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Manvel teen hoping to inspire next generation of female pilots

17-year-old Jayden Walker's passion for aviation and desire to grow the industry has earned her a scholarship named after a heroic pilot.

MANVEL, Texas — Imagine being at 5,000 feet in the air and having your hands on control. At just 17 years old, that’s exactly what one Manvel teen is doing as she hopes to inspire the next generation of female pilots.

Jayden Walker is hoping to pursue a dream and take aviation to new heights.

“It just feels different being up in the air," Walker said. "Like you can see everything from like a different point of view. and that's what I really liked about it." 

It’s a passion that goes back to when she was a toddler.

“Me and my brother, we would always play with planes," she said. "Like, we didn't like playing with Legos."

It didn’t hurt that she had a great example.

“My father is actually an airline pilot,” Walker told us.

With graduation from Manvel High School coming up and her eyes set on the skies, Jayden looked for scholarships and wrote an essay about women in the aviation industry.

“Among the total population of airplane pilots, only about 3.4% of them are women,” Walker said.

Credit: Jayden Walker

She ended up being one of two people in the country to become a recipient of the LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Foundation scholarship.

“We receive approximately 200 to 230 applications,” said Brian Florence, the Aviation Community Development VP with the LeRoy Homer Foundation.  “With the LeRoy Homer Foundation, they created a scholarship that would award a private pilot certificate, which is the first pilot license if you will, in becoming an airman.” 

For information on the scholarship and the foundation visit the LeRoy Homer Foundation website. 

Credit: Jayden Walker

But beyond the money is the man whose name it bears. LeRoy Homer was a pilot of Flight 93 which, on September 11, 2001, took off from Newark, New Jersey. LeRoy and those on board never made it home, but they took heroic action.

“They chose to fight back and to take a stand,” said Florence. “How like he sacrificed all that and it's just, I'm in awe of like, what he did,” said Walker.

And wearing LeRoy’s name, Walker is aiming to take the future of who we think fly planes.

“Just changing that kind of stereotype and just, like, inspiring other females,” said Walker.

She's hoping to help take the industry higher than ever before.

“I think we can just do anything that they can do. it maybe even better,” Walker said. 

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