Women in Aviation, International
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|Founded||1990 (Incorporated 1994)|
|Founder||Dr. Peggy Chabrian|
Women in Aviation International (WAI) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, that is dedicated to providing networking, education, mentoring, and scholarship opportunities for both women and men who strive for careers in the aviation and aerospace industries. WAI also aims to promote public understanding of notable American women in the aviation industry.
Peggy Baty Chabrian, who was dean of academic support for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University had been having trouble attracting and keeping female aviation students. In order to attract more women, she suggested a seminar and invited Moya Lear, Jeana Yeager, Shannon Lucid and Bobbi Trout to speak at what would become the first annual conference in 1990.
Due to the success of this annual conference, the organization was incorporated in 1994. As the founder of the Women in Aviation Conference, Chabrian was named the first full-time president and CEO of the organization in 1996 by its Board of Directors.
Ea- ch year Women in Aviation Interna- tional has hosted its annual conference, which has grown- from 150 participants in 1990 to a- n approximate 4,500 in 2015. In 1996, there were 1,- 400 women attending the conference. In 2013- , there were more than 3,000 attendees.Men constituted t- he majority of attendees in 2016, a tren- d noted at previous confe- rences.
The conference includes educational workshops, networking opportunities with various aspects of the aviation industry, a scholarship awards banquet, and the annual WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Approximately a half million dollars in scholarship money was being awarded by 2004. The WAI distributed the 10 millionth scholarship dollar and gave out a total of $661,234 during the 2016 conference. A portion of the scholarships are awarded to men.
In 1996, Robin Lamar and Marcia Buckingham sponsored an organizational meeting for aviation and mechanics at the WAI annual conference, leading to the formation of a new group, called the Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance.
Female pioneers have significantly contributed to the industry for women. June Maule, managed the Maule Aircraft company located in Georgia. Patty Wagstaff was a notable airshow pilot that showcased her flying skills across the country including the largest airshow on the planet, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
Girls in Aviation Day
In 2015, WAI launched Girls in Aviation Day® observed on last Saturday of the month of September.  The day is intended to interest girls, ages 8 to 17, in aviation careers. Individual WAI chapters design programs and activities for the day.
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