Tampa International Airport (TPA) in Florida hosted an event to raise US$20,000 toward a scholarship for young women in aviation – in partnership with the Tampa Bay Chapter of Women in Aviation and aviation network Sheltair.
The Tampa Bay Chapter of Women in Aviation will manage and distribute the scholarships from the funds. The event, named Girls Achieving Leadership in Aviation (GALA), hosted 150 attendees. Surrounded by old-school aircraft, the space was designed to take on an air of the 1940s with the help of The Deleon Band singing tunes from the period.
Dorothy Cochrane, an aeronautics curator with the Smithsonian Museum and the first speaker of the night, focused on the history behind the first all-women airshow that took place 75 years ago. Cochrane also spoke about Betty Skelton, the “First Lady of Firsts”, and her contributions to the show as well as her history in the aviation and automobile industry which included setting 17 aviation and race car records.
The second speaker of the night was Shanan Gibson, dean of the college of business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, who focused on the women currently in aviation, speaking about students that have passed through the university and how the aviation industry has impacted their lives.
The keynote speaker, Nicole Stott, a retired NASA astronaut, shared her journey in the aviation industry as well as her time in the astronaut program and women’s belief in themselves and what they can do. Jane Davis Doggett, responsible for the blue and red wayfinding system at TPA, was also in attendance and was presented the Spirit of Flight Honoree award by Joe Lopano, the CEO of TPA, for her work in the aviation industry.