Three Students Awarded Scholarships from PAACC Enterprise Foundation
Three students enrolled at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA) are awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce (PAACC) Enterprise Foundation. PIA students Daniel Downes, Nathan Stoots, and Michael Woodruff were selected by the PAACC as this year’s scholarship winners based on the combined merits of their GPAs, consistent class attendance, and the commitment and inspiration they expressed in their written essays.
PAACC selected PIA as the beneficiary of the scholarship due to the significant demands in the aviation industry. Filling the high demand for aviation-maintenance jobs is a major challenge, as current demand far outpaces the available supply of trained employees. According to Boeing statistics for the commercial aviation industry alone (not inclusive of numerous additional sectors of aviation), the industry will need 626,000 new AMTs to join the global workforce between 2021 and 2040 with 132,000 of those mechanics needed in North America alone.
Daniel Downes is an aviation maintenance and avionics student in his sixth quarter of study who works as a site trainer at the Allegheny County Airport. His childhood love of Star Wars and hands-on learning led him to stop studying geology and instead pursue a more technical career in the aerospace industry. “PIA presented an opportunity to pursue a passion that I thought I had shut the door on: a chance to get involved in the space industry and work on the cutting edge of aerospace,” says Downes.
Nathan Stoots is in his fourth quarter studying avionics and left his career in business management in order to pursue an aerospace career with the hope of working on a future Mars-bound project. “It would be a dream to have any part in this exciting time in aerospace history, and I feel that it will truly be something to be proud of,” says Stoots.
Michael Woodruff is a fifth quarter student who fell in love with Disney’s "Rocketeer" movie as a child and who was inspired to pursue a career in aviation by the accomplishments both of his grandfather, Cecil Spires, an air traffic controller and radar instructor, and Rollin Woodruff, a NASA engineer during the Apollo missions. “A year after I started at PIA, I can confidently say my life is forever changed,” says Woodruff. “I now have a meaningful career I can look forward to.”
“Through their words and their classroom efforts, these young men have a deep commitment to learning and demonstrate an inspiring passion for the future of aviation and aerospace, and we at PAACC are proud to provide them with financial support,” says PAACC president and CEO, Chris Heck.
“PIA is extremely grateful to the PAACC Enterprise Foundation for making these scholarships available so our students can have greater financial peace of mind while they focus on their training,” says PIA president and CEO, Suzanne Markle. “Daniel, Nathan and Michael have such boundless enthusiasm for science and technology, which industry employers love to see. These scholarships can help make their pursuit of rewarding and fulfilling careers in aviation and aeronautics a reality.”
This year, the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce Enterprise Foundation invited PIA students in quarters two through six to apply for three $5,000 scholarships for the Fall 2021 term. Scholarship applicants were evaluated for a number of criteria, including attendance, academic performance and financial need.
The Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce facilitates and optimizes business-growth strategies for professionals in 34 communities in the Western Pennsylvania region, including Moon, Robinson, Findlay and North Fayette Townships. PAACC Enterprise Foundation is dedicated to promoting aviation-related careers in the Pittsburgh area.