Previous Winners and Reports

Scholarship History

History of the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund

Initiated in 1968 in memory of WG#84 Doris Mullen, a dedicated and professional pilot who lost her life in a fixed-wing aircraft accident, the scholarship program has grown from one single $500 scholarship to a range of scholarships valued in excess of $150,000 in recent years.

The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc., (WGSF) was incorporated in 1974 to oversee and administer the scholarship funds raised by the Whirly-Girls and its Associate Membership (formerly the Auxiliary), and is a federally tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity.

The scholarships are funded through donations, sponsors, proceeds from the Whirly-Girls merchandise booth and silent auction at HAI HELI-EXPO, and the efforts of Whirly-Girls volunteers and Associate members.

Scholarship Winners Since the 1970s

Advanced Mountain Flight Training Scholarship

Flight training sponsored by WG#4, Nancy Livingston Stratford; In loving memory of WG#1339 Keiko Minakata
Ground training sponsored by Western Helicopters, Inc.

2009 – WG#548 Terri Watson
2010 – WG#1387 Margaret West
2011 – WG#1523 Jennifer Bartley
2012 – WG#1498 Susie Nguyen
2013 – WG#1715 Adele Dobler
2014 – WG#1724 Sarah Raffaelli
2015 – WG#1509 Katrina Hallgren
2016 – WG#1806 Esther Cranga
2017 – WG#1850 Melissa Wnorowski

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Agricultural Air Services Flight Training Scholarship

Sponsored by Agricultural Air Services, formerly P&S Agricultural Services

In loving memory of Karen Johnson, WG#1520

2014 – WG#914 Joanna Gollin
2015 – WG#1816 Jessica Martin
2016 – WG#1866 Ashlyn Parker

Airbus Helicopters Flight Training Scholarship

Sponsored by Airbus Helicopters, formerly American Eurocopter

2001 – WG#1118 Fiona McKee
2002 – WG#1136 Paula Lacey
2003 – WG#890 Rikke Carmichael
2004 – WG#548 Terri Watson
2005 – WG#1260 Stacia Reinhardt
2006 – WG#586 Georgina Hunter-Jones
2007 – WG#1123 Carol Herlihy
2008 – WG#1398 Kate Winder
2009 – WG#1409 Tiffany Cobb Till
2010 – WG#1543 Kristie Lynn Ellis
2011 – WG#1394 Michelle Bostick
2012 – WG#1611 Kelly Anderson
2013 – WG#1566 Buffy Stevenson
2014 – WG#1238 Jana Tobias
2015 – WG#1363 Sabine Buehlmann
2016 – WG#1835 Sarah Smith-Dufton
2017 – WG#1133 Cathleen Perdok

Air Evac Lifeteam Bell 206 Factory Flight Training Scholarship

Sponsored by Air Evac Lifeteam

2014 – WG#1766 Holly Boniface
2014 – WG#1711 Joni Schultz
2015 – WG#1714 Banumathi Cole
2015 – WG#1822 Savannah Christy
2016 – WG#1782 Cristina Gonzalez Odriozola
2016 – WG#1854 Louise Nutter

Antipodean Aviation and Embry-Riddle Wire and Obstacle Environment Awareness Course Scholarship

Sponsored by Antipodean Aviation and Embry-Riddle University

2016 – WG#697 Dolores Greenlaw
2017 – WG#1355 Michelle Hovey

Aviation Specialties Unlimited NVG Training Scholarship

Sponsored by Aviation Specialties Unlimited

2010 – WG#1462 Ioana-Metazenia Athanasiou
2012 – WG#1387 Maggie Mutahi Beseda
2013 – WG#744 Pamela Gallina
2015 – WG#1782 Cristina Gonzalez-Odriozola
2016 – WG#1715 Adele Dobler

Bell Helicopter Textron Turbine Transition Scholarship

Sponsored by Bell Helicopter

1996 – WG#935 Teresa Robbins
1997 – WG#740 Lisa Brand Di Giovanna
1998 – WG#998 Melanie Real
1999 – WG#1070 Janie Foster
2000 – WG#1055 Aimee Moore
2001 – WG#1147 Brooke Young
2002 – WG#925 Ginger Marie De Villa-Rose
2003 – WG#1190 Lea Weinkauf
2004 – WG#1206 Patricia Boyer
2005 – WG#1258 Atsuko Funaki
2006 – WG#1292 Cindy Grover
2007 – WG#1349 Elan Head
2008 – WG#1371 Sarah Murphy
2009 – WG#1477 Laura Leigh Wendt

Boeing Scholarship

1998 – WG#463 Marybeth Seavy

Bristow Group Commercial Scholarships

Sponsored by Bristow Group

2016 – WG#1872 Tosha Cypher
2016 – WG#1890 Marie Fanjoy
2016 – WG#1874 Alison Martin
2016 – WG#1711 Joni Schultz
2016 – WG#1357 Sherri Spagnola

Doris Mullen Flight Training Scholarship

See the Whirly-Girls Memorial Flight Training Scholarship from 2008

1968 – WG#141 Gale Brownlee
1969 – WG#142 A. Page Shamburger
1970 – WG#152 Terry Rinehart
1971 – WG#160 Joann Osterud
1973 – WG#187 Esther Wolf
1974 – WG#136 Teresa McClelland
1975 – WG#194 Sue Matheis
1976 – WG#219 Cyd Fougner
1977 – WG#247 Nelda Lee
1978 – WG#255 Jeni Arton
1979 – WG#285 Maria-Elena Keran
1980 – WG#352 Barbara Sweet
1981 – WG#327 Dorothy Aiksnoras-Vallee
1982 – WG#365 Valerie Scott
1983 – WG#413 Catherine Adams
1984 – WG#381 N.C. Jeep White
1985 – WG#515 Laura Goldsberry
1986 – WG#545 Catherine Rumsey
1987 – WG#452 Anna MacInnis
1988 – WG#606 Christina West
1989 – WG#453 Adele Budroe
1990 – WG#520 Kay Bowman
1991 – WG$#492 Elena Ventres
1992 – WG#745 Carolyn Lucy-Yarian
1993 – WG#765 Linda Gentry
1994 – WG#884 Elizabeth Ebisuzaki
1995 – WG#351 Patricia Fields Neubert
1996 – WG#306 Patricia De Roche
1997 – WG#746 Leigh Herrmann Harris
1998 – WG#548 Terri Watson
1999 – WG#925 Ginger De Villa-Rose
2000 – WG#694 Colleen Gilmartin
2001 – WG#1120 Yvonne Kelhetter
2002 – WG#465 Beverly Haug-Schaffter
2003 – WG#1125 Amy Fowler
2004 – WG#1112 Angela Wittenberg
2005 – WG#1261 Laurie Ann Puckett
2006 – WG#1279 Elizabeth Cook
2007 – WG#1356 Orla Engstrom

Embry-Riddle Commercial Helicopter Pilot Ground School Course Scholarship

2016 – WG#1872 Tosha Cypher
2017 – WG#1363 Sabine Buehlmann

Enstrom Scholarship

1978 – WG#268 Carolyn Prazak
1979 – WG#288 Vera Solovyow
1980 – WG#295 Sherry Rossiter
1981 – WG#326 Vicki Karnes

Erickson Vertical Reference/External Load Flight Training Scholarship

Sponsored by Erickson Incorporated, formerly Erickson Air Crane

2014 – WG#1721 Celeste Hadley
2015 – WG#1752 Margot Taylor
2016 – WG#1754 Chelsi Nelson

Esther “Jerry” Gardiner Memorial Scholarship

2004 – WG#1204 Lisa Pendergrass

FlightSafety International Bell 206 Initial Pilot Scholarship

Sponsored by Flight Safety International

2012 – WG#1584 Nicole Vandelaar
2013 – WG#1730 Annie Paya
2014 – WG#1788 Laura Ilunga
2015 – WG#1829 Rebecca Joseph
2016 – WG#1894 Christine D’Arbel
2017 – WG#1771 Jessica Kanellos

FlightSafety International Instrument Refresher Scholarship

Sponsored by Flight Safety International

1998 – WG#330 Anita Self
1999 – WG#744 Pamela Gallina
2000 – WG#1122 Colleen Campbell
2001 – WG#1130 Marcia Weiss
2002 – WG#1123 Carol Gerngross
2003 – WG#1131 Rebecca Chambers
2004 – WG#744 Pamela Gallina
2005 – WG#1040 Jen McSkimming
2006 – WG#367 Sue Knoebel
2008 – WG#1070 Janie Foster
2010 – WG#1260 Stacia Reinhardt
2011 – WG#1562 Laura McIlrath

Garmin GTN & G500/600 Course Scholarship

Sponsored by Garmin Ltd.

2016 midyear – WG#1766 Holly Boniface
2016 midyear – WG#1329 Laura McColm
2017 – WG#1877 Melissa Hanthorn

Guidance Aviation Helicopter Instrument Rating Scholarship

Sponsored by Guidance Aviation

2016 – WG#1888 Lechelle Dippenaar

Helicopter Services, Inc. Flight Training Scholarship

Sponsored by Helicopter Services, Inc.

2005 – WG#1235 Julia Visser
2006 – WG#1322 Lorena Knapp
2007 – WG#1319 Shelley Sailer

Jean Ross Howard Phelan Memorial Scholarship

2005 – WG#1142, Sarah Deal

Jean Ross Howard Phelan Whirly-Girls International Scholarship

2001 – WG#914 Joanna Gollin
2002 – Khadija Mohamed Abdijah
2003 – WG#1195 Alison Husain
2004 – WG#1213 Patricia Calder
2005 – WG#1155 Helen Krasner
2006 – WG#1307 Bettina Schleidt
2007 – WG#1339 Keiko Minakata

Judy Short Memorial Flight Training Scholarship

Funded by WG#62, Nancy Lee Graham

2006 – WG#890 Rikke Carmichael
2011 – WG#1600 Rochelle Lee Arias

Night Flight Concepts Night Vision Goggle Initial Pilot Qualification Scholarship

Sponsored by Night Flight Concepts

2016 midyear – WG#1290 Natalie Jones
2017 – WG#1701 Sarah Snell

Northeast Helicopters Flight Services, LLC Scholarship

Sponsored by Northeast Helicopters Flight Services

2007 – WG#1329 Laura McColm
2008 – WG#346 Judith Stanton

Oregon Aero Online CRM Scholarship

2015 midyear – WG#1841 Samantha Poirier

Oregon Aero CRM/AMRM Instructor Training Scholarships

Sponsored by Oregon Aero and Randy Mains

2015 midyear – WG#1307 Bettina Schleidt
2015 midyear – WG#1835 Sarah Smith-Dufton
2016 – WG#697 Dolores Greenlaw
2016 – WG#1426 Becky Grimsrud
2016 – WG#1659 Marnie Hill
2016 midyear – WG#1874 Alison Martin
2016 midyear – WG#1833 Lorraine Skalla
2017 – WG#1921 Sami Challburg
2017 – WG#1357 Sherri Spagnola

Oregon Aero Crew Resource Management Training Scholarships

Sponsored by Oregon Aero and Randy Mains

2016 – WG#1833 Lorraine Skalla
2016 – WG#1357 Sherri Spagnola

Pritchard Air Services Scholarship

Sponsored by Pritchard Air Services

1997 – WG#1077 Leslie Atlan
1998 – WG#1021 Janice Cuneo

Robert and Dayle Walden Memorial Scholarship

Sponsored by Leigh Harris, WG#746

2016 – WG#1764 Holley Gardel

Robinson Helicopter R22/R44 Safety Course Scholarship

Sponsored by Robinson Helicopter

2002 – WG#1033 Linda Wiekhorst
2002 – WG#1179 Jada Schell
2003 – WG#740 Lisa Brand DiGiovanna
2003 – WG#1150 Amaryllis Khat
2004 – WG#998 Melanie Real
2005 – WG#1230 Michelle Vorel
2005 – WG#740 Lisa Brand Di Giovanna
2006 – WG#1307 Patricia Calder
2007 – WG#1369 Erin Huston
2008 – WG#1307 Bettina Schleidt
2009 – WG#1495 Karen Mall
2010 – WG#1425 Sandra Steffenson
2011 – WG#1639 Tara Sturm
2012 – WG#1673 Jessica Ward
2013 – WG#1729 Heather Dingman
2014 – WG#1773 Madeline Von Bokel
2015 – WG#1793 Venida Hayes
2016 – WG#1881 Helen Brazier
2017 – WG#1941 Amy Hartt

Robinson Helicopter R66 Safety Course Scholarship

Sponsored by Robinson Helicopter

2017 – WG#1932 Elena Dawson

Robinson Helicopter Maintenance Course Scholarship

Sponsored by Robinson Helicopter

2014 – WG#1335 Michelle Hovey
2015 – WG#1759 Tracy Zedeck

Survival Systems USA Aircraft Ditching Course Scholarship

Sponsored by Survival Systems USA

2011 – WG#1566 Buffy Stevenson
2012 – WG# 1650 Krista Holstrum
2012 – WG#1634 Elizabeth Kassman
2013 – WG#1745 Marie Anna Johansson
2013 – WG#1686 Kim Barwick
2014 – WG #1480 Courtney Pierce
2014 – WG #1178 Dianna Stanger
2015 – WG#1827 Megan McCall
2015 – WG#1357 Sherri Spagnola
2015 – WG#1819 Alexandra Thorsen
2016 – WG#1781 Tammie Gillette
2016 – WG#1771 Jessica Kanellos
2016 – WG#1833 Lorraine Skalla
2017 – WG#1921 Sami Challburg
2017 – WG#1878 Abigail Stogdale

Thurn-Herr Annual Advanced Training Scholarship

Sponsored by Edward Thurn and Ellen Herr

2017 – WG#1340 Megan Dukes

Vortex Helicopters, Inc. Scholarship

Sponsored by Vortex Helicopters, Inc.

2004 – WG#768 Cathy Yelle
2005 – WG#1259 Sarah Neely

Justin Weaver Memorial Scholarship

2006 – WG#1283 Genevieve Kelly
2007 – WG#1355 Michelle Hovey

Whirly-Girls Helicopter Add-on Flight Training Scholarship

Sponsored by the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund

1982 – In Memory of Hanna Reitsch, WG#1
WG#371 Viola Topper

1983 – In Memory of Dottie Young
WG#297 Ellen Corder Walker

1984 – In Memory of Dr. Dorothy Jean Flint
WG#375 Roseanna Ballard

1985 – In Memory of Hanna Reitsch, WG#1, 30th Anniversary
WG#460 Enid Casper

1986 – In Memory of Hal Jones
WG#433 Debbie Childress

1987 – In Memory of Valerie Johnson, WG#195
WG#535 Kathleen Greene

1988 – In Memory of J. Arlo Livingston
WG#623 Pamela Bryant

1989 – In Memory of Tony Page
WG#67 Lee Wilkerson

1990 – In Memory of Sheila Scott
WG#79 April E. Williams

1991 – In Memory of Jeannie Dent, WG#518
WG#783 Andria Myers-Duncan

1992 – In Memory of Gini Richardson
WG#995 Noelani Mars

1993 – In Memory of Major Marie T. Rossi
WG#808 Janet Archibald

1994 – In Memory of Bob Suggs
Lisa Asplin

1994 – In Memory of “Cully” Weadock
WG#953 Carol Walker

1995 – In Honor of Tom Stuelpnagel
WG#985 Ingrid Kernstock

1996 – In Memory of Joe Mashman
WG#1008, Sheryl Rogers

1997 – In Honor of Jack Real
Aletha Back

1998 – In Honor of Peter Wright
WG#1071 Marina Saettone

1999 – In Memory of Eleanor Falk, WG#18
WG#1125 Amy Fowler

2000 – In Memory of Nancy Lee McKay
WG#1148 Terri Paulk

2001 – In Memory of Don Harvey
WG#1236, Heather Harris

2002 – Lori Miller

2003 – Julia Brooke Meissner

2004 – Danielle Smiley

2005 – WG#1362 Kristen Schultz Labrecque

2006 – WG#1473 Teresa Quinliven

2007 – In Memory of Ilovene Potter
WG#50 – WG#150, Kara Kessler

2008 – In Memory of Robert Vetter
Niki Mondek Gaskins

2009 – Rachel Miller

2010 – Nikolina Guldager

2011 – Tracy Ellen Zedeck

2012 – Mary Baker

2013 – Victoria Holt

2014 – Laura Abraham

2015 – Nicole Cabana

2016 – Yasmina Platt

2017 – Nancy Bradshaw

Whirly-Girls Memorial Flight Training Scholarship

In Memory of Jean Ross Howard Phelan, Jim Phelan & Doris Mullen

2008 – WG#1385 Kat Nesbit
2009 – WG#1468 Cynthia Laddon Kaase
2010 – WG#1070 Janie Foster
2011 – WG#1556 Deborah Moseley
2012 – WG#1435 Angie Griffin
2013 – WG#1705 Heather Pelley
2014 – WG#1543 Kristie Hanson
2015 – WG#1398 Katherine Garrison
2016 – WG#1823 Sarah Melick
2017 – WG#1340 Megan Dukes

Reports from Scholarship Recipients

Whirly-Girls Scholarship Winner – Survival Systems USA Ditching Course

By WG#1357 Sherri Spagnola

I would like to extend my deepest and most humble gratitude to the Whirly-Girls, Survival Systems USA, and all involved in affording me the opportunity to attend the Aviation Survival and Egress Training Course (ASET2) in September. It was truly an amazing experience. I will carry with me the information and training I received for the remainder of my career.

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I was a bit nervous in the weeks leading up to the course but both my nervousness and concern were unnecessary and quickly dispelled.

The staff greeted us warmly immediately upon our arrival.  The atmosphere at the facility was both casual and energetic. Our instructor, Dan McInnis, is well versed on the subject matter and has a terrific ability to present the necessary material while keeping the participants engaged and the learning environment light. Dan and the entire staff at Survival Systems USA worked effortlessly together and were with each of us every step of the way to ensure our understanding, comfort, and safety.

Our two-day course was packed with information as well as a variety of activities and scenarios to test our individual and collective abilities. Allowing for flexibility to customize your training to suit your personal career path is one added advantage. After we successfully mastered the required tasks on the first day, they increased the difficulty of the scenarios and requirements to create even more life-like situations. The second day’s activities expanded our knowledge while encouraging us to grow both as individuals and as colleagues within the field of aviation.

Participating in team-building activities along with more demanding individual tasks concluded our training regimen. This simulated training is as realistic as you can get without actually being there. From the information presented, the sights, sounds, and feel of being there to performing under authentic yet safe conditions, the entire experience far exceeded my expectations.

Realizing that learning is mostly retained by utilizing both discussion and hands-on participation, Survival Systems USA certainly knows how to prepare and guide their students. I am both onoured and privileged to have been afforded participation in this amazing course. Thank you to the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund and to Survival Systems USA for this incredible learning opportunity. I am forever grateful.

Airbus Scholarship in the AS350 Helicopter

By WG#1363 Sabine Buehlmann

To attend the Airbus Helicopters AS350 factory training is a once-in-a-lifetime chance and who would ever want to miss that? This year, I had the great pleasure of being the 2015 Whirly-Girls scholarship recipient for this turbine transition. The training I received at Airbus Helicopters at the Grand Prairie, Texas, facility in June is the most thorough and sophisticated training program I have ever attended.

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After being an active Whirly-Girl for many years, attending HELI-EXPOs and helping with the booth setup and sales, I was more than happy that one of my numerous scholarship applications was finally selected. Honestly, this taught me the valuable lesson of preparation plus persistence leading to pure joy. My advice is to never stop applying for scholarships because the Whirly-Girls career support is truly amazing!

The course started with three full days of theoretical training plus an exam, and a very thorough preflight of an AS350B3e. The B3 class challenged participants, as it covered all information ranging from the B2 model to the B3e, distinguishing between variations in power plant, limitations, hydraulic systems and other features.

Those who are familiar with this helicopter know why it is also nicknamed the “squirrel,” since hovering and landing can be somewhat edgy in ground effect. My instructor, WG#1138 Gina Guthrie (who is also from Germany), was very cool about this fact as she has already met many pilots who find it difficult to transition to the AS350.

The best day without any doubt was the flight in the B2 with single hydraulics as well as another B3e flight in the afternoon. The highlights of the week were the autorotations and other emergency procedures.

This week was one of the most valuable training weeks I have ever had in my helicopter career. I am now working on getting the training credited as a European EASA type rating. I am extremely thankful to both the Whirly-Girls and Airbus Helicopters for providing this scholarship. I will continue to help spread the word for helicopter pilots, especially girls, to join and support the Whirly-Girls and keep the rotor RPM in the green!

One Whirly–Girl’s Scholarship NVG Training Experience at Aviation Specialties Unlimited -2015

By WG#1782 Cristina Gonzalez

My experience at Aviation Specialties Unlimited (ASU) was fantastic. The staff at ASU was very welcoming and friendly. Justin Watlington was in charge of my training and went above and beyond during my time there and made the training informative, efficient and fun with his stories and sense of humor.

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I learned all the basics about night vision goggles, their uses and their capabilities. My favorite part was the hands-on training flying a Bell 206 Jet Ranger. That first night I was pretty nervous considering I had very little experience flying a turbine helicopter and no experience flying a Jet Ranger. On top of that I was learning to fly it while using NVGs and a movable searchlight for the first time, and it made the beginning of that lesson feel like the first day of flight school. I was also wearing a helmet for the first time and that made me feel pretty cool, although I later saw a picture of myself and realized I looked like an excited kid playing dress-up. Mr. Watlington made the training fun and active and there was so much to learn and practice that there was never a boring second.

Flying with NVGs was pretty surreal at first, in that it’s amazing how little we actually see when flying unaided night VFR. It seems like we are flying blind without goggles. Now, when flying to a new location at night, I feel like I wouldn’t want to fly without NVGs after this experience.

This scholarship has helped me get a small taste of what flying with military technology will be like. I owe this thank you to the Whirly-Girls and ASU for offering these amazing scholarship opportunities to members.

2014 Robinson Safety Course Scholarship Winner     By WG#1771 Madeline VonBokel

I was granted the 2014 Robinson Safety Course Scholarship from the Whirly-Girls. This included classroom training and a flight with one of the many talented Robinson instructors. I could not contain my excitement so by the time I arrived in Torrance, California, 11 months later, I was ready to learn.

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I am a flight instructor in St. Louis, Missouri, at Midwest Helicopters where I fly Robinson R22s and R44s daily. This course was full of a lot of information that will definitely benefit me. There was so much information to take in, and the instructors were so knowledgeable that I don’t know if there was anything they didn’t know about the aircraft.

My flight training was done in the R44, and I flew with two very talented and experienced pilots. I learned so much from both of them. In St. Louis there are not many hills or mountains like there are in California, so one of the instructors took me up into the mountains for a flight I will never forget.

I was also shown other maneuvers that helped me get a better understanding of the aircraft. I cannot give enough thanks to the Whirly-Girls and Robinson Helicopters. This has been a truly great experience.