Second Annual Future Takes Flight Scholarships Total $30,000

Oct. 19, 2023
Aviation technician and aviation management students are among those receiving awards from Sheltair & Avfuel.
Courtesy of Avfuel
Lei Huot
Lei Huot

Sheltair Aviation and Avfuel Corporation have announced the six recipients of the annual Sheltair & Avfuel: Future Takes Flight Scholarship.

The second annual scholarship program provided $5,000 to six people dedicated to business aviation. The 2023 scholarship class includes Lei Huot of St. Augustine, Florida; Joel Mink of Florence, Kentucky; Justin Hernandez of Milford, Pennsylvania; Katrina Kienitz of Oceanside, California; Bailey Pollard of Columbus, Ohio; and Kyle Keyser of Denver, Colorado.

The scholarships are to be used to further their aviation education within the business aviation sector, specifically for learning to fly or an advanced pilot rating, for aviation technician training, or for continuing education.

Here is more information on the award recipients focused on aviation maintenance and FBO management:

Lei Huot of St. Augustine, Florida -- Huot will put her scholarship toward tuition at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University where she is majoring in aviation maintenance science with minors in aviation line maintenance and computer science, as well as an area of concentration in avionics cyber technology and security.

“My overall goal is to work on jet aircraft,” said Huot, “and I would be honored if, at some point in the future, I was also offered an opportunity to maintain military aircraft, as my grandfather did. It would be a privilege and challenge I would eagerly accept.

“When I was notified of being awarded the Sheltair & Avfuel: Future Takes Flight Scholarship, I was ecstatic! …. I know my grandfather would be just as excited for me, knowing that I've received the support to accomplish my goals and be afforded the opportunity to do something that I love. Thank you, Sheltair & Avfuel, for such a generous award. I am so grateful and appreciative of the scholarship committee and the team there! You have all made a significant impact on my future and I can't thank you enough.”

Joel Mink of Florence, Kentucky -- Mink will also use his scholarship for tuition to earn his FAA Airframe & Powerplant certifications with the ultimate goal of becoming an aviation maintenance technician.

“I have put 100% of my heart and soul into learning about aviation ever since my first flight at an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles fly-in event,” said Mink. “I was amazed by all the gauges, and I wanted to know what each one was and how it made the plane fly …. This experience sparked a desire inside me to learn how each of the various aircraft systems operate, which has developed into my career goal of becoming an aviation maintenance technician (AMT).”

Katrina Kienitz of Oceanside, California -- Kienitz will use her scholarship toward a degree in aviation management with the ultimate goal of becoming a customer service manager at an FBO.

“I have tried a lot of career paths, but they have all led me back to general aviation,” said Kienitz. “Having always sought out work with purpose, I see first-hand how my work in general aviation directly contributes to my colleagues' success, and the passengers and crews' experiences. Not only do I find working in general aviation extremely satisfying, I believe it is in my bones. I have walked into walls, cars and tripped off the sidewalk craning my neck to catch sight of anything I hear fly over. I get a rush of excitement when I can correctly identify an aircraft or use my skills to find it on ADSB and locate its registration information. 

Lisa Holland, Sheltair’s president, said: “What a privilege it is to again support such passionate aviators, thereby re-investing in the business aviation community that has given our operations so much. We congratulate the 2023 scholarship class and wish them all the best as they pursue a greater commitment to business aviation.”

Joel Hirst, Avfuel’s senior vice president of sales, said: “Business aviation is a special space — it provides our world with unmatched connectivity and fuels our economies. It is our distinct honor to give back to the business aviation industry by partnering with Sheltair on this scholarship program. We are thankful to the many applicants who expressed their commitment to business aviation and congratulate the six recipients of this year’s scholarships.”  

The next round of applications will be made available in December with a June 1 deadline. A team of Avfuel and Sheltair executives will then evaluate the applications to select 2024’s six recipients based on essay submissions and with special consideration given to those facing financial hardship.