Some of the 2021 FedEx Purple Runway Scholarship recipients who are involved in WAI, Alpha Eta Rho and Flight Team

Photo by Mr. Campbell Saia

Delta State Students Earn FedEx Purple Runway Scholarships

By Rebecca McCracking, Assistant Professor of Practice, Commercial Aviation
Delta State University

Delta State University and FedEx have partnered in recruiting and retaining amazing students.

The FedEx Purple Runway Scholarship Program is a gateway for pilots into their dream jobs. Since 2019, FedEx has awarded $300,000 in scholarships to Delta State University Flight Operations students through the Purple Runway Program. In 2019 and 2020, ten students were each awarded $10,000 scholarships. In 2021, twenty students have been awarded $5,000 each.

In addition, FedEx has stated that forty more students will earn $5,000 each in 2022 and 2023! That will total half a million dollars over five years. Thanks to FedEx for its generosity to Delta State University and its students.

Each student will apply the scholarship directly toward flight training. To qualify, each must be a Delta State University student and have a Private Pilot’s License, a faculty letter of recommendation and an impressive resume.

As an Assistant Professor of Practice, Student Advisor and Magnolia Chapter-WAI Faculty Advisor, I always tell future applicants that involvement is key. I am often asked for letters of recommendation, and the students who stand out are those who are involved in organizations and volunteer their time.

Several of the 2021 winners participate in various Delta State Commercial Aviation organizations. For example: 11 scholarship winners are Magnolia Chapter-WAI members; eight are Alpha Eta Rho members and seven are Flight Team members.

The student leaders of those organizations share similar advice for their peers:

“For the vast majority of flight students, scholarships are a vital resource,” says Megan Lindsey, Magnolia Chapter-WAI President. “The main advice I give is to apply for as many as possible. Most do not take more than a couple of hours to complete, and the potential reward is worth it. Additionally, be sure to have good relationships and connections with teachers, professors and instructors, for these are the people who will supply recommendations.”

Clea Lauderdale, Alpha Eta Rho President, shares, “Plan ahead! Start your resume now and update it as scholarships arise. Be involved as well – extracurricular activities look good, but it is not just being a member of organizations, but also actively going to events within them. Don’t be scared to try new things and step out of your element.”

“Every person matching you as a peer will have similar grades and extracurriculars, but you need to be a servant to your community as well,” comments Flight Team Captain Sean Gage. “Have hobbies, find things you’re passionate about, things that you not only enjoy doing but that you feel so strongly about you want to share them with others. Take those hobbies and use them to serve your community. Take a love for cooking to a food kitchen, a joy for painting to an art class, an affinity for teaching to a mentorship – you’ll be a distinct contender for any award you seek.”