Shaesta Waiz

Dreams Soar’s Global Solo Flight for STEM is a “Go” With June 2 Takeoff and Stops in Five Continents 

Embry-Riddle Student to Become Youngest Female to Fly Solo Around the World

Thu Nov 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM


Shaesta Waiz

Dreams Soar’s Global Solo Flight for STEM is a “Go” With June 2 Takeoff and Stops in Five Continents

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will be a lead partner in powering a historic Dreams Soar’s Global Solo Flight for STEM.  The 33-city, 19-country, five-continent worldwide flight is to be piloted by 28-year-oldEmbry-Riddle alumna and graduate student Shaesta Waiz as announced Wednesday in a news conference at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual convention in Las Vegas.

Waiz, the first civilian female certified pilot from Afghanistan, will be the youngest female ever to attempt a worldwide solo journey. Flying a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 provided by High Performance Aircraft, Waiz is scheduled to kick off the estimated 90-day flight on June 2, 2016, in Daytona Beach, Fla. She will coordinate with organizations to host outreach events at stops along the 27,318-mile route to encourage women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“As a pilot, I have this passion for aviation that I want to share. But it’s more than that. I want to show women that they can succeed in anything – including flying around the world,” said Waiz, who is a two-time graduate of Embry-Riddle (bachelor of science in Aeronautics and master’s in Aeronautical Science with specialization in management and operations) and is currently completing a master’s degree in Aviation Business Administration. “To have my university and the aviation industry support me and make this come true speaks volumes not only to their belief in me and this ground-breaking journey, but every young person with a dream.”

Embry-Riddle’s partnership with Dreams Soar continues its more than 10-year commitment to diversifying and solidifying the future workforce of aviation and aerospace. In 2004, the university teamed with then-student Jamail Larkins to found DreamLaunch, a national tour designed to educate and motivate students to pursue careers in aviation.

Larkins, now CEO of Ascension Aviation and the first official Federal Aviation Association (FAA) Ambassador for Aviation Education, has been the face of DreamLaunch since its inception. In just over 10 years, more than three million middle school and high school students have participated in DreamLaunch either in person through school visits at nearly 20 cities a year or via online outreach.

“Jamail’s successful leadership with DreamLaunch and Shaesta’s vision with Dreams Soar exemplify Embry-Riddle’s commitment to not only leading the future of aviation, but expanding and shaping it,” said Interim President Dr. John R. Watret. “It is engrained in them to educate and inspire the next generation, and that’s why we are proud to support them and the innovative, forward-thinking programs they represent.” 

In addition to Embry-Riddle, official partners of the flight include: The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, Bose Corporation, American Bonanza Society, Avfuel, FABA (Florida Aviation Business Association), MSK Concepts, Beeline, ICAO, UNDP (United Nations Development Programs) and various individuals.

A university-wide crowdsourcing site featuring student, staff and faculty initiatives provides an opportunity for industry, alumni and the public to support projects that go beyond the classroom such as Dreams Soar and the Global Solo Flight for STEM. Located at, the site includes student projects such as creating a consumer guide for small unmanned aircraft systems, building a space habitat simulator out of a 1976 Airstream trailer and launching a student-built rocket into space. Click here to be part of history and support Global Solo Flight for STEM, Dreams Soar crowdfunding.

For more information on Dreams Soar, visit For partnership opportunities, contact

Lyndse Costabile, Director of Corporate Relations and Development, at (386) 226-7205;

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at

Media Contact

Melanie Hanns

Director of Media Relations
Corporate Communications
Office: (386) 226-7538