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HAI awards its 2021 scholarship winners

August 4, 2021  By Naomi Szeben

Helicopter Association International (HAI) has awarded nine HAI scholarships for 2021.

These scholarships are available to aviation students around the world, and support HAI’s mission to educate the next generation of helicopter professionals. HAI makes up to 15 scholarships available each year, funded through donations and other fundraising events.

This year’s awards comprise one scholarship for students in helicopter maintenance technician programs, one for pilots working toward earning their commercial helicopter rating, one for safety professionals, and six for established maintenance professionals seeking training for specific helicopters or components.

This year’s nine HAI scholarship recipients are:


• Hanna Santamaria of Denver, Colorado, who was presented the $5,000 Commercial Helicopter Pilot Rating Scholarship. Hanna, who is studying at Leading Edge Flight Academy in Bend, Oregon, holds a private license and is working toward earning her commercial helicopter rating in order to pursue employment as a helicopter pilot .

• William Teigan of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada , who received the $2,500 Maintenance Technician Certificate Scholarship, which is awarded to students studying to become aviation maintenance technicians. William is a student at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, Alberta.

• Jessica Meiris of Colorado Springs, Colorado, recipient of the Michelle North Scholarship for Safety. This scholarship provides the recipient with full tuition to attend a safety management system (SMS) course as part of HAI’s Professional Education program at HAI HELI-EXPO ®.

Six individuals who were awarded the Bill Sanderson Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) scholarship, which HAI administers on behalf of the association’s Technical and Maintenance Working Group. These scholarships are presented each year in conjunction with airframe, engine, and avionics manufacturers. Recipients use the scholarships to attend airframe- or equipment-specific training courses offered by the manufacturers , along with stipends up to $1,600 each.

The manufacturers that participated in the program for 2021 are Airbus, Leonardo Helicopters, MD Helicopters, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, and Safran. This year’s recipients of the Bill Sanderson AMT scholarship are:

  • Jeffrey Davis of Louisville, Colorado (MD Helicopters)
  • John Doherty of Lebanon, Pennsylvania (Safran)
  • Beth Elliott of Knoxville, Tennessee (Pratt & Whitney)
  • Laura Fisher of Nepean, Ontario, Canada (Airbus)
  • Lillianna Sorensen Laura Fisher of Cedar City, Utah (Leonardo Helicopters)
  • Teeratouch Triemasanchai of Los Angeles, California (Rolls-Royce).

“We congratulate the men and women who received the scholarships for 2021,” said James Viola, president and CEO of HAI in a statement. “These students have made a commitment to work in our industry at a time when employment prospects are looking very good, and they recognize that additional education and training will be a strong benefit moving forward.”

Viola encourages students from around the world to pursue their dreams in aviation. The application process for the 2022 scholarships begins in September. Interested students can find more information at HAI’s website beginning Aug. 30, 2021.


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