Thursday, March 5, 2015
The conference theme is Connect. Engage. Inspire. Here’s how one WAI member made an important connection.
Laura Laster
In 2002, I was a student studying aviation at LeTourneau University. That year, I attended the WAI conference and applauded many students receiving scholarships, thinking, “Why didn’t I apply?” The next year, I dutifully applied for several scholarships and was surprised to receive the CL Scholarship donated by Christina Liegl. I did not find out I had been awarded a scholarship until after the conference that year was over! I was thrilled to receive the scholarship, and I used it for commercial multiengine flight training. However, as I wasn’t able to attend WAI in 2003, I didn’t get to meet the scholarship’s donor.
Over a decade later, I was back at the 2014 WAI conference. Since receiving the scholarship in 2003, I had graduated from LeTourneau University, became a flight instructor, flew King Airs for Dynamic Aviation, received my aircraft dispatcher certificate, helped start a charter air carrier, and returned to LeTourneau as director of flight operations.
As I prepared to attend the conference, I thought about that scholarship I had been blessed with in 2003. Maybe I could meet Christina Liegl and thank her in person for the award, I thought. I didn’t know anything about Christina, so I contacted WAI and asked for help in connecting with her. To my delight, I soon received an email from Christina who also was planning to attend the conference. We made plans to meet on the only day we would both be there.
Christina Liegl
We described each other in text messages, and I hoped I could locate Christina in the crowds milling around outside the exhibit hall. I waited a bit before I spotted her. It was great to be able to connect! I learned about Christina and her many accomplishments. She is a major in the Air Force Reserves, flying the C-17 as an aircraft commander. She has been in the military for 21 years: 6 years enlisted and 15 years as an officer.
She was attending WAI that year seeking employment by a major airline. It felt great to be able to personally thank her for the scholarship I had received many years earlier. She was anxious to hear about my life and how the scholarship had helped me achieve my goals.
I am so thankful for Women in Aviation, International and how it brings people together to connect year after year. I hope the connections you make here will inspire you to achieve your goals!

Laura Laster is Director of Flight Operations at LeTourneau University’s School of Aviation and Aeronautical Science. She is a wife and mom who loves both family life and work life.

Benefits of a WAI Membership

WAI members seek to inspire and stand for encouragement, continued education, and a whole lot of fun! If you’re a lover of all things aviation and aerospace, and enjoy sharing your passion with others, we’d love to have you! Membership includes job search opportunities, scholarship opportunities, access to mentors in your industry, and much more.

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