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The 934th Airlift Wing supports Girls in Aviation Day

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Victoriya Tarakanova
  • 934th Airlift Wing

For Airmen of the 934th Airlift Wing, September is an opportunity to be part of the largest female-focused aviation event in the world.

The ninth annual Girls in Aviation Day, hosted by Stars of the North, the Minneapolis chapter of Women in Aviation, is designed to introduce girls ages 8 to 18 to aviation and aerospace. The GIAD event here had 2,500 estimated attendees and many different aircraft types to tour, including a 934 AW C-130H Hercules aircraft.

GIAD offers aviation-minded girls and their families the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with Air Force Reserve aircraft and Airmen.

"I'm passionate about getting girls better opportunities to do stuff like this," said Senior Master Sergeant Amanda Kellner, 934 AW investigation and inquiries specialist, who has helped organize the 934 AW GIAD involvement for several years.

Though catered towards girls, the event inspires women of all ages who may not have considered aviation a career.

"The big thing is when a young person, or even someone young at heart, has an 'aha' moment," said Master Sgt. Mina Carlson, 96th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, has been helping support the event for over five years. "And then you see that smile when they've been bitten by the aviation bug."

Carlson herself was bitten by the aviation bug when she was a teenager. In addition to being an Air Reserve flight engineer, she also worked as the state's chief heliport inspector and recently joined the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics.

GIAD also helps girls discover aviation-based career opportunities beyond being a pilot. Minnesota's GIAD brings in representatives from companies that contribute to aviation and defense segments from the engineering or manufacturing side.

"Globally, the [aviation] industry is going to need about a million people, with only 200,000 of those being pilots," Carlson said, "so we have expanded that engagement piece."

For the 934 AW to participate, planning started 8 months before the GIAD engagement. Kellner and her team considered specific mission logistics needed for success and gained approval to fly a C-130 to the event.

All the planning paid off, because groups of young girls from across Minnesota and beyond connected with many inspirational female aviators.

"I have two eleven-year-old daughters, and I brought one of them last year and she loved it," Kellner said. "She got so excited, and now she wants to join Junior ROTC [Reserve Officers' Training Corps], the Civil Air Patrol and [other aviation organizations]. Seeing her excitement, I was like, 'this was a good thing.'"