First-year aviation maintenance student accorded rare honor

April 18, 2019

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A Pennsylvania College of Technology student has received a scholarship from Women in Aviation International, the first time in 15 years that the award went to an aviation maintenance major.

Kate M. Ruggiero, of Easton, a freshman in the college's four-year aviation maintenance technology program, was recently awarded an Elisha Hall Memorial Scholarship worth $2,000.

Kate M. Ruggiero - Penn College

Kate M. Ruggiero, recipient of a scholarship from Women in Aviation International, attends the group’s 30th annual conference in Long Beach, California. 

IMAGE: Penn College

She attended the WAI conference at the Long Beach Convention Center in California from March 14-16. She was presented the award by mentor Lynette Ashland, a member of the Association for Women in Aircraft Maintenance, a mechanic at Endeavor Air and a member of WAI’s Cincinnati-based Wright Chapter.

“I am very thankful for all of my instructors in the aviation program for believing in me and pushing me to apply for scholarships and teaching me the skills I need to be a successful mechanic in the aviation industry,” Ruggiero said.

“I love that all of my instructors have industry experience and can apply that knowledge in the classroom. They ensure that we learn how to be a well-rounded mechanic with learning proper procedures, producing quality work and being confident in our own work. My instructors push me to be proactive and to take initiative. I am excited to go through my program to learn more and find the best fit for me in the aviation industry.”

The organization also covered Ruggiero’s expenses to attend the conference, where she met other women in aviation – students, mechanics, pilots, military personnel and dispatchers included.

“During the conference, I started building relationships by networking with employers that were attending,” she said. “I hope I can attend the conference again to continue to meet with employers or even volunteer.”

For information about Penn College’s aviation majors, visit or call 570-327-4516.

For more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education, visit, email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Last Updated April 18, 2019