OU Extended Campus School of Aviation Studies Professional Pilot senior Cameron Morgan received a $5,000 Advanced Flight Training Scholarship at the 2019 National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) Industry Expo in Palm Springs, California, on Friday, Feb. 2.
Morgan received one of only two Advanced Flight Training Scholarships presented at the expo, both sponsored by Delta Airlines in partnership with the NGPA, as well as an all-expense paid trip to the Industry Expo to receive the award.
“The award ceremony was huge,” Morgan said. “Probably the most memorable moment for me was getting to meet everyone there. They were so welcoming and even ecstatic that I was not only one of the scholarship recipients, but also it being my first NGPA event ever."
Morgan’s desire to become a pilot began when he was invited to the cockpit of a flight at just 6 years old.
“The captain brought me up to the front of the cockpit, showed me all the buttons and even letting me pretend to fly the plane,” he said. “From that day forth, I knew becoming a pilot was the career for me. Plus, I made a pinky promise to him that one day I would be a pilot."
Founded in 1990, the NGPA is the largest international organization of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) pilots and other aviation enthusiasts from around the world.
“I wanted to join a group that supports me as a gay man, a lover of aviation and an aspiring pilot,” Morgan said of his decision to join the NGPA. “I wanted to be a part of a group that understood me as a person and as a pilot, along with meeting other people who share common interests."
Scholarship candidates were scored on a variety of criteria, including financial need, leadership opportunities, academic performance, involvement in the LGBTQ+ community and quality of their application essays. Awards were not based on gender identity or sexual orientation, but applicants were required to demonstrate their advocacy for the LGBT community as part of their application. Applicants also had to be NGPA members at the time of application.
“I learned about the scholarship shortly after I joined NGPA,” Morgan said. “I decided that I had nothing to lose and decided to apply. The application process was quite lengthy, requiring personal information, resume, academic records, flight records and ratings, personal short essays and two letters of recommendation. I think it took me a month or two before I submitted everything."
Morgan has put the scholarship proceeds toward earning his multi-engine rating.
“I’d like to give a special thanks to both NGPA and Delta Air Lines for supporting both my aviation career and my childhood dream,” he said. “Also, thanks to the University of Oklahoma School of Aviation Studies faculty, staff and my current and former CFI’s. But, most of all, thanks to my family for their continuous support in my education and pursuit of becoming a pilot."
For more information about the School of Aviation Studies and the degree programs it offers, visit pacs.ou.edu/aviation. To learn more about the National Gay Pilots Association and the scholarships it offers, visit ngpa.org.