Jessica Miller of Hutchinson, Minn., and Shelby “Blaine” McCaleb of Savannah, Ga., will receive the work internships of a lifetime, as they have been named recipients of this year’s EAA/DAHER-SOCATA International Scholarships.
The internship program is now in its fifth year. Each recipient receives a five-week internship at DAHER-SOCATA’s Tarbes facility in France, located in the shadow of the Pyrenees Mountains, followed by a week at the EAA Air Academy in Oshkosh, Wis., where they’ll help Socata during EAA AirVenture 2011. All travel, lodging, and work experience is included, as well as a side trip to the Airbus facility at Toulouse and to Paris Air Show. For an aspiring student working toward a career in the aviation industry, it’s a dream situation, according to company officials.
“This opportunity with EAA gives a one-of-a-kind experience for these internship recipients,” said Nicolas Chabbert, president of Socata North America. “They will spend some time with us, in their field of choice such as marketing, production, organization, design, support or service. It will make a difference in the future careers of the interns.”
While DAHER-SOCATA is currently providing American students a chance to study abroad, the company has encouraged EAA to find companies in the U.S. willing to share such an experience with young people from other parts of the world. For instance, the two interns will have the opportunity to interact with Socata employees as part of a cultural exchange.
“DAHER-SOCATA’s commitment provides an incentive, a challenge to EAA Young Eagles, an opportunity for them to explore a variety of career directions within the aviation field first hand, to see what the future holds,” said Elissa Lines, EAA’s vice president of business and donor relations. “For a student, nothing is more important. The cultural exchange, the educational opportunities, and the impact on their lives are tremendous.”
Miller is a junior at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn., where she is majoring in aviation management with a minor in finance. Active in planning and supporting aviation programs in the community and flying since age 15, Miller has her single-engine and multi-engine commercial pilot certifications, and is currently studying to become a certified flight instructor. She hopes to open a flight school in the future, providing affordable options to those wanting to experience the thrill of aviation.
“Even though I have achieved quite a lot for a young person, I am just beginning my goals in aviation,” said Miller, who has flown into all 136 public airports in Minnesota. “I am so excited to complete my Certified Flight Instructor rating because my goal is to teach others to fly. My dream job is to fly corporate jets, while donating my time to help youth gain interest in aviation and earn pilot licenses. After all, youth are the future of aviation.”
Shelby “Blaine” McCaleb is a senior studying industrial design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has worked on a number of marine design projects, always looking toward the aerospace industry for guidance with them. Later this year, he will be designing and building an ultralight aircraft or rotorcraft. McCaleb recalled that, when younger, his father would take him out to the airport on weekends, where they would “punch Mooney-sized holes in the clouds.”
“My very first memories are those of sitting in his lap, with my hands on the control column of one of his Mooneys at 2,000 feet,” said McCaleb, who hopes to obtain his sport pilot certification in the near future. “While other kids in school had posters of rock stars and bands on their walls, I had posters of planes and jets. It only seems fitting that ‘airplane’ was my first word, and 23 years later I am starting my career in the aircraft industry.”