11 Apr Shaesta Waiz Commemorated on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Wall of Honor for Youngest Woman Solo Flight
Shaesta Waiz Commemorated on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Wall of Honor for Youngest Woman Solo Flight
Daytona Beach, FL – On March 27th, Shaesta Waiz was awarded for her outstanding accomplishments, including being name the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft and her contribution to the Smithsonian’s aviation and exploration heritage. This accomplishment will forever be memorialized with her name inscribed on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Wall of Honor at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.
The Wall of Honor is a permanent memorial created of airfoil-shaped stainless-steel plaques honoring the men and women who have had a passion for flight. The wall contains icons of aviation and space including Waiz’s own inspiration and mentor, Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world. Waiz once stated, “The first time I visited the Wall of Honor, I remember standing there, reading the names of my heroes and legends in aviation. In that moment, I felt very empowered to follow my dreams in aviation and to make a difference in this industry we all love so much. Now that my name is inscribed on this memorial, I find myself very honored and humbled. I hope my name will represent to young visitors that with enough persistence, hard work and passion, regardless of who you are, your dreams will soar.”
In 2014, Waiz started the non-profit organization Dreams Soar, Inc. Waiz flew a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 aircraft around the world solo on a 145-day trip in 2017, flying approximately 25,000 nautical miles across five continents, visiting 22 countries where she had the opportunity to inspire over 3,000 children and young adults. While visiting each stop, she told her inspirational story to encourage young people globally to consider education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and aviation, and to always remember to never give up on pursuing their dreams in life.
Born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan in 1987, Waiz and her family fled to America to escape the brutal Soviet-Afghan war. Growing up, Waiz never took school seriously as she thought her future would consist of getting married and having children, as did generations before her. However, in her late teens, Waiz discovered an interest in aviation during a flight from California to Florida to visit family. During that time, Waiz grew her passion and was accepted as a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she not only became the first member in her family to receive both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, but also became the first civilian female pilot from Afghanistan.
While a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Waiz founded the Women’s Ambassadors Program in 2011 to increase female enrollment through a modeled mentor program. In less than three years, under her leadership, the program helped increase female enrollment from 13 to 22 percent.
Waiz added, “Every time I open the door to an aircraft, I ask myself, how did a girl with my background become so lucky? The truth is, anyone can be me. You must believe in yourself and allow your dreams to soar.”
For more information on Waiz and the Dreams Soar team, visit Dreams Soar’s website: www.dreamssoar.com
About Dream’s Soar, Inc.:
Dreams Soar, Inc., is a 501© 3 non-profit organization founded by Shaesta Waiz, a dual graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, whose mission is to inspire the next generation of STEM and aviation professionals. The global solo flight was the first phase of Dreams Soar’s worldwide effect to inspire and empower the (STEM) and aviation, specifically for young women and minorities. For more information about Dreams Soar, visit http://dreamssoar.org/
Photos of Shaesta: https://goo.gl/tc2hW7
A36 Bonanza – https://goo.gl/bfWsjD
Dreams Soar: Jill Meyers, firstname.lastname@example.org