Southwest Airlines believes educated communities are empowered communities and that every student should have the opportunity to pursue their educational dreams. We support this vision through two scholarships: the Herbert D. Kelleher and Rollin W. King Scholarship that is available to dependents of Southwest Employees, and the Southwest Airlines Scholarship, which is a community-centric scholarship available to students across the country. The mission of the Southwest Airlines Scholarship Program is to encourage students to explore careers in the aviation industry and support Southwest’s efforts toward building a diverse talent pipeline.
Southwest has committed to awarding $290,000 over four years to these 17 recipients through these scholarships. As a fun surprise, each student also received two round-trip tickets on Southwest to help them stay connected to their loved ones throughout the year.
Our 2023 scholars are attending universities across the country, including the University of Tennessee, Tuskegee University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Harvard College, and more. Most are just beginning their college adventures and have their eyes on an aviation career, working towards degrees ranging from aerospace engineering to aviation business administration. Several students are actively pursuing flight training and aspire to become Southwest pilots!
Last month, we had a chance to visit with our scholars and celebrate their achievements. Here’s what they had to say:
What’s your advice for future scholarship applicants?
“Don’t give up on your dreams. They’re all attainable as long as you are willing to put in the effort.” —Jake C., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
“I would tell them that Southwest is open to all applicants and to express their future and end goal when applying.”—Randall M., Tuskegee University
“Find someone that can testify on your behalf and write an amazing letter of recommendation so that your application can stand out from the rest of the crowd.”—Eric Z., Middle Georgia State University
Where would you like to travel on Southwest?
“I would love to fly to the Turks and Caicos because of the natural beauty of the islands. Also to get away from the cold and dreary weather here.”—Eric Z., Middle Georgia State University
“Milwaukee to go to Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Airventure in Oshkosh, WI!”—Jake C., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
“I would travel to Colorado because I haven’t been there before, and it’s at the top of my bucket list!” – Rani G., Oklahoma State University
What are you looking forward to this school year?
“Getting my orientation flight!” —Randall M., Tuskegee University
“I am currently waiting on my private pilot checkride, so I am looking forward to the day when am finally able to get it and be able to rent out a plane and take my family up in the air with me.” —Eric Z., Middle Georgia State University
“I’m looking forward to learning more about the aviation industry!” – Rani G., Oklahoma State University
And lastly, when we asked if our scholarship recipients preferred the window, aisle, or middle seat, we loved Eric Z.’s enthusiasm for our beloved Southwest wingtips! “Window seat, duh. How else am I supposed to get my wingtip pictures?”