM clubs and classroom work as integral to her aviation journey and thanks her teachers and mentors for guidance along the way. Isabella notes she is highly motivated to complete her education and flight training to meet the anticipated pilot shortage, helping aviation play a vital role in the US economy and society by linking people and products to their loved ones and business partners.  She is highly motivated, unafraid of hard work and perseverance – and wants to be part of the increasing number of female pilots.

As the daughter of an airline pilot, Jamie Gallagher didn’t like aviation as a child, but a demonstration flight she took through the Girl Scouts (offered by EAA’s Young Eagles) helped to change her mind and sparked her own interest in the career. Through personal adversity – including her father’s cancer diagnosis and treatment as she gained her PPL, Jamie persevered and found time for issues important to her, including an extra-curricular focus on crew resource management. Jamie hopes to give back as she progresses through her own career, one day paying it forward through organizations that empower aviation to change lives, just as it changed hers.

Jacob Larkin loved aviation from childhood, where he decorated his walls with airplane stickers, built model airplanes and attended airshows with his dad. As he graduated high school, the enormous cost of flight education and training shocked and deterred this future first-generation college graduate. Jacob thought he was putting his dreams aside for a more “realistic” path through the US Navy, but his service placement immersed him in aviation again. Serving aboard the USS General Ford as an aviation boatswains’ mate on top of the flight deck, the thrill of watching jets launch renewed his determination to get back into aviation, no matter the cost. Having completed his military service honorably, Jacob has resumed aviation training with renewed determination and the overwhelming joy of being around aircraft again. 

Elias Wiley is finishing his second year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the Aviation Maintenance Sciences department, where he says his proximity to the Daytona Beach airport fueled his love for aviation. Elias has a deep appreciation of the safety culture and accountability he knows he will find at a commercial airline and emphasizes that working at a regional airline will allow him to know the pilot and crews directly affected by his work. Elias is studying to take the tests for an A&P license and is ultimately looking forward to developing expertise on aircraft and their systems, as well as seeing new places as a future regional airline professional. 

RAA’s Scholarship Selection Committee is comprised of RAA’s Associate Member community. RAA thanks RAA Scholarship Committee Chair Dan Slater of GECAS, along with Philippe Poutissou of De Havilland, David Ropper of Elix Aviation, and Blaine Little, of Flight Safety International for contributing their time and talent in support of our Scholarship Foundation, as well as RAA’s membership manager, Michelle Cravez, who oversees the program.

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. Many applicants to the RAA 2021 scholarship program have faced tremendous financial burdens to pursue their aviation ambitions, and many of our top candidates cited the inability to afford or finance training as a key hurdle they are working to overcome.  

Faye Malarkey Black, RAA President & CEO, stated: “RAA is honored to make this modest contribution to students’ tuition. We hope to demonstrate the values of the industry they will one day join and our commitment to investing in our shared future. Reviewing scholarship candidates presents us with a boost every year – the future workforce is bright, determined, and ready to soar. RAA thanks all of our candidates for applying, wishes each a lifetime of success, and warmly congratulates Isabella, Jamie, Jacob and Elias for their achievement.”

Each year, RAA’s selection committee chooses winners from hundreds of candidates. The biggest challenge lies in choosing among so many talented and promising candidates. With your help, we can grow our scholarship foundation to help award even more scholarships to our many deserving candidates. Please take a moment to visit our Scholarship Foundation page to learn more about the program and to make a tax-deductible contribution.

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 40% 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%).