Women in Aviation Scholarship to Help Student Achieve Her Dreams


Sadaf Imani

Sadaf Imani, an OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies senior majoring in aviation, is already realizing her dream of being a pilot and flight instructor. But her aspirations don’t end there.

With plans to graduate in May, Imani works in the OU aviation department where she teaches flight students in single-engine aircraft. She hopes to take that instruction to the next level by getting certified to instruct flight students in multi-engine aircraft.

“Although I’m a commercial multi-engine pilot as well as a flight instructor, I’m not able to instruct flight students for multi-engine aircraft until after I receive my Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI) certificate,” Imani said. “I have always enjoyed pushing myself to learn more and grow, not only as an individual but also as a professional pilot. Earning my Multi-Engine Instructor certificate is my next step in professional development.”

She may be able to reach that goal sooner, thanks to the American Airlines $5,000 Educational Scholarship she recently received from Women in Aviation International (WAI).

“I hope young girls who want to pursue aviation as a career look up to not only my achievements, but also to all the achievements of the successful women in the field. I hope they become inspired and believe that they, too, can go after their dreams.”

Imani was one of only three people awarded the prestigious scholarship. She’ll accept the award later this month at the WAI annual conference in Reno, Nevada.

She said she’s looking forward to attending this year’s conference and accepting the scholarship. She attended the same conference last year while participating in an internship with American Airlines. A pilot recruiter she met during that internship told her about the award, so she applied.

“I was amazed at how welcoming and kind everyone was towards me, and the mentorship that I received was beyond anything that I could have imagined,” she said. “I met many successful women in the aviation industry, and that was a great reminder for me to believe in myself and my abilities and to continue on my journey.”

Imani said close friends and relatives discouraged her before she started her aviation journey. She said although there are still obstacles for women in male-dominated fields, the opportunities for women in the aviation industry continue to grow.

“What helped me the most was my perseverance and self-determination. I didn’t want to regret not pursuing my dream 10 years down the road and working a job I wouldn’t get excited about,” she said.

“It’s still surprising, yet exciting, to find other women who are in the aviation industry and rocking it,” she added. “I hope young girls who want to pursue aviation as a career look up to not only my achievements, but also to all the achievements of the successful women in the field. I hope they become inspired and believe that they, too, can go after their dreams.”

While Imani’s career goals include working for a major airline flying transatlantic routes, she can’t help but imagine something even bigger.

“My biggest dream regarding aviation is to go to space,” she said. “The mystery of it all is so fascinating. Just thinking about it makes me excited.”

Do you dream of becoming an aviation professional? Learn how you can get started with a degree in aviation.

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Tami Althoff

Tami Althoff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is a reporter with more than 20 years’ experience working for newspapers, including The Oklahoman. She has covered everything from breaking news to local music and art. She loves sports, especially OU football and basketball games, where she often embarrasses her children by yelling too loudly.