February 3, 2017 –– Women in Aviation International (WAI) San Diego Chapter is pleased to announce the winner of their 2016 Aviation Career Scholarship. WAI San Diego Chapter President Jill Meyers awarded the $2,500 scholarship to Eileen Shea Davis, to recognize Shea’s aviation accomplishments thus far and to acknowledge her impressive career goals.
Jill represented the Scholarship Committee in saying, “It was my honor to award our first Chapter Scholarship to Shea, who exemplifies what WAI is all about. We strive to provide support and encouragement to women seeking challenging careers in aviation and aerospace. Shea’s personal and career successes, and determination to do great things in aviation, far exceeded those of the other applicants.”
The WAI San Diego 2016 Aviation Career Scholarship was funded by the University of California San Diego (UCSD), who now runs the nonprofit Sally Ride Science, an organization that inspires young people in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Dr. Edward Abeyta, Director or Pre-Collegiate and Career Preparation Programs & Assistant Dean for Community Engagement said “UC San Diego is pleased to support WAI’s efforts to engage, inspire, and develop young women to be our next engineers, pilots, and much more in this high growth industry sector.”
A portion of the scholarship money will be used to fund Shea’s flight training hours as she works to complete her private pilot certificate. The remaining funds will be used to send Shea on an all-expenses paid trip to the 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference in Orlando, Florida in March. WAI San Diego and UCSD congratulate Shea Davis in being selected for this award.
Shortly after she enlisted, Shea decided to work towards a commission as a Naval Aviator. To that end, she began studying Professional Aeronautics at San Diego’s Miramar Community College in pursuit of an Associate’s Degree. Shea also began taking flying lessons with local aviation legend Dave Derby, flying his Citabria out of Gillespie Field.
She submitted her Officer Candidate School application package in October and is eagerly awaiting the results. After getting her Navy commission, Shea’s goals are to fly the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and hopefully get orders one day to join NASA’s astronaut corps. In winning this scholarship, Shea said, “I hope to follow in the footsteps of the strong women who have already made great strides in advancing women in science and aviation, and I hope to inspire and mentor other women and girls who also have the dream of flight and space exploration.”
Update: Shea was accepted and has completed Officer Candidate School and is currently completing her Advanced Pilot Training in Meridian, MS.
September 16, 2016 –– WAI San Diego Chapter President Jill Meyers was acknowledged for her outstanding leadership, character and integrity, not only in her field of Aerospace Engineering, but in a large part for the work she does for WAISD and the San Diego community as a whole.
As members of WAISD, we all know of Jill’s unwavering commitment to promoting the involvement of women and girls in aviation and aerospace. It is heartening to see that we are not the only ones who appreciate all she does for women, especially in the San Diego area.
We congratulate Jill for this recognition of her professional excellence, her contributions of time and energy to the improvement of our community, and for actively assisting women in realizing their full potential.
Jill received the 2016 Women in Leadership Award from the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce, one of seven winners out of 35 nominees. The Annual Women In Leadership Luncheon takes place every fall and celebrates women from all over San Diego County who have made an impact on their community. The awards were presented at a luncheon with over 350 attendees and covered by local media.
The Women in Leadership Award recognized the dedicated work Jill does with WAI and in her acceptance speech she talked about how much it means to her to help the next generation of women interested in aviation and aerospace. She spoke about what inspired her as a young woman, and of the number of times she was told "no, you can't do that", or "no, you shouldn't do that" because she was a girl. Luckily for those of us who know her for the leader she is, she went ahead and did those things anyway. Read more about Jill’s background.
(Jill’s speech received the only full-room standing ovation of the event and she has already been contacted about several speaking engagements.) Read her speech.
In addition to Women in Leadership Award, this month Jill was also named Section Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee for the San Diego Chapter of The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Thank you, Jill Meyers, for serving as a role model and mentor to other women and girls and for advocating for the positive social change that helps close the leadership gap. You have earned the respect of your community and your peers with your actions and attitude and absolutely deserve this recognition for giving your time, talents and resources to the women and girls of San Diego.
March 20, 2016 –– SAN DIEGO (CBS 8/AP) - Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) was at Palomar Airport Sunday for "The Greatest Generation Meets the Next Generation: Women in Flight", an event honoring Women Air Force Service Pilots. The panel was hosted by Women in Aviation International, San Diego Chapter, The Red Door Films, and Jet Source.
Davis spoke about her efforts in Congress to restore military burial honors for female World War II Air Force pilots.
"I loved the job, in fact I asked for it, because it involved so much acrobatics and I could fly at night if I wanted to and I Ioved that," said Alyce Rohrer, a former mechanical test pilot. "When we graduated, we would graduate as First Lieutenant, just like the boys did."
The Women Airforce Service Pilots were a special unit that flew noncombat missions to free up male pilots for combat. During the war, the women were considered civilians, but in 1977, federal law granted them status as veterans. Since 2002, they have been eligible to have their ashes placed at Arlington with military honors. But in March 2015, then-Secretary of the Army John McHugh ruled WASPs never should have been allowed in and revoked their eligibility.
Just over 1,000 women were accepted into the WASP program, which ran from 1942 to 1944. There are an estimated 112 WASPs still alive, according to Kate Landdeck, a history professor at Texas Woman's University.
Tiffany Miller is the granddaughter of a WASP who organized a Change.org petition to push Congress to pass a bill allowing her grandmother to be inurned at Arlington. "She considered Arlington National Cemetery to be a museum of sorts, so anybody who goes there would know the WASPs did exist and their contribution to the war was important," said Miller.
Rep. Davis is supporting a bi-partisan bill to restore inurnment rights at Arlington. The bill is currently in the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "We think they made the wrong decision when it came to taking away the ability of Women Airforce Service Pilots to be buried there," said Davis. "They volunteered for this job and it's important that they be treated with the respect they deserve."