SCHOLARSHIP SPOTLIGHT: HARRISON FORD EDUCATION SCHOLARSHIP FUND
WHEN ANDREW GUNDERSON TOOK his first Young Eagles flight, he quickly realized he
was meant for the sky. With the help of the Harrison Ford Education Scholarship Fund,
he can pursue his aviation dreams, beginning with earning his pilot certificate.
“After my Young Eagles flight, I wanted to continue my flight training,” Andrew
explains. “I started flight lessons with money I saved during the summer but didn’t
have enough to finish. This award will help me continue taking lessons and achieve my
dreams of flying.”
Andrew’s winning scholarship essay detailed how he became interested in aviation
through watching a local aviation group fly radio-controlled airplanes. He wondered
what it would be like to control a real airplane. Soon, he was flying in a homebuilt
aircraft, enjoying the view from above.
“My first flight was incredible,” Andrew remembers. “I really liked seeing things
from a different perspective. It was cool to control the airplane, because it’s much more
maneuverable than a car.”
Andrew believes winning the award will give him confidence in the future. After
high school, he endeavors to build on his aviation interest with a career in aeronautical
“If I can win a scholarship like this for college, I know I can be successful in my life,”
Andrew Gunderson (right) received a Harrison Ford Education Scholarship that
allocates up to $7,500 toward flight lesson fees. Andrew is shown here with his
flight instructor, Matthew Kurtz.
DRIVING YOUTH DREAMS
Rod Lewis, Lewis Energy Group
WHEN ROD LEWIS MADE HIS winning bid for the custom-built Ford SR- 71 Mustang
at the 2010 Gathering of Eagles Live Auction, he was bidding on more than just a
custom hot rod. His unbeatable bid secured both the unique muscle car and a future
in aviation for many youth.
Founder, president, and CEO of Lewis Energy Group, Rod has long been
dedicated to inspiring youth. Whether it be sharing his extensive warbird aircraft
collection or directly supporting Young Eagles, he believes organizations like EAA
are crucial to sparking an interest in aviation in children and growing it for a lifetime.
Like many, Rod became fascinated with aviation at a young age. His father was a
fighter pilot and instructor, so
his family moved often, from
one Air Force base to the next.
Rod fondly remembers playing
with airplane parts and tools
that mechanics would leave
around. This hobby eventually
led him to build models of
World War II fighters and
bombers and, today, to fly and
collect the “best of the best”
WWII fighters, such as the P- 38
warbirds is a huge commitment
for Rod, one he is passionate about. But even more important to him is honoring
the veterans who flew the aircraft, as well as inspiring younger generations to
become more involved in the world of flight. He believes that through aviation
education and involvement with EAA programs, today’s youth can achieve their
dreams of tomorrow.
Rod, his wife, Kim, and Carroll Shelby at EAA’s 2010 Gathering
WHEN WE THINK BACK to the first days of EAA’s Young Eagles program in 1992, it’s hard to believe those 8-year-olds have reached an age where they might actually pursue careers in aviation. How
time flies! This generational benchmark
truly reminds us how crucial our support for talented youth is
in paving the way for their futures.
Since the beginning of EAA’s Young Eagles and Next
Step programs, we have strongly believed that moving
Young Eagles into the pilot’s seat is made easier with the
help of our members, programs, and scholarships. These
support mechanisms are fueled by individual and corporate
contributions, such as Jim and Angela Thompson’s 2009
challenge gift to launch the Harrison Ford Educational
Scholarship Fund and Rod Lewis’ 2010 Gathering of Eagles
donation that will directly benefit EAA’s youth programs.
Without their support, students like Andrew Gunderson
would not be able to achieve their goals, moving on to
secure the future of flight. We need to continue empowering
younger generations today to ensure they remain motivated
participants and advocates for our industry tomorrow.
The time is now to open the door to aviation for
deserving, hard-working youth. Let’s inspire them to achieve
their wildest dreams. Contact Elissa Lines, EAA vice president
of donor and business relationships, today at 800-236-1025,
or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org to make your contribution.