Over $139K in scholarships awarded at 16th Annual Aviation Education & Career Expo hosted by ProJet Aviation

The 16th annual event showcased exciting careers in aviation and aerospace to students in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

ProJet Aviation hosted the 16th annual Aviation Education & Career Expo at the Leesburg Executive Airport. More than 800 students, educators, and parents attended the Expo, which is designed to educate young adults (ages 16-22) about exciting careers in aviation. The event featured keynote speakers, live demonstrations, and representatives from over 70 aviation organizations, including the US military, emergency medical airlift, law enforcement, maintenance/avionics repair, government agencies, private aviation, and more. “The theme for this year’s event was – THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT,” said ProJet Aviation’s Julie O’Brien, Co-founder of the event. “We work with our sponsors to provide experiences, mentoring, and scholarships that inspire students to discover and pursue their passion for the skies.”

The Aviation Education and Career Expo is a unique opportunity for students interested in the aviation/aerospace industry to explore numerous career paths and talk one-on-one with industry experts.  Students get an “up close and personal” look at occupations that are in high demand in the United States and worldwide.

Guest speakers and demonstrators included:

– ProJet Aviation’s CEO, Shye Gilad

– Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk

– The US Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team

– PHI Medevac Air Care 3

– Emily Daniel, Agricultural Pilot and Demonstrator

– Garda World Federal Services – K-9 Unit

– The US Army Golden Knights Parachute Jump Team

– Heidi Kemner, NTSB Accident Investigator

– Frank Culbertson, Retired NASA Astronaut and Commander of the International Space Station

There were four Legacy scholarship awards this year, honoring some amazing people that gave so much to this industry. True heroes, both nationally and locally:

  • Sarah Thompson – Original Co-Founder of the Aviation Education Expo
  • Joe Goodin – A Naval Aviator local to Leesburg and a mentor to students through the Young Eagles program
  • Paul Davy – USAF officer and later the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Port City Air in NH
  • Elaine D. Harmon – WWII WASP, received the Congressional Gold Medal and was afforded full military honors at Arlington National Cemetary

This year’s 2022 scholarship winners and their sponsors:

  • $631 to Mackenzie Taylor from Aviation Adventures
  • $1K to Rahul Kagalwala from Aero Elite Flight Training
  • $2500 to Logan Reuter from Open Air Flight Training, The Aviation Foundation, and Cirrus Aircraft Sales
  • 2,850 to Navid Farzanpay from Bravo Flight Training
  • $1K to Brennay Nicola from Women in Aviation
  • $1K to Stephen Wilson from Goose Creek Aviation
  • $1K to Nicholas Baker from Air Line Pilot’s Association
  • $1,500 to Navid Farzanpay from JetLinx and Direct Tailwinds
  • $2K to Aesha Kapoor from Paragon Aviation Detailing
  • $2K to Jabari Brown from Paragon Aviation Group
  • $2K to Akul Singhal Paragon Aviation Group and Port City Air
  • $2K to Myles Olsen from Smokehouse Pilot’s Club
  • $2,500 to Christopher Alexander from the Greater Washington Business Aviation Association
  • $4K to Jaye Datan from ProJet Aviation, The Hoxton Agency, AOPA and Avemco Insurance
  • $5K to Lawson Hambrick from Paramount Business Jets
  • $5K to Ashley Nguyen from Pelican Aircraft Consulting
  • $1K to Connor Sloan from Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics
  • $3K to Francis Gordon from the Unmanned Safety Institute
  • $3,500 to Luke Manson from 1st Chime Prive’ In-Flight Catering and the Community College of Baltimore County
  • $8K to Austin Rhodes from Saint Francis University
  • $8K to Nathanial Denault frof Saint Francis University
  • $20K to Bea Isabelle Kee from Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology
  • $20K to Ian Powell from Marywood University
  • $20K to Kartikeya Vinaykumar from Averett Univeristy
  • $20K to Samantha Smith to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

In addition to scholarships, numerous paid internships were also available and awarded. Toth Financial, Weird Bros. Coffee, and 1st Chime in-flight catering, Little Caesars, Passion Fin, COSTCO and Wegman’s sponsored breakfast and lunch for the students as well as vendors. Sarah Thompson’s family was awarded the honorary Jump Baton, by the US Army Knights, for the pivotal role that she played in founding this amazing event.   

About The Aviation Education & Career Expo

The Aviation Education & Career Expo is one of the largest and most successful aviation education events in the United States, awarding to date, over $1.3 million dollars in scholarships to high school and college students pursuing careers in the aviation and aerospace industry, since its inception in 2005. Cofounded by aviation professionals Julie O’Brien and Sarah Thompson, the Expo is committed to helping students explore the many career opportunities available to them through the world of flight. The Aviation Education & Career Expo is hosted by ProJet Aviation at Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO), in Leesburg, VA.

About ProJet Aviation

ProJet Aviation is the DC metro region’s premier aviation hospitality company, dedicated to helping people accomplish extraordinary things through the wonder of flight. The company operates ProJet Center, a Fixed Base Operation (FBO), at Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO), general aviation’s gateway to Washington DC, Dulles, and Virginia’s Horse & Wine Country. Established in 2007 as a partnership between former airline pilot, educator, and entrepreneur Shye Gilad, and noted entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheila C. Johnson, Founder & CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts, ProJet Aviation combines the operational integrity of the world’s best airlines with the refined service of a world-class resort. ProJet’s numerous accolades include recognition as a Washington Business Journal Best Place to Work, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Service Business of the Year, and an Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Company.

Corporate Sponsors for the event Included: Aero Elite, Aero Training Center, Air Line Pilot’s Association, Avemco, Avfuel, Aviation Adventures, Bravo Flight Training, Cirrus Aircraft Sales, FBO Partners, Fly Advanced, General Dynamics, , Hoxton Agency, Jet Linx, MWAA, NBAA, Nulton Aviation Flight Academy, Open Air, Paragon Aviation Group, Paramount Business Jets, ProJet Aviation, Smokehouse Pilots, Teamsters Airline Division, Toth Financial, Unmanned Safety Institute, USAIG, Vaughn College, Winchester Regional, and Women in Aviation.

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