2021 Scholarship Recipients

The 2021 recipients will be listed here in late 2021

2020 Scholarship Recipients

Peter Hessedal – CAE Citation II SIC Initial Type Rating + $5,000 Stipend

A lover of aviation and airplanes since the age of 6 and has spent the last 40 years pursuing that love. Though sometimes sidelined by other pursuits and rigors of being an adult with adult responsibilities, he still looks up every time he hears an airplane flying overhead. While in his aviation pursuits he has also completed a couple degrees, including a Master of Science in Project Management and recently left the IT Project Management world to “get serious” about using his commercial pilots license, accumulating over 1200 flight hours as a low level pipeline patrol pilot with which he starts (almost) every day with “I get to go flying today!” Since he can no longer bring work home with him, he enjoys spending much more time as the father of two precocious young boys who both like to go flying with him when they can. When asked about his future plans his response is “keep building up my different experiences and I hope at some point I can utilize my aviation and management experience together and also get pass along the knowledge gained with enthusiasm to the next generation on dreamers.”

Pierce Brackett – Flight Safety International Citation Encore SIC Initial Type Rating + $5,000 Stipend

My name is Pierce Brackett from Prior Lake, Minnesota. I am 22 years old and just graduated from the University of North Dakota in Commercial Aviation and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. I am currently a full time CFI with UND and am excited to explore the business aviation community. In my free time I enjoy hunting and fishing as well as being let down by our Minnesota sports teams. SKOL!

Candice Anderson - $5,000 Maintenance Training Scholarship

I started my career in aviation through becoming a flight attendant with Mesa Airlines two years ago. I did not know what an amazing industry it was and what it had to offer, so I soon became enamored with all things airplanes and aviation! After the beginning effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, I quit being a flight attendant and decided I wanted to pursue a career as a professional pilot. I was able to acquire an internship with the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) at MSP Terminal 2 in January where I worked alongside a 24/7 airport operations team. I am currently enrolled with Liberty University online and obtaining a B.S. in Aeronautics whilst simultaneously flight training. With my internship ending in July, I then accepted a job with Premier Jet Center, an FBO at Flying Cloud airport, as an aviation line technician. This job allows me to work alongside some cool aircraft! I recently passed my Private Pilot exam and I will be continuing with my Instrument Rating in no time! As someone who is interested in every avenue of aviation, I look forward to continuing my education through becoming an A&P mechanic. This is an amazing opportunity that will allow me to become an airplane expert and guarantee me an exciting job in aviation.

Chelsea Montgomery - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

"My name is Chelsea Montgomery and I am so honored to be a recipient of an MBAA Flight Training Scholarship. I am a 2019 graduate of the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, Carlson School of Management with a major in business management and political science. This scholarship will give me the opportunity to further my education at ATP Flight School. I am a proud member of EAA, NBAA, NGPA, the Ninety-Nines, AOPA and WAI. I volunteer with some of these organizations regularly including at the EAA State Fair booth and Girls in Aviation Day. I am currently working on my CFI and am excited to teach people of all backgrounds how to fly! Thank you to MBAA and the donors for helping me reach my aviation goals."

Shea Kieran - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

My name is Shea Kieren, I am 22 years old and was born and raised in Minnesota. I recently graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities this past December with a B.S. degree in English as a Second Language Education and Elementary Education. I have been training with Inflight Pilot Training out of Flying Cloud Airport for the past couple of years. I recently obtained my instrument rating with them and will be using my scholarship money to help me achieve my goals of becoming a commercial pilot! Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to work with Women in Aviation Stars of the North, and Youth Initiative Aviation Academy to connect with those in my community who share a similar passion to mine, as well as provide aviation experiences to students in the Minneapolis - St. Paul school district. Outside of aviation, I have worked with Open Door Learning Center in Minneapolis to teach English to adult language learners and help them overcome language barriers! I am looking forward to working with the Minnesota Aviation Association and meeting other scholarship recipients!

Zahara Osman - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

My name is Zahara Osman and I am a Junior at Minnesota State University, Mankato majoring in Aviation Professional Flight. I have dreamt of becoming a pilot since I was a young child. My passion for aviation started with a helicopter ride with my uncle when I was 9. I felt so free, yet powerful and it brought me immense happiness. I am currently a member of several aviation organizations including AOPA, Women in Aviation, NGPA, and EAA. Being an active member of these organizations has provided me with a sense of belonging and continues to fuel my determination. I am incredibly lucky to have the love and support from my family and friends. I would love to continue working towards my goals and provide support for girls in the future in their dreams of becoming a pilot.

Justin Wollenburg - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

I graduated from St Cloud State University with B.S. degrees in Meteorology and Business and have been working as a computer programmer ever since. I took my first flight 2 years ago and caught the aviation bug. I earned my Private pilot certificate in 4 months and completed my instrument rating last summer. I am currently working on wrapping up my commercial certificate with plans to earn my multi rating and CFI certificates. I am an active member of my local Women in Aviation chapter volunteering my time for our annual Girls in Aviation Day each fall. Outside of aviation, I enjoy participating in Feed-My-Starving-Children events and have organized annual adopt-a-family events and have raised over $23,000 since 2007 for families in the twin cities.

Michael Weeks - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

I am a husband and father of three kids. My journey to becoming a pilot has been long but has taught me invaluable lessons along the way. I served in the Marine Corps for five years after high school, working in avionics. Since then, I attended school at Oak Hills Christian College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies. I currently work as an avionics technician at Bemidji Aviation, and am working on my instrument and commercial ratings. I never lost the love of aviation I had as a child and am finally working toward realizing my dream of being a professional pilot.

2019 Scholarship Recipients

Aura Austin – CAE Citation II SIC Type Rating + Stipend

Aura Austin has been awarded the Citation II second-in-command type rating generously donated by CAE. Aura is as nontraditional recipient as she is married and a mother of 2 daughters, graduated from Mankato State University – Mankato with an B.S. in Spanish and Mass Communications. Aura is a member of several aviation organizations including the MBAA, AOPA, Ninety Nines, Women in Aviation, and the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators. Aura is an active flight instructor at North Star Aviation in Mankato. Aura’s passion for aviation has been with her for 20 years and now she is fully immersed in aviation. As an international ferry pilot, Aura has flown in five countries and gained invaluable aeronautical decision-making skills. Aura’s maturity, attention to customer service and desire to be a business aviation pilot make her and ideal candidate for the MBAA highest scholarship. Aura is a recipient the MBAA looks forward to seeing more of in the future.

Willy Mekeel – FlightSafety International ATP Certification Training Program + Stipend

Willy Mekeel has been awarded the ATPCTP Generously donated by FlightSafety International. It includes both ground training and flight training segments. Willy is a nontraditional as he has received his BA and MS degrees from Minnesota State University – Mankato and is pursing a PhD from the U of M. Willy is married and the father of 3 children. Willy’s road to aviation has been winding and over the past couple of years he has completed his multi-engine rating, instrument rating and commercial license, all while enrolled in a PhD course, teaching at Riverland Community College, working at TacAero and raising a family. Willy has participated in Young Eagle Flights and is a mentor in the Big Brothers of America program. Willy’s drive, goal orientation, and responsibility will be an asset to the MBAA and business aviation.

Joshua Wolbeck - $5,000 Maintenance Training Scholarship

Joshua Wolbeck is the recipient of a $5,000 maintenance training scholarship. Joshua will be graduating from Northland Community and Technical College in August 2019 and plans to continue his studies for a BA in Aviation Management. While in high school and in college, Joshua has been a leader. He was captain of his football and track team, a National Honor Society member and is a member of the college Professional Aviation Maintenance Association and of the student senate. During the summer break and weekends, Joshua works for the Moorhead Aviation Services as an avionics technician. Joshua is the type of person the MBAA is proud to support and much needed in business aviation.

Jasper Omwoyo - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

Jasper Omwoyo is the recipient of a $2,000 flight training scholarship. Jasper is a student at Minnesota State University – Mankato and plans to graduate summer 2019. Jasper participates in the YMCA Brother/Sister Mentoring Program and is a member of Alpha Eta Rho and in May 2019, attended the MAC Part 139 Boot Camp. In 2014, Jasper attended the Minnesota Aviation Career Education camp on a scholarship. He stated "No one in my family or immediate circle had ever been a pilot, the camp proved to me that I could become the first pilot in my family." Jasper’s passion and wide spectrum of capabilities are needed in the MBAA and in business aviation. Peter Hessedal - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

Peter Hessedal is the recipient of a $2,000 flight training scholarship. Peter is another nontraditional recipient. Peter graduated from the University of Phoenix with a B.S. degree in Business Management. For nearly 20 years Peter has never given up on becoming a professional pilot. Peter’s desire, determination and creativity in weathering the economic challenges of life have served him will. Those traits will also well serve the MBAA and business aviation.

Alex Borgen - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

Alex Borgen is the recipient of a $2,000 flight training scholarship. Alex is a student at Lake Superior College - Duluth and plans to graduate summer 2019 with an AAS– Professional Pilot degree. Alex has worked as a dispatcher for the Lake Superior College flight program and as a Manager for Beaver Air Tours in Duluth. As a Manager, Alex worked with the customers, developed flight schedules, assisted with aircraft upkeep and experienced the hard work and dedication it takes to keep the doors open at a small business. Alex has the talents and personality the MBAA is proud to support and is needed in business aviation.

Bradley Ramin - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

Bradley Ramin is the recipient of a $2,000 flight training scholarship. Bradley graduated from U of M – Morris in May 2018, with a B.A. degree in Biology. Bradley is now enrolled at Minnesota State University – Mankato in the Aviation-Professional Flight Program and plans to graduate in May 2020. Bradley has studied abroad in Thailand and this year taught English online to 5 to 12 year-old children in China. At MSU-M, Bradley is a member of the Aviation Club, the Flight Team, and the WIA Northern Lights Chapter. At the U of M-M, Bradley was involved in several organizations including the Morris Campus Student Association. Bradley’s drive to make this change and his dedication are the traits the MBAA and business aviation are proud to support. Jessica Anderson - $2,000 Flight Training Scholarship

Jessica Anderson is the recipient of a $2,000 flight training scholarship. Jessica graduated from the U of M with a B. S. degree in Biology. Jessica is currently finishing her 2nd year at Academy College, Bloomington, MN, in the Commercial Pilot Associates Degree program. Jessica has participated in the Girls in Aviation Day and other community activities including Feed my Starving Children. This summer Jessica plans to complete her flight instructor and began instructing this fall. When she has sufficient flight time, Jessica plans to fly with a regional airline to build her jet time and then seek a position as a pilot in the world of business aviation. Jessica represents what the MBAA and business aviation are proud to support.

Keyahna Kurilla - $1,700 Flight Training Scholarship

Keyahna is the recipient of a $1,700 flight training scholarship. Keyahna is truly the most nontraditional award recipient offered by the MBAA. Keyahna attended the MN Aviation Career Education camp, has soloed and is working to complete her private pilot training. This fall Keyahna will be a junior at Brainerd High School. Keyahna is also enrolled at the Central Lakes College PSEO program. She is a member of the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association, the WAI Northern Lights Chapter, President of the FFA-Brainerd Chapter and Editor-in-Chief of the Brainerd High School Yearbook. Also, during the past 3 years, Keyahna has participated in the Women Venture Event at Oshkosh. This summary only touches the activities Keyahna is involved in and her drive to become a professional pilot. She represents the best of today’s young people. The MBAA is proud to support Keyahna and she needs to be recruited by business aviation.

Minnesota Business Aviation Association (MBAA)

MBAA is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization

3800 East 70th Street

Minneapolis, MN 55450


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