Shelly Simi to Receive the 2021 Brewer Trophy for Aerospace Education

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced that Shelly Simi has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Frank G. Brewer Trophy. She is being recognized for professional leadership and unwavering dedication in promoting aviation and aerospace education through industry partnerships, workforce initiatives and organizations dedicated to aviation across the United States.”

Shelly Simi

Simi shared with the State Aviation Journal that she is honored to be a part of the passionate advocates that have helped shape the future of the industry through aviation/aerospace education.  “Whether it’s holding an AvEd camp for young girls, developing curriculum for an aviation high school or creating a new workforce development initiative, every action can influence someone’s decision to support, join, or lead our great industry.”

As a professional communicator and collaborator, Simi is known for going above and beyond to expand and promote aviation education outreach efforts that encourages students to choose aviation as a career. By working with colleges and universities, teachers, lawmakers, government partners and aerospace manufacturers, she has long demonstrated her ability to create programs and initiatives that have lasting effects on the industry.

Simi is a co-founder of the National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education (NCASE) which began as a partnership with FAA and other organization to create a clearinghouse of resources for teachers. She helped create the national learn-to-fly program “Be a Pilot” where over 100 General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) members worked with other industry association groups to attract new pilots and reverse the trending decline in student starts.

Simi is a founding board member of Women in Aviation, International, an organization created by Dr. Peggy Chabrian to bring more young women into aviation through mentorships, educational outreach and scholarships now exceeding $13.2 million.

“The Brewer Trophy represents the best in aviation education, and the fact that it resides in the nation’s premier educational institution, The Smithsonian, is evidence of that,” said NAA President Greg Principato. “Shelly throughout her career, in a variety of roles, has made the promotion of aviation education a high priority. Whether attracting and training new pilots, helping start Women in Aviation International and her participation in Girls in Aviation Day or a variety of other roles, Shelly’s passion and energy have left a lasting impact.”

Simi said it is exciting to know that a difference is being made in young lives through the efforts of so many to promote aviation education.

Serving on the 2021 Brewer Trophy selection committee were: Frank Brewer, the Brewer Family; Robert Brewer, the Brewer Family; Shella Condino, 2011 National Aviation Hall of Fame Aerospace Teacher of the Year; Deborah Gallaway, 2004 Brewer Trophy recipient; Professor James Gregory, Ph.D., 2020 Brewer Trophy recipient; and Robert Stangarone, NAA Board of Directors.

The trophy was established in 1943 to honor “… significant contributions of enduring value to aerospace education in the United States.” Past recipients of the Brewer Trophy include Senator Barry Goldwater, AOPA’s You Can Fly Program, Astronaut Donald Thomas, Barrington Irving, The Ninety-Nines, and the 2020 recipient, Professor James Gregory, Ph.D.

The Brewer Trophy will be presented at the NAA Fall Awards Dinner on December 6, 2021, in Arlington, Virginia. For more information or to view a complete list of previous recipients, please visit