RACCA Announces Scholarship Winners

The Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association awards five students $2,000 scholarships each through its growing scholarship fund. The five students hail from across the nation and are pursuing careers as aviation maintenance technicians, aviators and airline management.

"As costs rise for an aviation career, scholarships are becoming critically important," says RACCA president, Stan Bernstein. "For that reason we have been expanding the number of awards each year, thanks to the generosity of our members and associate members. These outstanding young people are well-deserving. The RACCA Aviation Scholarship was designed for exactly the type of student represented by these outstanding young people and who have expressed interest in the air cargo industry. All excel in their academic work as well as athletic or community service. We are proud to be help them on their journey."

The five include John Tucker, Center, CO; Luke McKenzie, Rochester, MN; Maxwell Cote, Marston Mills, MA; Kathryn Benhoff, Troy, IL; and Ruby Jacobs, Novato, CA. 

Ruby Jacobs, a freshman at Bridgewater State in Massachusetts, always wanted to pursue aviation and worked to build an airplane with other students at San Marin High School. During this time she met retired pilots who served as mentors and who transformed her love of aviation into a career path. Her pursuit of aviation, she hopes, will help break gender stereotypes about pilots and encourage other women to pursue careers in aviation. Jacobs grew up in Swampscott, MA, and expects to rise through the ranks to become a certified flight instructor before moving to a small regional airline and a regional cargo carrier. Her ambition is to fly jets out of Boston Logan Airport. 

John Tucker attends Colorado Northwestern Community College. After watching crop dusters over the farms in his hometown, it wasn’t until college he developed a strong passion for aviation, leading him to become a pilot. A top-level student, Tucker is a member of the collegiate flight team and placed second in the region, qualifying for a national competition. In addition to his studies he assists in the college’s aircraft maintenance program. A regular on the dean’s list, Tucker is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He is actively pursuing building time and will use his scholarship to fund flight hours. He plans on flight instructing after graduation before joining a regional cargo carrier. He expects to ultimately make his way up the ranks. An avid 4-H member, Tucker is an award-winning competitor in robotics and has volunteered in local schools introducing student to robotics and STEM. He is also a participant in the RoboRave International competition in both the U.S. and Japan.

Hailing from Southwestern Illinois College, Kathryn ‘Kate’ Benhoff is seeking a career as an aviation maintenance technician after demonstrating a high degree of scholastic and mechanical ability. She wants to pursue aviation safety and is keen to interact with pilots and mechanics to work through important safety improvements within the industry. She worked hard to earn her flight instructor ratings before transitioning to aviation safety and maintenance school. With a strong maintenance background, she is pursuing a well-rounded knowledge base to improve the industry. In the upper one percent of her class, Benhoff has also displayed her abilities as a leader. She has worked with the National Transportation Safety Board where she learned the importance of maintenance and safety. 

Maxwell Cote attends Cape Cod Community College’s aviation maintenance technology program. Cote follows his parents into aviation after growing up as the son of two professional airline pilots. His love of aviation was fostered by constant visits to the local airport where he did numerous odd jobs, including sweeping the hangar and cleaning planes. He chose aviation maintenance for its work and life balance. Cote just completed his 15-month AMT program. He is also a certified airframe technician as well as a peer tutor. He is currently a mechanic helper at Cape Air, where, after receiving his powerplant rating, he will become an airframe and powerplant technician. He will continue his education at CCCC to earn his associate in applied science degree in aviation maintenance technology in 2019. He ultimately plans to earn a bachelor's degree in aviation management and feels it essential to have on-the-job experience for managing such operations. 

An aviation management student at the University of North Dakota, Luke McKenzie was inspired to pursue an aviation career after reading Hard Landing by Thomas Petzinger. McKenzie always had “a burning passion to be up there” in the air. He is pursuing an aviation management career and is a member of the Student Aviation Management Association. McKenzie, who considers himself lucky to be bitten by the aviation bug, hopes to join a regional cargo carrier and ultimately rise through the piloting ranks to management after receiving his Multi-Engine Instrument Commercial pilot certificate. He is an officer of the Delta Chapter of Alpha Eta Rho, an international aviation fraternity, and a member of the Student Aviation Management Association. He also received the UND Presidential Scholarship. In addition to his studies and tutoring new Americans at Red River High School, McKenzie is assistant manager at a 92-unit apartment complex. 

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