The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has named the winners of two $2,000 scholarships awarded annually to recognize excellence among high school and university students pursuing aviation education.
GAMA named Takoda Benedict of Tri-Village High School in New Madison, Ohio, as the winner of the Edward W. Stimpson “Aviation Excellence” Award. Benedict, a graduating senior who will pursue aviation studies at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is also enrolled at the Miami Valley Career Technology Center, where he is taking classes to become a Certified Aviation Maintenance Technician.
The Stimpson award — named for GAMA’s founder and president from 1970 to 1990 and 1992 to 1996— is given to a graduating high school senior who has been accepted in an aviation degree core program at his or her chosen university. The winner is selected based on academic skills, extracurricular activities, and an essay describing the student’s interest in aviation and his or her career goals.
In addition, GAMA awarded the Dr. Harold S. Wood Award for Excellence — given to a university student who is a flight team member at a National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) member school — to Kelly Abplanalp of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Named for Wood, the founder and past executive director of NIFA, the award is based on a student’s academic abilities, extracurricular activities, recommendations, and an essay describing his or her plans to pursue aviation in the future.
A senior who holds her private pilot certificate and instrument rating, Abplanalp is captain of the Wisconsin Flying Team and president of the Badger Aviators, which gives students the opportunity to learn more about aviation and participate in community service. Earlier this year, she received the Candi Chamberlain Kubeck Award for Top Female Pilot, for earning the highest total score of any female contestant during the 2014 Regional SAFECONs.