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Breaking Barriers: Flight School Empowers Female Students to Soar in the Skies


Date: June 10 – August 18, 2023

Location: Potomac Airfield, Maryland


The Psi Alpha Alpha Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Bernie L. Bates Foundation, Inc. encourages youth aviation skills through their “I Believe I Can Fly Program.”


In a remarkable stride towards gender equality in the aviation industry, the Columbia Training Centers, Inc. (CTC) in Fort Washington, MD, is making waves with its commitment to empowering female students to pursue their dreams. CTC’s dedication to fostering a diverse and inclusive learning environment is evident through its star student, Kelsey Aliyah Gourdin, a shining example of what determination and a supportive atmosphere can achieve.


Kelsey is an exceptional 18-year-old student and aspiring aviator with a passion for the skies. She’s a St. Stephen and St. Agnes High School graduate in Alexandria, Virginia, and a Fort Washington, Maryland resident. Kelsey is an honors college student embarking on her second year as a sophomore at Tennessee State University (TSU), pursuing an electrical engineering degree.


Her academic achievements have consistently exemplified her dedication and commitment to excellence. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, coding, learning languages (Japanese and Spanish), playing tennis, listening to music, and playing her violin. Her leadership in extra-curricular activities with the Honors College, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Robotics Club, Diversity Club, and Christian Youth group helped to keep her grounded and socially connected.

Kelsey consistently displays an eager interest in flying. She spends countless hours in self-studies and with an aviation instructor. Her exceptional aptitude in science and mathematics plays a vital role in aviation. Still, her natural talents and unwavering determination have driven her to pursue a pilot’s license, a goal she has embraced with steadfast focus and passion.


Beyond her outstanding academic and social achievements, Kelsey has actively sought opportunities to immerse herself in aviation. She has eagerly participated in flight simulation programs, attended aviation training, and connected with experienced peers and professionals. “I aspire to be the best me possible, encouraging others to accomplish their goals. The skies are without limits!”

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