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Press Release August 24, 2018


Lori Trent, PAST Foundation - Jill Meyers, Dreams Soar –

PAST Welcomes Shaesta Waiz of Dreams Soar

Columbus, OH ORBAA (Ohio Regional Business Aviation Association) is proudly hosting Shaesta Waiz as the speaker and moderator for Girls Soar: Exploring STEM Careers in Aviation on Thursday, September 20, 2018. Shaesta’s amazing story from Afghan refugee to the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single engine aircraft fascinates us all!

We would like to invite you to join us in meeting Shaesta at a mixer event on September 19, 2018, from 4-6pm at the PAST Innovation Lab in Columbus, OH. The invitation list includes individuals from ORBAA membership, PAST Foundation, I Know I Can, Ohio’s two and four year academic programs, event sponsors, community and industry leaders and student organizations.

On March 27, 2018, Waiz’s outstanding accomplishments were acknowledged by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, when she was awarded the 2018 Trophy for Current Achievement. To further recognize and honor her contributions to the Smithsonian’s aviation and exploration heritage, Waiz will forever be memorialized as her name is now inscribed on the National Air and Space Museum’s Wall of Honor at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

The Wall of Honor is a permanent memorial created of airfoil-shaped stainless-steel plaques honoring the men and women who have had a passion for flight. The wall contains icons of aviation and space including Waiz’s own inspiration and mentor, Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world. Waiz once stated, "The first time I visited the Wall of Honor, I remember standing there, reading the names of my heroes and legends in aviation. In that moment, I felt very empowered to follow my dreams in aviation and to make a difference in this industry we all love so much. Now that my name is inscribed on this memorial, I find myself very honored and humbled. I hope my name will represent to young visitors that with enough persistence, hard work and passion, regardless of who you are, your dreams will soar."

In 2014, Waiz started the non-profit organization Dreams Soar, Inc. Waiz flew a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 aircraft around the world solo on a 145-day trip in 2017, flying approximately 25,000 nautical miles across five continents, visiting 22 countries where she had the opportunity to inspire over 3,000 children and young adults. While visiting each stop, she told her inspirational story to encourage young people globally to consider education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and aviation, and to always remember to never give up on pursuing their dreams in life.

Born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan in 1987, Waiz and her family immigrated to America to escape the brutal Soviet-Afghan war. At the age of 18, Waiz discovered her passion for aviation during her first airplane ride from California to Florida to visit family. She was eventually accepted as a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, the first in her family to do so. Waiz has a commercial pilot rating and is the first civilian female pilot from Afghanistan.

Waiz has said, “Every time I open the door to an aircraft, I ask myself, how did a girl with my background become so lucky? The truth is, anyone can be me. You must believe in yourself and allow your dreams to soar.”

For more information on Waiz and the Dreams Soar team, visit Dreams Soar’s website:

About Dream’s Soar, Inc.

Dreams Soar, Inc., is a 501© 3 non-profit organization founded by Shaesta Waiz, a dual graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, whose mission is to inspire the next generation of STEM and aviation professionals. The global solo flight was the first phase of Dreams Soar’s worldwide effect to inspire and empower the (STEM) and aviation, specifically for young women and minorities. For more information about Dreams Soar, visit

Photos of Shaesta:

B-roll:!As0JaG_sW0H9gt4Qr1M4rlyaxzlbIg A36 Bonanza -

About ORBAA The Ohio Regional Business Aviation Association (ORBAA), is an industry organization that promotes business aviation in the state of Ohio. ORBAA centers its activities around three primary pillars; Aviation Advocacy, Aviation Workforce Development, and Aviation Training and Education. Ohio is the birthplace of Aviation. ORBAA honors this distinction by partnering with the State of Ohio to attract and retain a skilled workforce and through its collaboration with Ohio’s numerous two and four-year Aviation degree programs, (internships, mentorships, curriculum review). ORBAA has been reaching K-12 students informally with its members hosting airport and aircraft tours and by giving presentations at youth group initiatives. ORBAA’s new partnership with The PAST Foundation, I Know I Can, and Dreams Soar, Inc. is a formal initiative to create awareness and pathways to middle school students. The dedication to workforce development is a very effective way for ORBAA members to reach out, give back, and to prepare our workforce of tomorrow.

About PAST Foundation For over 18 years, PAST, a non-profit foundation, has been a leader in designing STEM education across the nation, bringing transdisciplinary problem-based learning to educators and experiential programs to students. Most notably, PAST was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for its Excellence in Innovation in the STEM 2026 vision report. PAST was the only educational entity in Ohio to be included in this publication (full report). PAST was also recognized in 2014, by CGI America and former President Bill Clinton for their outstanding work, and again in 2015 for their achievements in improving STEM education in rural America. In 2015, the PAST Innovation Lab was recognized by the White House Summit on High School Design.

For more information on PAST Foundation and how you can link learning to life, visit or contact Lori Trent at


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