Ensign Serena Hart , Naval Aviator, with Jill Meyers and CAPT Tamara Graham at her commissioning ceremony.

Surrounded by displays of the rich history of aviation, WAI San Diego chapter held our End-of-the-Year event on December 13 at the Gillespie Field Annex of the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

Our 2019 Board of Directors was announced. Congratulations to President Jill Meyers, Vice President Christina Munro,
Secretary Michelle Hylton, Treasurer JoAnn Minor
, Committee Coordinator Hanna Fowler, Membership Chair Jessica Arnold, Outreach Co-Chairs Meadow Chase and Paris Krula, and Fundraising Chair Lesli Bandy.

We had a wonderfully successful silent auction and raised $565! Thank you to all who contributed and participated.

We reviewed our 2018 events and previewed some of the exciting events planned for 2019. We will have a Tour of Southern California TRACON, an Airport Management Career Panel, and a great line-up of Guest Speakers including Pilot/Author Robin Kardon, UCSD Sally Ride Science Junior Academy representative Megan Vowles-Lancaster, and
AOPA Ambassador Kay Sundaram. So much to look forward to!

Here is a preview of 2019!

  • We announced our new 2019 Scholarship! Thanks to support from the Point Loma Credit Union, we are awarding a scholarship to help one person attend the 2019 International Women in Aviation Conference in March in Long Beach, CA. Apply before January 12, 2019 and feel free to share this information with friends, family, coworkers, and other aviation enthusiasts
  • Our 2019 Girls in Aviation Day will be an extra special event! We will be hosting 200 girls on a specially-tailored overnight program on the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum! Stay tuned for more information on this in mid-January.
  • Our spring fundraising Gala will be held on May 17th, which will take place at the Thursday Club at Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma. More information will be available in early 2019.
  • Tommy and Brenda from the Dynamic Scrip company were in attendance and joined Lesli in talking about our new Dynamic Pay fundraising program.

Women in Aviation

San Diego Chapter



$500 & $250

Congratulations to our  WAISD Chapter Scholarship Winner

Congratulations to our previous WAISD President, Serena

Hart, commissioned as a United States Naval Officer.

Jill and Serena on the Day of her induction into the U.S. Navy as she prepares to head off for Officer Candidate School.

Chapter Member Serena Hart was commissioned as a United States Naval Officer on July 20th in Newport, RI after a rigorous 12 weeks of Officer Candidate School.. Chapter Member Jill Meyers was in attendance along with CAPT Tamara Graham who conducted the private commissioning ceremony. CAPT Graham is a Navy helicopter pilot with an incredibly impressive resume and currently serves as Vice-President and Chief of Staff of the Naval War College.

It was Ms. Meyers’ honor to witness the graduation, as she has mentored Serena from the beginning of her endeavors into Naval Aviation - she was one of three crucial Letters of Recommendation for Serena’s application earlier this year.

Ensign Hart is following in the footsteps of Ensign Shea Davis-Herrera, former WAISD chapter member, who commissioned last year and is currently excelling in Flight school in Pensacola, FL. Both Ms. Meyers and CAPT Graham were a part of her private commissioning in the same manner as Ms. Hart. In October of this year Serena will join Shea in Florida to begin Flight school. It seems as though a tradition has begun!

WAISD celebrates 2018 and prepares for an exciting year

See more photos here.

Congratulations to Catherine Durand for being the winner of the 2018 WAI San Diego Chapter Scholarship!

With this scholarship, Catherine will be able to attend the upcoming 2019 International Women In Aviation Conference.

Always ready for the next new and exciting adventure, she's currently on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard and flies the MH-60T.

She can't wait to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity to meet other women in the industry and to also learn about the many different career paths available to her.

WAI San Diego's 2016 Scholarship Award Winner Announced

Women in Aviation International (WAI) San Diego Chapter is pleased to announce the winner of their 2016 Aviation Career Scholarship. WAI San Diego Chapter President Jill Meyers awarded the $2,500 scholarship to Eileen Shea Davis, to recognize Shea’s aviation accomplishments thus far and to acknowledge her impressive career goals.



Jill represented the Scholarship Committee in saying, “It was my honor to award our first Chapter Scholarship to Shea, who exemplifies what WAI is all about. We strive to provide support and encouragement to women seeking challenging careers in aviation and aerospace. Shea’s personal and career successes, and determination to do great things in aviation, far exceeded those of the other applicants.”

Shea grew up in Southern California with a love for the sciences. From the time she was a very young girl, she wanted to venture into space and explore the unknown. Shea graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and an emphasis in Marine Biology. After graduation, she joined the United States Navy as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate, working on maintenance and upkeep of aircraft engines. Once she got a taste of the aviation life she was hooked.


Shortly after she enlisted, Shea decided to work towards a commission as a Naval Aviator. To that end, she began studying Professional Aeronautics at San Diego’s Miramar Community College in pursuit of an Associate’s Degree. Shea also began taking flying lessons with local aviation legend Dave Derby, flying his Citabria out of Gillespie Field.

She submitted her Officer Candidate School application package in October and is eagerly awaiting the results. After getting her Navy commission, Shea’s goals are to fly the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and hopefully get orders one day to join NASA’s astronaut corps. In winning this scholarship, Shea said, “I hope to follow in the footsteps of the strong women who have already made great strides in advancing women in science and aviation, and I hope to inspire and mentor other women and girls who also have the dream of flight and space exploration.”

The WAI San Diego 2016 Aviation Career Scholarship was funded by the University of California San Diego (UCSD), who now runs the nonprofit Sally Ride Science, an organization that inspires young people in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Dr. Edward Abeyta, Director or Pre-Collegiate and Career Preparation Programs & Assistant Dean for Community Engagement said “UC San Diego is pleased to support WAI’s efforts to engage, inspire, and develop young women to be our next engineers, pilots, and much more in this high growth industry sector.”

 A portion of the scholarship money will be used to fund Shea’s flight training hours as she works to complete her private pilot certificate. The remaining funds will be used to send Shea on an all-expenses paid trip to the 2017 International Women in Aviation Conference in Orlando, Florida in March. WAI San Diego and UCSD congratulate Shea Davis in being selected for this award.
  Update: Shea was accepted and has completed Officer Candidate School and is currently in Pilot Training in Pensacola, FL.

WAISD exhibited as part of the Memorial Day Legacy week and spent time discussing Women in Aviation, our mission, the benefits of membership, and GIAD.

The USS Midway Museum’s “Legacy Week” commemorates Memorial Day  in San Diego. 

The lineup of activities included from a Wreath Memorial ceremony, benefit concert, family activities, blood drive, interactive exhibits and more. Midway’s Legacy Week is designed to honor and remember our heroes and celebrate our military heritage.  It's also an affordable and inspiring way to kick off summer in San Diego on one of the most iconic museums in the world. Get more information on Legacy Week 

Congratulations Cynthia and Lesli!

Our chapter is proud to announce that we not only have one winner but TWO! Cynthia Hernandez and Lesli Bandy are our 2018 Scholarship Winners! These ladies are both close to their Private Pilot check ride and will be applying these funds towards achieving their dreams! Cynthia flies with Coast Flight Training and has plans to become a CFI and then on to the regional and major airlines. Lesli flies with Plus One Flyers out of Montgomery-Gibbs Airport and has plans to use her Private Pilots License to help inspire at-risk teens into career fields in aviation. Our chapter is so proud of these two women in aviation!

Update: Lesli and Cynthia were able to use their funds for flight training and are now both PRIVATE PILOTS!

Jill Meyers had this to say about Serena:

"My greatest joy in life is helping others achieve their dreams. It was my honor to write a letter of recommendation last year for my friend Serena Hart, who I had selected as the person to transition into my role as President of the Women in Aviation International (WAI) San Diego Chapter. The letter I wrote was to the US Navy’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) selection board. On her own merits, Serena was accepted into Navy OCS with a guaranteed a slot as a Naval Aviator! 

It was my honor to attend her OCS graduation in Newport, RI, where my good friend CAPT Tamara Graham conducted the commissioning ceremony. Needless to say, it was one of the proudest days of my life. Congratulations, Ensign Hart! It is my honor to be your friend and mentor, and I can’t wait to follow your career as a fighter pilot."

Photo Credits: Jill Meyers

WAISD President Jill Meyers honored with

 2016 Women in Leadership Award


WAI San Diego Chapter Represents at USS Midway Memorial Day Event

Irvine High School Student Awarded Summer

Scholarship to Sally Ride Science Junior Academy

WAI San Diego is pleased to announce that Karina Orozco has been selected to receive a scholarship provided to us by UCSD Extension, for one middle- or high-school student to attend the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy. The Junior Academy is in its second year and offers science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) workshops for students entering 6th-12th grade. During these workshops, students assume the roles of space explorer, ocean engineer, computer scientist, and more as they immerse themselves in hands-on projects.

Karina is a sophomore at Irvine High School and is interested in basketball, photography, video production, and Photoshop. She expressed interested in this scholarship partly due to the hands-on nature of the program. Karina said she "loves technology and the fact that it is always evolving, and because our world revolves around it." She is looking forward to working with different technologies that she doesn't have access to in school. Karina said that she "believes that being able to collaborate with new people will be a great experience to have for later in life; overall I think this will help me learn and grow in a fun and positive way!"

We are thrilled to award this scholarship to Karina for the 2017 program, and we extend our thanks to our sponsor, UCSD Extension. Get more information on the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy.