Women in Aviation International held one of its largest and most successful annual gatherings during the 35th Annual Women in Aviation International Conference at Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida, from 21-23 March 2024. With its blend of speakers, busy exhibit hall, an array of education sessions, and more than 130 scholarship recipients, the WAI2024 conference delivered numerous opportunities to connect and network with female peers in the aviation and aerospace industry. 

This year’s inductees into WAI’s International Pioneer Hall of Fame include Katherine Johnson, a legendary mathematician of her time and a NASA trailblazer featured in the book and movie Hidden Figures; U.S. Air Force First Undergraduate Navigator Class 78-01, the first female class of six navigator candidates to pave the way for other women in military aviation; U.S. Army Air Forces World War II Flight Nurses, a dedicated group of 500 volunteer flight nurses who served 31 medical air evacuation squadrons at the height of World War II.

During the WAI annual membership meeting, Captain Bart Roberts was approved as a new board member, and Michaela Lucas was re-elected for an additional term and will continue her role as board treasurer. Captain Deborah Hecker, outgoing board chair, and Marci Veronie, board member, were both recognized for their nine-year terms serving the WAI board of directors. Effective April 1, 2024, Kathy Yodice will assume the role of board chair and Shannon Weidekamp will become board vice chair. Linda Markham will continue to serve as board treasurer.

The membership report detailed over 18,000 active members in 120 countries with 1,800 international members and over 5,000 junior members aged 18 years and younger. Both student members (over 3,700) and corporate members (nearly 500) continue to increase.

On 23 March, 250 girls along with their chaperones, were hosted by more than 100 WAI volunteers, for Girls in Aviation Day Orlando. The girls, ages 8-18, visited nearly 30 activity stations, heard about six different aviation careers from “The Sky is Unlimited” career panel, had lunch with Nicole Battjes, Rainbow Helicopters CEO and owner, met multiple role models, and learned about aviation/aerospace. The older girls had the opportunity to meet with representatives about their aviation-focused programs from 14 participants including the military, universities, flight schools, and airline pathways.

The exhibit hall hosted over 200 separate companies and organizations, representing all aspects of the aviation community.

The 36th Annual Women in Aviation International Conference will be held 27-29 March 2025 at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Denver, Colorado.

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