Connecting Aerospace Interests

Kenneth Needle - South Seattle Community College

"Recently, I was asked how the scholarship that I received from PNAA impacted my life, training and career over the past six months.  The answers came easy because I am now living a "dream come true".  With the scholarship, I was able to complete my Power Plant training at South Seattle Community College.  I am currently FAA Airframe rated and will be taking my oral and practical for Power Plant in late October.  I graduated with an AAS in Aeronautical Technology this Summer 2013.

Toward the end of my Technical training I was able to work a part-time internship for North Star Aerospace in Auburn and when I graduated I was hired full-time as a Technician.  North Star Aerospace is a Part 145 Repair Station where we repair and overhaul aircraft components-- some rocket stuff too!  I am so happy with the mentoring that I am receiving at my company and all of the technical support that has afforded to me.

I love the Aerospace industry and words alone cannot express the thankfulness in my heart from the PNAA and my School and employer for the opportunities that my future holds.  Thank-you!

On a personal note:  I was a lost soul just four years ago with no hope of a better life, once I started making changes in my personal life I found that others were truly there to help me reach my goals.  I want to give back and be an example to others who wish for more out of life.  Having had the chance from all those around me I am making a difference one day at a time."

Christopher Sa
Christopher Sa - South Seattle Community College, Aviation Maintenance

Christopher Sa has always had a love for aviation.  He attended Aviation High School, and took the opportunity to continue his studies in the aviation program at South Seattle Community College.  He plans to work on aircraft as an aviation maintenance technician after he completes his education. He has two quarters left. 

One of Christopher's aviation instructors posed the question in his class – What would you do with your life if you had all the money in the world?  Christopher answered, “I can honestly say that if I had all the money in the world, I would still be working on planes.”

Elijah Shoemake
Elijah Shoemake - Washington State University, Mechanical Engineering Degree

When Elijah Shoemake graduates from Washington State University with a degree in mechanical engineering in December 2014, he hopes to land a job working to develop new aerospace solutions – particularly as they pertain to space or unmanned aircraft.

Elijah, PNAA’s Karl Fagan Scholarship Recipient for 2013, says he is “immensely grateful to the PNAA for giving me the means to take my education further than I ever thought possible.”  The $2,500 scholarship allowed Elijah to focus on his studies rather than worrying about how to pay for his next semester of school.

Rather than working for minimum wage as many students do, Elijah devoted much of his time to research and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) club at WSU.  Because of his involvement, he was elected president of the AIAA club and was invited to work on a project to develop a liquid hydrogen fueled unmanned aerial system (UAS), dubbed the Genii UAS.

"The work on this aircraft has vastly expanded my technical training and knowledge, familiarizing me with composites, cryogenic systems, and the process of engineering a design from concept to a working product,” Elijah said.  “My dedication to this project would simply not be possible without the support of scholarships like the one I received from the PNAA.”

Chris Nason
Chris Nason - University of Washington, Aeronuatical Engineering Degree

On June 15, PNAA Scholarship Recipient Chris Nason graduated from the University of Washington’s Aeronautical Engineering program with a 3.5 GPA. The 33-year old has sent out over 250 job applications and is looking forward to launching his aerospace career.
Nason, a general contractor with over 12 years experience in the construction industry, decided to pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering, when the housing market collapsed in 2008.  With the support of his wife, the young father went back to school.

While at Green River Community college, Chris discovered his passion for airplane design and manufacturing.  The Univeristy of Washington's aeronautical engineering program allowed Chris to hone his skills and develop an intense interest in the use of advanced composite materials.  Chris plans to pursue a Masters in Aerospace Engineering degree in composite structure that is offered by the University of Washington’s Aeronautics department for working engineers. “I believe this program will provide me a fuller and deeper knowledge of working with composites and help me to serve the industry on an expert level.”

The PNAA Scholarship that was funded by Esterline allowed Chris to spend time on his studies and outside projects and less time stressing about finances.  "The PNAA scholarship is hugely beneficial to its recipients by opening up time for them to get involved in extra curricular activities.  Hands-on experience is vital to becoming a great engineer and the PNAA scholarship has allowed me to get hands-on training and use my leadership skills in the development of a radical new aircraft design."

As the Senior Capstone Design Manager on a project to design a Supersonic Cruise, Tailless Biz-Jet, " I was nervous that I would not be able to commit the time to the position.  After receiving the PNAA scholarship I had the confidence that I could make the time to ensure our success."

The scholarship has also allowed me to further my technical training. For the spring quarter, I worked with the Advanced Composites Research Laboratory under Prof.  Paolo Feraboli in order to gain experience manufacturing parts with the latest composite materials.

PNAA Scholarship Recipient Jesse Grant, Everett Community College
Jesse Grant - Everett Community College, Associates Arts & Science Degree

When Jesse Grant was 15, he won an introductory flight at an EAA Fly-in at the Arlington Airport. Ever since that first flight, his passion for aviation has continued.

He credits his mom for his mechanical tendencies.  "As far back as I can remember, my Mom purchased just about anything mechanical or electrical from thrift stores and garage sales.  I didn’t care that these items were often broken or in poor shape.  I enjoyed taking them apart.  Piece by piece, screw by screw, I went through the discovery process, often fixing and mending the broken items.  As I got older, I graduated to the riding lawn mower, family car and, my other passion, motorcycles.  Nowadays, I get the opportunity to take apart some of the most complex and inspiring designs in aviation and I’m still enjoying it."

Now in his second year at Everett Community College where he is pursuing an Associates of Arts and Science degree, Jesse says that he would like to use his skills in an industry that will allow him to provide measurable results in area where he can excel. The PNAA Scholarship will alleviate some financial obligations, and allow him to focus on his studies.

Jesse expects to graduate in 2014 and currently has a 3.5 GPA.  "Thank you to LMI Aerospace and everyone who made this scholarship happen for me!  I appreciate it," he said.

Scott Mansfield
Scott Mansfield - Green River Community College, Professional Pilot Program

Four years ago, helicopter pilot Scott Mansfield made the difficult yet rewarding decision to be a stay-at-home dad to help support his wife’s 23 year military career.  “It wasn’t without hesitation that I gave my eight-week notice to ERA Helicopters and prepared to embark on a new journey,” Scott said.

As his wife’s retirement approaches, Scott hopes to further his career as a commercial helicopter pilot or perhaps pursue a career as a Corporate (fixed wing) Pilot, Major Airline Pilot, or a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Pilot.

“I enrolled in Green River Community College’s Professional Pilot Program in order to prepare for my Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) exam,” Scott said.  Today, he is in his first year at GRCC where he has a 4.0 GPA and expects to graduate in Spring 2014. He has approximately 1,500 hours total time in helicopters and enjoys flying the TH-67 “Jet Ranger,” UH-1H “Huey,” BH - 212 (twin engine Huey), ASTAR B-2 “Squirrel,” and the AH-64A “Apache.”

The PNAA scholarship that was funded by SPEEA will allow Scott to complete his Multi-Engine rating.

PNAA Scholarships benefit the aerospace industry by helping students pursue their dreams and launch their careers. If you would like to help students like Scott, please donate to PNAA scholarship program.

PNAA distributed $25,000 in scholarships to 14 students pursuing aerospace careers at community colleges and universities in Washington State in 2013.


Female Blackhawk Mechanic transitions to civilian aviation maintenance

"Girls don’t become mechanics, right?  Well, this girl proved them wrong.  Thanks to the PNAA for this scholarship.  Your generosity and support have made a difference in my life."  After serving in Iraq as a Blackhawk Mechanic, she made the transition to aviation maintenance on the civilian side.

Helicopter Pilot – US Navy Vet: Joedy is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and, at the Green River Community College, is pursuing  a commercial helicopter pilot’s license.  His goal is to fly for emergency medical services or firefighting.

Repeat Scholarship Recipient: Travis is in his second year at Everett Community College with a GPA of 3.8.  His goal to work for Boeing or a major airline such as Alaska or Southwest as an Aviation Maintenance Technician.

Her goal is to become a Mechanical Engineer:  Brandy is a student at South Seattle Community College in the aviation program.  She wants to design and build aircraft engines and turbines.

B. Sc in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering: wins the Karl Fagan Memorial Scholarship.  Ajdin plans to graduate in 2013 from the University of Washington, and aspires to be a Test Pilot.

Following in his Mom’s footsteps as an Air Traffic Controller:  Kyle plans to complete his Air Traffic Control Program in 5 quarters at Green River Community College.

Aerospace Engineer: taking transfer program at Edmonds Community College
Luke is taking a full case load at the Edmonds Community College and working full time to reach his dream of Aerospace Engineer.

Thank you for contributing to PNAA's Scholarship Program.
To make a donation of any size, please click the button below:


Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance

Mail Stop: 16625 Redmond Way, Ste M #187,
Redmond, WA 98052

Phone: 425-885-0290
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance is a non-profit organization that promotes the growth and global competitiveness of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Cluster. Please consider donating to our scholarship fund.