Dreams Soar, Inc., Names First Academic Scholarship Recipient

Dreams Soar, Inc., has named Lauren Abernathy from Ocoee, Florida, as the inaugural Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University academic scholarship recipient. The new scholarship program was announced earlier this year by Ms. Shaesta Waiz, founder and president of Dreams Soar and an alumna of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and its flight training program in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Lauren Abernathy

“Scholarships help make dreams a reality for many of us and I am so proud to introduce our new program with Embry-Riddle, where it all began for me,” commented Waiz. “I congratulate Lauren as our first scholarship winner. Her dedication and passion for aviation is inspiring and she represents the Dreams Soar mission of supporting outstanding women seeking careers in the STEM field of study. We are excited to bring Lauren to the NBAA Regional Forum in West Palm Beach on January 29, with the help of our good friends and Dream Soar supporters, Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI), where we will make the scholarship award presentation with many other young aviation students in the audience. This is just the beginning of our Dreams Soar scholarship program and we look forward to offering many more scholarships to amazing women in the future.”

Abernathy is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical science with a minor in aviation safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She earned her private pilot certificate in 2018 and is currently finishing her instrument rating, with immediate plans to pursue commercial, certified flight instructor (CFI) and certified flight instructor instrument (CFII) ratings. Introduced to flying by an uncle who flies for a major airline, Abernathy has also met many inspirational aviators through her volunteer activities with Women in Aviation. She works part time at the university as a flight supervisor and volunteers as a flight line assimilation program secretary, where she mentors new students. Abernathy is a member of Women in Aviation International, Daytona Beach Chapter; the Ninety-Nines, Daytona Beach Chapter; Ladies in Flight Training (LIFT); and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

“I am honored to be the first recipient of this new Dreams Soar scholarship and appreciate the financial support that will go toward my flight training,” commented Abernathy. “I have followed Shaesta’s entire journey for many years, so it is very exciting to now have this inspirational connection with her and the Dreams Soar organization. I sincerely thank you all very much for this scholarship. It will go a long way to helping me follow my dream of becoming a professional pilot!” 

The first Dreams Soar Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University scholarship will be awarded to Lauren Abernathy at the NBAA Regional Forum event in West Palm Beach, Florida, on January 29, as part of the opening general session.

Shaesta Waiz
SAJ File Photo

Dreams Soar, Inc., was established in 2016 to inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and aviation professionals. In May 2017, Dreams Soar launched a global flight around the world where Ms. Shaesta Waiz, the founder and president, flew 25,000 nautical miles in an A36 Beechcraft Bonanza to 22 countries. During that flight, she spoke to more than 3,000 children about the value of pursuing careers in STEM and aviation. Upon completing the flight in October 2017, Waiz became the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft.

Since the completion of the global flight, Dreams Soar has continued its global outreach by collaborating with over 29 organizations, in nine different countries, where they hosted 26 outreach events to inspire the next generation. Through these collaborative efforts and events, Dreams Soar has reached over 11,000 children worldwide.