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Pearl Harbor Aviation Scholarship Recipients: Inspiring Success Stories


Pearl Harbor Aviation Scholarship Recipients: Inspiring Success Stories

2023 Scholarship recipients provide their experience and expertise on how to land the award.

Scholarship Recipients - Pearl Harbor Aviation Scholarship Recipients: Inspiring Success Stories

2023 Scholarship recipients provide their experience and expertise on how to land the award

Continuing our mission to support aspiring aviation enthusiasts, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum proudly presents its annual scholarship program. Aligned with the mission of our generous donors, this initiative awards scholarships annually to help nurture the ambitions for multiple high achievers.

Meet a few of the individuals who in 2023 have flourished through these scholarships:

Caitlin Thomas: Recipient of the “Frank Der Yuen Aviation Scholarship”
Wesley Felice: Recipient of the “Admiral Ronald J. Hays Scholarship”
Micah Domingo: Recipient of the “For Love of Country Scholarship”

To share some experiences and insights, we’ve created a fun Q&A with each recipient. Read about their backgrounds and the application process as they share a small glimpse into their journeys.

And here’s exciting news: The 2024 scholarship season is currently open, accepting applications until February 1, 2024. Don’t miss the opportunity to spread your wings and pursue your aviation dreams with the support of
Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

We’ve asked a few of the recent recipients some questions of their background and the application process. Here is what they had to share.

Caitlin: I moved back home to Hawaii in 2020 and scoured the internet for scholarships. I found Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum’s scholarship opportunities toward the end of 2020 and put together my application package. I got to the interview round and was honored to be interviewed by Tammy Jo Shults. I was already nervous to begin with, but then I was also starstruck! I ended up not winning any scholarships that year but applied once more the following year. Thankfully, my persistence and determination showed and I was awarded the Frank Der Yuen Scholarship!

Wesley: I just happened across it while searching for aviation scholarship opportunities.

Micah: I learned about it through the Civil Air Patrol. A senior member mentioned it to several cadets
applying to colleges, and that’s how I first learned about it.

Caitlin: My biggest piece of advice is time management and do not miss deadlines! Especially for the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Scholarships, there are many different parts including letters of recommendations, the essay, your documents and more. Do everything one at a time, be diligent and set deadlines earlier than the actual deadline for yourself. If you are a returning applicant, write a new essay or at least make changes and updates to your old one. Most importantly, don’t give up. If you’re not awarded a scholarship this year, try again next year.

Wesley: I approached it with an honest and to the point kind of view, and my advice to future applicants is to be honest about what your end goal is, and to make sure this is something you really want, and are willing to put forth the effort into doing.

Micah: I took a very head-on approach. I got it out of the way quickly and sent my requests to people to fill out recommendation forms early so they would have time to write them. I wouldn’t procrastinate,
especially if you are a senior in high school, since you also have college apps to worry about.

Caitlin: Scholarships changed my life. I would not be in flight training if it weren’t for Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum and other scholarships. I work full-time, am a wife and a mom to a one-year-old son and dream of becoming a professional pilot. This scholarship has helped me to complete my instrument rating and was pivotal in my success

Wesley: It has enabled a financial burden to be lifted off my shoulders, and has shortened the amount of time it will take me to reach my long term goals of becoming a CFI and making aviation my career.

Micah: It helped to pay for a lot of my private pilot flight training in college, which is the first stepping stone on the long staircase to becoming a commercial pilot.

Caitlin: Aside from completing my instrument rating, winning this scholarship has opened the door for me to meeting more women in aviation and volunteer opportunities such as the gala this past December which was such a memorable experience!

Wesley: The most memorable experience was right when I was awarded the scholarship. I was currently at the airport working in an FBO and when I saw the email saying I won, I got up and told everyone in the office I was so excited. That excitement has to be the most memorable experience for me.

Micah: It was that feeling of getting the scholarship, knowing that all the hard work had paid off and that this would help me a lot towards my long and short-term goals.

Caitlin: Aloha! My name is Caitlin Thomas. I’m an instrument-rated private pilot working on my commercial pilot license. I’m a wife and a mom and was born and raised in Hawaii. I’m also a proud board member of the Aloha Ninety-Nines and Women in Aviation – Aloha Chapter.

Wesley: My name is Wesley Felice, I am 20 years old, and live in Louisiana.

Micah: My name is Micah Domingo, and I am a Freshman Attending Bowling Green State University. I am enrolled in their flight program called Flight Technology and Operations.

Caitlin: My grandfather and childhood best friend was the head of maintenance for Aloha Airlines and later a professor at Hawaii Community College. He passed away when I was in middle school and since then, the only place I felt close to him was on Lagoon Drive and on airplanes. I graduated college in 2014 and felt obligated to do something with my degree. This led me to a career in journalism and social media marketing. It wasn’t until 2020 when I took the leap and followed my dream of becoming a pilot.

Wesley: My dad was in the Air Force and loved planes with a passion. He is who got me into aviation and aircraft. Ever since I can remember I have had a love of aviation because of this.

Micah: My dad likes to claim that he made me watch Top Gun as a kid, and that’s what started it, but I also
think it was because of an aviation museum we visited when I was just a little kid, and they sat me down
in the cockpit of some old WW2 era plane.

Caitlin: I was living in Seattle, WA at the time and started my flight training at a flight school based out of Boeing Field. I walked into the school knowing nothing, and asked the customer service representative so many questions – I now feel bad about bombarding him with all my questions right before closing time. He scheduled me for an introductory flight with a flight instructor who changed my life and is still a great mentor to me today.

Wesley: I joined the Civil Air Patrol and found out after I joined that there were opportunities to fly through it. I did some research and shortly afterwards, I was doing my private pilot ground school through them.

Micah: I asked a classmate if I could question their brother, who was working on his private pilot license. I talked to him, and he gave me my first introductory flight, which led to me enrolling in the same school
later that year.

Caitlin: Yes, I look up to so many people in this industry! My flight instructor, Abigail Dang, is definitely someone I admire because of her work ethic, professionalism and amazing aeronautical decision making. Her achievements of obtaining all her licenses and ratings with help from so many scholarships is something I also aspire to do. 

Wesley: I do not have one certain aviator I look up to as role model, instead I look to the aviation heroes of the Second World War, their bravery, ability to perform under such chaos, selflessness and heroism inspire me to become the pilot and man their sacrifice deserves.

Micah: One of my role models is my friend’s brother. He was the first person to get me flying in the air and
one of my primary sources of information when searching for aviation schools. He has pushed through
so much in school, and his determination to finish is admirable.

Included in our scholarship funds are opportunities for education and youth organizations. These scholarships can help with funding field trips or youth programs. Interested teachers or youth group advisors are encouraged to contact the Education Department at [email protected]

Thank you to all the recipients who have helped in the development of this blog post.

Questions on


Get in touch with our education department.
[email protected] or using the link to the right.

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