Earlier this month, two Texas A&M students pursuing careers in aviation received scholarships for their work.
On Oct. 19 and 20, junior Brady Allen and senior Jacob Collins — both aerospace engineering majors — attended the Commemorative Air Force Wings Over Houston Airshow to receive scholarships for completing two years of study in aviation and showing academic potential. After years of study and work experience, both Allen and Collins said they were grateful to receive the scholarship, which promises to aid their future in aviation.
Allen said he decided to pursue aviation when he began an internship after his freshman year at A&M with the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), where he had plenty of hands-on experience.
“After freshman year with the Commemorative Air Force, I was doing maintenance on airplanes from World War II, as well as serving as a flight crew member on rides for visitors or rides from tour visit to tour visit,” Allen said.
While at the airshow, Allen had the opportunity to see some of the Air Force demonstration teams, which he said was one of his favorite parts of the weekend.
“The F-35 demo team was there and the Air Force Thunderbirds were there,” Allen said. “I had never seen these demonstration teams before, so seeing so many in a short time period was worth the drive to Houston for sure.”
Allen said he was very grateful to the CAF Wings Over Houston Airshow Scholarship Program for the financial help, which he expects will ensure that school remains his primary focus.
“This scholarship is definitely going to allow me to keep pursuing my passions and making sure I’m doing the best in school, because I won’t have to work a part-time job or anything,” Allen said. “Focusing on my classes is the most important thing for my desired path to aviation.”
Allen said he intends to put his education and experience to good use by preparing for a military aviation career.
“I’m hoping to pursue a career as a naval aviator by doing Officer Candidate School when I graduate,” Allen said.
Collins, who has done extensive research in the labs on campus, also participated in aviation-related work outside of A&M with defense contractor Northrup Grumman.
“We were working at the Johnson Space Center, basically doing resupply missions to the International Space Station,” Collins said.
Collins said he intends to continue his work with the company and is hopeful he will get up in the air one day.
“I’ve already accepted an offer with Northrup Grumman to go back down to Houston and continue the work that I’ve been doing in May,” Collins said. “At some point I’d actually like to experience aerospace as a pilot, so I’d love to get my pilot’s license. I’m just going to see where that takes me.”
Debby Rihn Harvey, chair of the scholarship committee for CAF Wings Over Houston, said the airshow where Allen and Collins were honored was a success, and the festivities kicked off even before the weekend began.
“The show went great,” Harvey said. “On Friday, we had a show for people with special needs, and we also had some senior citizens come out. It was more of a rehearsal for the flight teams to practice, but there were accommodations so that the people could watch.”
Harvey spent some time with Allen and Collins at the show and said the valuable traits they possess made them standout candidates for the scholarships.
“[Allen and Collins] were very appreciative,” Harvey said. “The money goes to the university and is applied to their student accounts for tuition. They are both very nice, very intelligent and giving. They have done a lot for the community, and they are leaders.”