Peachtree Corners resident Maria Hernandez was awarded a $10,000 opportunity for flight training by the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 690 of Lawrenceville and the Ray Aviation Scholarship program.

Hernandez will be training at Aero Ventures Flying Club, based at Gwinnett County Airport in Lawrenceville. The scholarship was created to support a flight student through both written and practical segments of flight training that are part of successful FAA pilot certification.

Hernandez is a 17-year-old Paul Duke STEM High School student. Hernandez plans to attend a university where she can be a part of a dedicated aviation program. Hernandez’s interest in aviation stems from when she took flights to visit her grandparents in Mexico and Jerome “Jerry” Farmer, a Systems Engineer at Northrop Grumman, who helped her design an aerodynamic broomstick for her witch costume when she was 5 years old.

Hernandez assists in building a plane, a BD-6, as a member of the EAA Chapter 690 Youth Build Program. Hernandez is accumulating flight hours with Aero-Ventures Flying Club, Gwinnett County Airport, to obtain her private pilot’s license.

There are approximately 900 local EAA chapters that mentor and support scholarship recipients throughout their flight training. Once selected as a Ray Aviation Scholarship Fund participant, candidates also commit to volunteer service with the local EAA chapter.

The Ray Foundation has provided $1 million to fund the scholarship program, which is designed to assist trainees to increase flight school graduation rates from the industry standard 20% to 80%.