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College Scholarship Award Winners Announced

The next generation of aviation professionals will soon be heading off to college – and the Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) and the Virginia Airport Operators Council (VAOC) are helping some of them get there. This week, three high school seniors were awarded scholarships based on their accomplishments, backgrounds and, most importantly, their aviation ambitions.

Eleanor Lombardi of Henrico County was awarded $2,500 as the winner of the DOAV’s Willard G. Plentl Sr. Aviation Scholarship. One of the young student’s accomplishments was being selected as a flight student for the Pathways Flight Academy. This free summer program enabled Eleanor to earn flight hours towards her private pilot’s license. She said that it was not a single moment that inspired her to become a pilot but, “rather, it’s a collection of little moments… [that] added up to something bigger.” Eleanor will be working towards a Bachelor of Science in Professional Flight at Auburn University.

Katelyn Miller of Hamilton, Va. is the recipient of the VAOC’s John R. Lillard Foundation Aviation Scholarship. The $3,000 award will help the aspiring astronaut reach her goal of an engineering degree. Katelyn was accepted into engineering programs at the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and NC State University. One of Katelyn’s biggest takeaways from flight training was the sense of community that supported her. “I was shy about working with people and struggled to admit that I can’t do everything myself – aviation taught me otherwise,” she said in her essay.

Emmett Moorhouse of Norfolk is the winner of the $3,000 Kenneth R. Scott Aviation Scholarship. He is an Eagle Scout, a competitive fencer, and earned his private pilot’s license in 2023. Emmett wants to earn an aeronautical engineering degree and go on to be an airline pilot. It seems this high school senior will remain a life-long learner. Emmett said, “Constantly learning is part of being a pilot. In this way flight is a passion I will never grow out of.” Emmett has been accepted into engineering programs at University of Colorado Boulder, Purdue University, and Michigan State University.

The Plentl, Lillard, and Scott aviation scholarships are awarded annually to high school seniors in the Commonwealth who will pursue an aviation-related program at a higher education institution. Eligibility requirements and applications for these scholarships can be found at

Article provided by: Tony Sotelo, Public Relations and Education Specialist 

Contact: 804-774-4634 or email

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