The number of women in the aviation field today is staggeringly low, and one of the reasons — according to the Teaching Women to Fly Research Project — is that “Girls need to see living aviation female role models.”
Dreams Soar was founded by just such a role model — an ordinary young woman who, by virtue of her upbringing, achievements, and near-term goals — is actually extraordinary. Shaesta Waiz was born in Afghanistan and emigrated to the United States as a young girl with her parents and five sisters. They lived in a poor school district, and Shaesta assumed if she was lucky enough to graduate, her next stop would be early marriage and motherhood… but never a career, and certainly not as a pilot!
A series of positive inflection points changed that trajectory, and today she’s not only the first in her family to have a college degree, she also has a master’s degree and just completed what may be the last piston powered solo flight around the world to inspire other “ordinary young women” that they too can fly – either literally as a pilot, or in reaching for dreams they never thought before that they deserved.
Dreams Soar is a 501(c)3 nonprofit registered in the United States. While certainly our larger desire is to inspire anyone to achieve their dreams (because at-risk youth come in all shapes, sizes, and nationalities), our core mission is to inspire women to enter STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields of study and careers.
DONE! We launched a round-the-world solo flight, piloted by the youngest woman to do so in a single engine airplane. Shaesta Waiz’s solo flight was May 13-October 4, 2017, with Outreach at 17 of the 30 stops around the world, with a focus on inspiring girls and young women to enter STEM. Check out the route, and even better, the outreach events!
Scholarships make dreams reality for the less privileged, offering the promise of a better future if they are willing to work for it. Girls and young women will be inspired to pursue more education, potentially entering a STEM field or even becoming a pilot. It’s not overreaching to say girls’ education is a linchpin to building a more peaceful world.
Shaesta flew around the world inspiring thousands of girls and young women, because not only is aviation chock-full of STEM careers, it’s a natural dream of flying that inspires both literally and metaphorically, and what better way to achieve this in what may well be the last piston-powered solo flight around the world? By not only a young woman, but precisely the type of person we seek to inspire?
The free lunch recipient with no college and few high school graduates in her family, but studies hard on her own. The bright young Indonesian girl who knows only poverty and a dismissal of education for women. The 20 year old who loves being a mother, but also needs to achieve for her family. These are the young ladies who saw Shaesta and understood – “if she can do it, I can do it!”