I Hart Flying Foundation’s ‘Industry Connect’ Themed Scholarship Opportunity Delivers $35,000 in Awards to Five Women in Flight


Five women see their dreams in flight excel with I Hart Flying Foundation as part of its five-year anniversary celebration. The Industry Connect themed scholarship opportunity launched at EAA AirVenture, the world’s largest airshow, July 25-31 in Oshkosh, Wi and spanned a four-week open application process where an 11-member scholarship committee had the difficult decision to select the Class of 2022 Hart Scholars.


“This year, the ladies really brought their A-game, had merit, character and showed the grit we look for in selecting the best candidates for our Hart scholarship awards,” shared Rachelle Spector, founder and CEO of I Hart Flying Foundation. “I’m excited to announce our five newest Hart Scholars to include Isvet Martinez in Aledo, Texas, Kelsey Harbison in Billings, Montana, Hannah Rust in Northern Virginia, Kristin Brooks in Denver, Colorado and Valerie Meyer in Southern Illinois.”


Four aviation companies stepped up with IHFF recognizing that entering flight training is becoming increasingly expensive, which affects our ability to supply the industry with a diverse, qualified pipeline of pilots. They include Immaculate Flight, Paragon Aviation Group, AEG Fuels and Dassault Falcon Jet. Aside from the reality of a pilot shortage, women still make up less than 6% of ATP‘s (airline transport pilot rated) in the world. There are so few female ATP‘s, you can fit them all on an airbus A380.


“I am so unbelievably honored and excited to have been chosen as a winner of the Industry Connect scholarship opportunity with I Hart Flying Foundation,” expressed Kelsey Harbison who is currently a commercial multi-engine student pursuing her CFI certificate with this award. Aside from earning her CFI, her long-term goal is to fly Part 135 cargo, medevac, and aerial firefighting.


Hannah Rust remained determined when she applied for the Hart Scholarship in 2021 and was not chosen. “My aviation journey has taught me determination and perseverance, so despite not receiving a scholarship last year, I am so glad that I didn’t give up. I decided to focus on how I could best serve, and I have found the true joy of flying is sharing the gift of aviation with others. Being awarded this scholarship, I feel energized to continue the work of increasing awareness and exposure to the amazing opportunities within STEAM careers,” Hannah shared. “I love I Hart Flying’s mission to empower and equip our community with the tools needed to succeed. Their genuine care and enthusiasm to see women flourish in aviation is inspiring!” Hannah is pursuing her Instrument Flight rating with short term goals to become an instructor, and long-term, fly professionally within business aviation.


Each award is between $2,500-$5,000 of a flight training scholarship. Scholars also receive various in-kind donations from partners adding more than $3,000 in value. As IHFF celebrates their five-year anniversary this July, it’s incredible to note they have awarded more than $150,000 in scholarship funding, training packages, pilot supplies, and flight training equipment to 26 scholars since 2017. As a hands-on organization, the I Hart Flying team also provides active mentorship and counsel to their scholars, aiding them along their aviation careers including military, commercial, business, air medical, humanitarian, and cargo.


IHFF invites others to get involved. The more charitable funds raised, the more opportunities and scholarships IHFF can offer together for women to take flight. Additional funds raised will also support travel needs for Hart scholars to attend NBAA-BACE in Orlando from October 18-20, 2022, where they will have the opportunity to be face-to-face with all industry partners, network and share their experiences, and help inspire others.


For giving and partnership interest, please contact Lyndse Costabile, corporate relations at lyndse@ihartflying.org.