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Four young women named as inaugural Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship recipients

For Immediate Release: 03/06/2020                                                                                                                                                   

communications@northernlightsaerofoundation.com

TORONTO, March 6, 2020 – The Northern Lights Aero Foundation and Air Canada today announced four admirable winners of the inaugural Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship. The announcement coincides with Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, leading up to International Women’s Day 2020.

The scholarship was launched last September, at the Elsie MacGill Award Gala in Toronto. This national award program of the Northern Lights Aero Foundation recognizes and celebrates the achievements of accomplished women in aviation and aerospace. Other initiatives of the Northern Lights Aero Foundation include a speakers’ bureau and a mentorship program.

 “We actively advance diversity through several initiatives, and we are especially thrilled to champion the next generation of women in non-traditional aviation careers by announcing the winners of the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship, named in honour of our trailblazing, accomplished first female pilot. Our message to young women is to follow your aviation dreams and know there are rewarding careers for all qualified people,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer at Air Canada.

 “This scholarship will help other women overcome financial barriers to pursue their dreams, whether flying airplanes or fixing them. Thank you to Air Canada for making it possible for me to experience the most amazing career in the world and for encouraging other young women in their passion for aviation. I admire the determination that these four amazing young women have to pursue their flying. Their accomplishments to date are outstanding. One day, I expect to be a passenger on an Air Canada airplane and hear them make the announcement, ‘This is your Captain speaking’,” Judy Cameron said.

The winners of the inaugural Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship each receive $5,000 toward their studies in aviation.  All four are also pursuing their commercial pilot’s licence. They are:

Yasna Taieb - second year aviation student at Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre and Conestoga College, Canadian Armed Forces reservist and first-generation Afghan Canadian. Yasna is the co-chair of the Abingdon Foundation Mentorship Program, and is involved in the aviation community internationally, through the Abingdon Foundation and Women in Aviation International. She founded a Mentorship Program set to launch mid-2020 with the aim to engage, empower and educate females in all phases of life in STEM fields. Yasna is also on the Executive Team as the Social Media and Marketing Manager for the Ninety-Nines’ Waterloo on the Grand Chapter in Waterloo, ON.

Urooj Ali – studying Geography and Aviation at the University of Waterloo. Urooj joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program at the age of 12, successfully completed the Glider Pilot Scholarship in Quebec at the age of 16 and became the highest-ranking and sole female cadet with a pilot’s licence. Urooj was driven to start-up a program called ‘Neptune’s Young Optimists’ which allowed every child from a less fortunate community an equal chance for a successful future. The mission of her club is to provide a place where children can overcome barriers, find leadership opportunities, build positive relationships, and enhance their skills.

Rebecca Beylerian - pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Calgary, Jazz flight attendant, volunteers with the Civil Aviation Search and Rescue Association (CASARA), Air Cadet Program, Elevate Aviation, and The Ninety-Nines. She is the President of the Alberta Rocky Mountain High Women In Aviation (WAI) Chapter in Calgary. Rebecca was also the event organizer for Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD).

Olivia White - completing a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics Leadership at the University of Windsor, volunteers with Air Canada Rouge for the Girls Take Flight event in Oshawa. She has been a member of the Ninety-Nines’ Waterloo on the Grand Chapter since 2017 and is involved in the Northern Lights Aero Foundation mentorship program. In the summer of 2017, Olivia was accepted into the CEO Leadership Program at Muskoka Woods. This four-week program included leadership training from international business leaders, who taught creative problem solving, communication skills, and innovative thinking.

The Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship recognizes and celebrates the achievements of accomplished women studying in aviation and aerospace. Air Canada has committed to awarding $20,000 per year for three years. It is open to young women pursuing non-traditional aviation careers as commercial pilots or aircraft maintenance engineers who may not have the financial means to do so. Applications will be accepted each year from November 1 to December 31.

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About the Northern Lights Aero Foundation

The Northern Lights Aero Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that recognizes outstanding Canadian women in aviation and aerospace. Its mission is to encourage women in Canada to succeed in careers in aviation and aerospace by: recognizing and celebrating the achievements of accomplished women; engaging in outreach, facilitating mentorship and providing scholarship opportunities. In support of the mission the Foundation inspires and encourages increased participation of women in these industries by: heightening the visibility of honourees as role models; promoting awareness of the vast opportunities in all sectors; and ensuring organizations recognize and benefit from women's diverse and untapped talents.

The Foundation’s national awards program, The Elsie, was established in 2009, and each year honours up to eight women for their contributions in specific aviation and aerospace disciplines. Award categories are: Flight Operations (civilian), Government, Business, Education, Pioneer, Engineering, and two Rising Stars. The nomination deadline for 2020 is March 31.

For more information, please visit northernlightsaerofoundation.com, and follow @NorthernLightsAero on Facebook and Instagram.

 About Air Canada

Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline serving nearly 220 airports on six continents. Canada's flag carrier is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2019 served over 51 million customers. Air Canada provides scheduled passenger service directly to 62 airports in Canada, 53 in the United States and 101 in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America.

Air Canada has been recognized multiple years as one of Canada’s best diversity employers through its multi-pronged initiatives to foster a diverse workforce across its 37,000 employees worldwide. Approximately 16,000 are women, with women comprising 33 percent of Air Canada's senior management decision makers. Additionally, 45 percent of the management team are women, and 45 percent of recent promotions have been to women.

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