Women in Aviation International (WAI) saw more than 4,500 attendees from 65 countries at its 33rd Annual International Women in Aviation Conference, which took place last week at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The event featured an exhibit hall hosting 176 companies and organizations, keynote speakers, education sessions and professional development seminars and workshops. The organization also held a special tribute for WAI member Wally Funk in recognition of her recent spaceflight aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard and receipt of the 2021 Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Trophy.
“The strength of WAI lies in the celebration of so many like-minded women who come together to share their passion for aviation and aerospace, support each other, learn from each other, and foster the next generation in aviation,” said WAI CEO Allison McKay. “Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, our passionate members, and impressive collection of exhibitors, WAI 2022 was an amazing venue to commemorate Women’s History month and advance our mission to connect, engage, and inspire our current and future workforce of diverse and accomplished members.”
During the conference, three women were inducted into WAI’s International Pioneer Hall of Fame, including Cornelia Clark Fort, the first female pilot in American history to die on active duty (1943); Capt. Rosemary Bryant Mariner, a member of the first group of women to train as naval aviators (1973); and Col. Peggy A. Phillips, the first woman selected by the U.S. Air Force 702nd Military Airlift Squadron to attend undergraduate pilot training. WAI also presented members with 103 scholarships worth more than $473,000, bringing the total value of scholarships awarded by the organization since 1995 to more than $14.5 million. The 34th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference is scheduled to take place Feb. 23-25, 2023, at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California.