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Scholarship Helps a Young Mother Achieve Her Dreams

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Non-traditional aviation student Erica Gilbert had always dreamed of a “different and exciting” career, but initially struggled to get those dreams off the ground. The Georgia native enrolled in a nearby college right out of high school, but her parents’ divorce altered her plans. This change in circumstance led her to Kentucky with her sister, who was pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Kentucky.

“I worked little jobs here and there,” Gilbert said. “I was looking at joining the military, because I realized I didn’t want to do those dead-end jobs anymore.” Her plans to enlist, however, were put on hold. “I couldn’t pass the physical, because I was pregnant.”

After Gilbert's son was born, she heard about EKU’s aviation program and wasted no time enrolling. Now, she’s president of the Women Aviation International chapter at EKU and a recipient of the Patricia Eidson Memorial Scholarship.

Although EKU offers an affordable tuition rate, the fees associated with any aviation program add significant cost. “The Patricia Eidson Scholarship really does help relieve some of that financial burden in a major way,” Gilbert said. “It’s a huge, huge blessing.”

Never having considered pursuing aviation when she was a child, one of Gilbert’s goals as president of EKU’s Women Aviation International chapter is “to help bring light to little girls that they can be pilots.” Upon graduating from EKU, Gilbert plans to pursue a master’s degree and gain experience in aviation. Ultimately, she hopes to come back to EKU as a flight instructor to educate the next generation of aviators. 

 

Published on January 21, 2021

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