• Published
  • By Maj. William Mojica
  • 934th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL AIR RESERVE STATION, Minn.--Several members of the 934th Airlift Wing participated in the 7th Annual Girls in Aviation Day event hosted by the Women in Aviation International at the Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, Minn., Sept. 25.

After the 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participating in this year’s event was something the wing’s Reserve Citizen Airmen looked forward to.

“This was my third year participating in the event and my first year organizing volunteers on behalf of our wing,” said Master Sgt. Robert Lee, 934th Logistics Readiness Squadron acting first sergeant. “Having the opportunity to get other units involved presented a few challenges with COVID, but the benefits of being able to bring our members and have Air Force Reserve representation was great. I really want to increase our wing’s involvement moving forward for many reasons including increasing our diversity and inclusion with future Airmen and professionals.”

GIAD is a free event for youth to learn about career opportunities in aviation and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. According to a KSMP interview held with Stephanie Goetz, vice president of WAI Stars of the North.

“The reason we put this on is because we want to introduce more girls to aviation as a career, a hobby, a love, or an adventure,” said Goetz. “The thing about why this is so important is that roughly only 6% of pilots are female [and] we want to increase that number. It creates a diversity of thought [and] a diversity of perspective.”

In addition to traditional careers people think of with aviation, the 934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron also had flight nurses available to speak to their role as medical aviators.

“I was honored to represent the AE community and share how we help our fellow service men and women, and their families all over the world,” said 1st Lt. Myra Costello, 934 AES flight nurse. “I was thrilled with the response that we received from the children and their families. As a first time participant, it was also great to talk to other women in aviation and see the pursuit that have been made over the years.”

GIAD is aimed at encouraging female participation in STEM and aviation related careers. Although the event is geared for girls ages 8-17, everyone is welcome to attend.

“It’s a fun event and watching the kids’ faces when answering their questions and seeing their inquisitiveness was incredible,” Lee mentioned.

According to their website, “Since 1990, Women in Aviation International (WAI) has been dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation career fields and interests. Forming in 2014, Stars of the North became the 97th chapter of WAI, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.”

“This is an opportunity for them to say ‘I can do this, why not me,’” Goetz said.