|Brenda is the 2007 Girls With Wings Scholarship Winner.
She will journal her pilot's license progress here.
Why I'm here:
I began flying in the summer of 2006. The rush was amazing; I had instantly
fallen in love with flying. I flew constantly, and I got up to about 10 hours of
flight time. Then I realized that my pocket was empty. My wages were not
enough to continue. I moved on to college and I am now finishing up my
second year. I received an e-mail from a friend letting me know about GWW
and the opportunity on a scholarship. I read the qualifications and I instantly
got excited. I said “why not, I could win this” so I set my mind to it and I
submitted my essay. A week before the scholarship winner was announced I
received a call from Lynda Meeks herself. I was so nervous and I wasn’t
prepared for any of her questions, I was on my way to work. So I decided to
just be myself. She was easy to talk to and really understanding. I couldn’t
believe at that point that she was actually considering me! December 1st,
2007 is when the winner was going to be announced. Before I opened my e-
mail I said to myself “it’s probably not me, someone else might be more
deserving” because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I took a deep breath
and as I read on, I saw my name and I still couldn’t believe it. It was an
amazing feeling - I couldn’t help but cry. I instantly called my mother and
made a huge deal out of it, because to me it was like winning the lottery.
Because the money I received was money that my mother would make working
seven days a week for 2 months. It felt even better after making both my
parents happy because all their lives they have felt helpless with my career
choice and it was a relief to them to know that I can get moving once again.
This spring I will continue with my flying thanks to Lynda Meeks and GWW.
My name is Brenda Alarcon and I am 20 years old in my second year of
college. I was born and raised in the county of Los Angeles California with my
mother, my father and three brothers. I am the second of the four. I believe
that ambition is the key to opportunities, and ambition is what I have carried
with me throughout my life. I would love to pass on my ambition to future
female pilots out there; motivate and support them in any way possible. My
future is based on goals, challenges, and the triumph of flight. My passion for
flying has taken me this far and is continuing to take me even further, a place
where the sky is the limit.
I began looking up to the sky when I started high school and I have continued
since. My parents were never involved with my school work, they didn’t make
me join a sports team or take ballet classes. My future was in my own hands,
and I knew that I had to take action soon. People always ask me “how did you
become interested in flying?” when I have this question asked I answer: “my
father is a construction worker and my mother is a housekeeper; therefore, I
decided to step outside the box and have a real profession.” I became
motivated to become something more, and I became ambitious to follow my
heart and do something I love for the rest of my life.
My relationship with aviation began during lunch hours in high school. I would
always go visit the college office, and I always sat down and tried to figure out
what college I was going to attend and what my career was going to be. I
always wanted to get involved in any college or career fairs and I always
wanted to find out what was out there. I found out in one of those fairs that
women can be pilots and that there aren’t many out there; that is when I
became familiar with Women in Aviation (WAI). This got my attention; I
immediately fell in love with aviation. One summer in high school I wanted to
try something; I wanted to find out more about aviation and what my path
options were. I attended a week long summer program that introduced high
school students to the aviation industry; I saw many different airports and
met many different pilots. From that point on I knew I could do this; I knew
that someday I will be able to fly airplanes for a living. From that point on I did
research on what to do after high school.
I searched for schools with aviation majors, and it was not common to find
public schools with an aviation program. There were a few private schools, but
that was really not the right option for me during the moment; I didn’t have
the money then to afford a private institution and I don’t have the money
now. I ended up applying to many schools, but I chose San Jose State
University. SJSU gave me a great vibe with their aviation program, it turned
out to be my first choice, even if it meant turning down the notorious “UCs.”
I began taking flying lessons for my private pilot’s license about a year ago
but I had to stop because I was financially unstable. I was in a non profit
organization called the Aviation Explorers Post 747. This organization was for
high school students who had an interest in getting their private pilots license.
As soon as I joined I had to complete seven months of community service
served to prove that I did have the passion to fly, and that I was dedicated to
what I wanted to do. It was seven long months, but well worth the wait; I
began to fly. It was such a good feeling to finally satisfy my craving to fly. This
organization helped me out a lot with two free lessons a month. Lessons were
slow, but it was all I could do at that point. Soon enough I had a job. Each
paycheck went towards my flying lessons. Unfortunately, my financial status
did not help me much once I moved out to start school in San Jose. The little
money I had went to books, food, housing, and clothes. But this is not
preventing me from continuing to dream and pursue my goal. My goal to
some day become a professional corporate pilot.
Here I am now, trying to tag along with anything going on around town that
has the word “aviation” in it. Before finishing high school I had joined WAI
without really knowing what they were all about. But once I started attending
SJSU I became much more involved. I have been a member since 2006. Here I
am making new friendships. In San Jose I also started attending the Santa
Clara Valley 99’s. They are amazing ladies and very involved. But
unfortunately, I didn’t have the time for the meetings. I wanted to make some
money to start flying. So I started working two jobs. I am currently a full time
student at San Jose State University majoring in aviation, taking 16 units, and
working two jobs. As much as I love shopping, I have managed to cut on the
shopping to afford my flight lessons’ considering one of my jobs is at the
mall! My other job as a front desk receptionist at a flying club has me
surrounded by pilots and planes; I enjoy chatting with everyone. It’s difficult
to continue when I feel like if dreaming is all I will achieve, but my passion
keeps me strong and keeps my head looking up at the sky.
The airport really became a second home to me. If it was not for a flight
lesson, it would be just to hang out with the pilots in the pilots’ office or even
just having a BBQ at a hanger. I have dedicated so much time towards my
career in aviation that I have grown into a much more passionate future pilot.
I’m planning to start flying again; Lynda Meeks and GWW have really helped
me take a step back into that runway. I have a goal to reach, to get my
private pilots’ license this New Year 2008, and I will do whatever it takes.
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|Learn a little 'bout life on the
road as a pilot!
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