For Leah Murphy, becoming a helicopter air ambulance pilot perfectly unites her love of flight and a desire to help others as a first responder.
“I want to be that person who is there for the worst day of people’s lives, to help contribute to making it better,” said the Embry-Riddle Prescott Campus student. “I know it’s a tough job, but there is nothing I want to do more.”
That determination has pushed Murphy to go above and beyond while studying to fund her helicopter pilot training. While working two part-time jobs and serving as president of both the Blue Eagles Skydiving Team and the Yavapai Ninety-Nines, Murphy has already earned her commercial pilot's certificate and instrument rating. She has also taken several opportunities to shadow the chief pilot at Boston Med Flight in Massachusetts, developing an appreciation for the challenges and rewards of working as a first responder.
I want to be that person who is there for the worst day of people’s lives, to help contribute to making it better. To receive a scholarship lets me know there are people here that do support me, and I’m not alone in this long expensive journey.
Juggling so many responsibilities has not been easy, but it is that kind of effort that made her an obvious candidate for scholarships, which she credits for helping her financially and emotionally.
“I’ve had people question me being a female pilot, but then to receive a scholarship lets me know there are people here that do support me, and I’m not alone in this long, expensive journey,” Murphy said.
“Scholarships play a key role in the success of our students,” says Steve Bobinsky, executive director of philanthropy at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott Campus. “Sometimes, the money students receive from scholarships can make the difference between just having a dream and making it come true.”
Even after graduation in December 2018, Murphy still has a way to go before realizing her dream, but her path is clear: She plans to work as a flight instructor at Universal Helicopters, Inc. and as a helicopter tour pilot, until she can build up the required hours to be hired as an air ambulance pilot.
“There is nothing I want more than to share my passion for flying in a way that helps others,” she said.