Aviation Expo Gives Away Over $388,000



Madisen Garnes

Over 700 students, teachers, and parents attended the Aviation Education and Career Expo this year. On October 26, 2018, high school and college students gathered at the Leesburg Executive Airport to share their love for aviation and to win scholarships.


The Aviation Education and Career Expo is an annual event. Its hope is to provide young people with financial support and information to expand their horizons towards aviation. This year, 71 different vendors came to share their experiences, give away scholarships, and educate students about the opportunities available to them.


Each year, there are several different speakers who give a brief speech. Heidi Kemner, who works for the National Transportation Safety Board as an air safety investigator, talked about the fascinating day-to-day experiences she has investigating airplane crashes. She shared some of her personal encounters with these crashes and the witnesses she interviews.


The next presentation was the US Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team. They performed their routine of doing dangerous, difficult maneuvers with their firearms. Another speaker was Michael Rutledge, a Navy Seal. He spoke about having dreams and finding mentors to help guide you through difficult situations.


In between each speaker and presentation, scholarships were awarded to select students that attended. There were three categories of scholarships: aviation, college, and flight lessons. In total, the event awarded over $388,000 to students who attended the Expo and either wrote an essay or were interviewed at the event. These scholarships aid students in the journey of college and their dreams of aviation whether that is being a pilot, a flight attendant, or something else.


Many of these careers were displayed and supported by booths set up around the hangar. They were experts in their field and had the goal of informing the students of the different careers that aviation produces.


There were around twenty planes on display outside of the hanger. One of the airplanes was 60 million dollars. A crop-dusting plane did a demonstration to show everyone what it looked like when it dusted the crops. A drone team from V1 Aviation showed viewers how the drones work. Two of the smaller aircraft were open for people to sit in. People were able to see the controls and sit in the pilot’s seat.


Around twenty students from the Frederick CTC program attended the event. Those students alone won about one-third of the scholarship money. It was a great opportunity for them to broaden their horizons about engineering, aviation, and the careers those lead in to.


Congratulations to Madisen Garnes who won 2 scholarships: flying lessons and aviation education.


Julie O’Brien, the General Manager of ProJet Aviation, is the co-founder of the Aviation Education and Career Expo. The theme of this year’s Expo was “Destiny”.


Julie O’Brien explained, “So many of us have gone through different parts of the industry and different parts of other industries to bring us to where we’re at right now.” She hopes that every student that comes to the event realizes “how many opportunities there are within the aviation industry.”


The Aviation Education and Career Expo was a wonderful experience and opportunity to learn more about the aviation community. It was an event where one can find advice, personal stories of success, and mentors. The Expo gave away a huge amount of money to help young people achieve their dreams. This event has helped so many people already, and it will continue to change the lives of the people who attend in the years to come.