Eig-Watson Scholarship Goes to Six MDC Students From left: Carlos Roman Jr., Jorge Sanchez, Reynaldo Aguero, Christopher Bazaka, Edward Hoyos and Sebastian Metral Six MDC Homestead Campus students, all enrolled in the professional pilot technology program, were recently named recipients of the 2017 Eig-Watson Scholarship. The scholarship, made possible by the generous contributions of Saul Eig and Lois Watson, went this year to Reynaldo Aguero, Christopher Bazaka, Edward Hoyos, Sebastian Metral, Carlos Roman Jr. And Jorge Sánchez. “I am extremely grateful for this scholarship,” said Bazaka, who will split roughly $48,000 with the five other winners. “It put a smile on my face because I was going to take out a second loan to pay for training, which is very expensive.” Professor Victor Fernández, who chaired the Eig-Watson Scholarship Committee, said the students had to meet several stringent prerequisites, including maintaining a minimum gradepoint average of 3.0 and passing a test to obtain a private-pilot certificate, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, which requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight time, with most people completing an average of 60. In addition, the applicants, who need to be U.S. citizens to be eligible, must write a 500-word essay on what inspired their interest in aviation, and they must submit two letters of recommendation. After all that, the successful applicants went through an interview process with the scholarship committee. For Bazaka, all that effort was worth it to earn a scholarship that enables him to continue a quest that began when he received his first flight lesson as a gift from his parents for his 13th birthday. “Growing up, I always had games and airplane simulators,” Bazaka said. “That first lesson solidified my dreams and made it more of a reality.” Now 19, Bazaka has logged 150 hours in the air. His next goal is 250 hours, which is required to earn a commercial license. “You need about 1,500 hours to get hired by an airline,” Bazaka said. “That’s my ultimate goal, to make a living flying. Miami Dade College has helped me a great deal because all the professors are very motivated. They really like what they do. “MDC is affordable compared to other flight schools, and it is also very flexible because I can fly out of Tamiami, Homestead, Opa-locka … You have a lot of options.”
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