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Press Release

For Immediate Release
June 8, 2022

AAAE Foundation Announces First Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship Recipient

Alexandria, Va. – The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Foundation today announced Kailyn Hyman as the inaugural recipient of the AAAE Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship. Hyman is a rising junior at Hampton University in Virginia, majoring in aviation and air transportation. The announcement was made at the 94th Annual AAAE Conference & Exposition in Seattle.
The scholarship was created as part of AAAE’s ongoing efforts to expand support for future aviation leaders through foundation scholarships and will be awarded annually to an ethnic minority student (Black or African American; Hispanic or Latino; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders) enrolled in a college or university aviation program with a junior, senior or graduate student standing and a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
“Throughout middle and high school, I aspired to do something different,” said Hyman, who earlier this week began a summer internship at NASA. “I found out that African American women are severely underrepresented in the field of aviation, and that fact is what drew me towards it. I want to change aviation's face and inspire kids, especially black girls, to do the same." 
AAAE First Vice Chair Perry Miller, A.A.E, I.A.P., President & CEO at Richmond International Airport in Virginia led a collation of aviation leaders in raising funds and awareness for this effort. 
“The support of our donors is absolutely vital to the success the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship, and to our ability to make a positive and lasting impact in aviation,” Miller said. “We are grateful for the substantial commitment both financially by our donors and of time by our steering committee.”
The AAAE Foundation thanks the following major gift donors and numerous individual contributors for their generous support of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion scholarship:
DE&I Scholarship Founder - $15,000
ACS Firm
DE&I Scholarship Leaders - $10,000
Benjamin R. DeCosta, A.A.E. 
HMSHost Corporation
ProDIGIQ, Inc.
DE&I Scholarship Advocates - $5,000
AAAE Executive Management Team
Burns & McDonnell
Oris and Sylvia Dunham, Jr.
Elevated Facility Services Group
Great Lakes Chapter AAAE
Gresham Smith
Northeast Chapter AAAE
Northwest Chapter AAAE
South Central Chapter AAAE
Southeast Chapter AAAE
Southwest Chapter AAAE
Vanderlande Industries, Inc.
DE&I Scholarship Friends - $3,500
C&S Companies
DEI Scholarship supporter ACS Firm highlighted the importance of the initiative. “Inclusivity and the development of a diverse workforce for the future is at the center of our work at ACS Firm,” said CEO Eric Mercado, C.M., ACE. “My personal hope is that our Founder-level contribution will allow recipients to struggle less as they work to establish themselves in the aviation industry.”
Arpit Malaviya, CEO of ProDIGIQ, Inc. added “I am grateful for the ability to contribute to such a noble cause. On behalf of the entire ProDIGIQ team, we feel honored and are happy to support the next generation of aviation leaders.” 
RS&H CEO David Sweeney noted that “RS&H is proud to contribute to this scholarship that aspires to support and welcome more diverse voices into the future of aviation. By ensuring a strong pool of diverse talent, we can develop creative and forward-thinking solutions to solve the biggest challenges facing us.” 
The effort to raise adequate funds to award a $5,000 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Scholarship in perpetuity continues. To donate or learn more about this program, visit or contact the AAAE staff.

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ABOUT AAAE: Founded in 1928, AAAE is the world's largest professional organization representing the individuals who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE's 9,000 members represent some 875 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and a highly respected accreditation program.
ABOUT THE AAAE FOUNDATION: Since 1989, the AAAE Foundation has issued more than 3,250 scholarship checks totaling more than $5.7 million, making the organization one of the largest supporters of higher education assistance in the entire aviation industry. In 2022, the AAAE Foundation will award 126 scholarship awards totaling $390,000. The AAAE Foundation offers a number of scholarships aimed at supporting our Accredited Airport Executives (A.A.E.s) and their families, as well as scholarships to support the best and brightest future leaders in our profession.
The Foundation is a not-for-profit IRS 501 (C) (3) organization founded in 1962 for the advancement of education and the public understanding of airport and aviation issues. Contributions to the Foundation are tax deductible to the extent permissible under current tax laws.
Joel D. Bacon
Executive Vice President, Government and Public Affairs
Phone: 703.575.2478
Gwen Basaria
AAAE Vice President, Member Experience and AAAE Foundation
Phone: 703.797.2540