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Source: Samantha Scharff, sscharff@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642, nblair@k-state.edu

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

K-STATE AT SALINA STUDENT TO SERVE PRESTIGIOUS INTERNATIONAL AVIATION INTERNSHIP

SALINA -- A student at Kansas State University at Salina will spend part of her summer learning about international flight operations and air traffic control.

Samantha Scharff, senior in aviation, Halstead, is one of five students selected for an internship with the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal, Canada, this summer. The other four interns are from Colorado, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

Scharff will spend five weeks shadowing the International Civil Aviation Organization's director of flight operations and the director of air traffic management.

"I will be learning about how ICAO creates aviation guidelines concerning safe altitude operations, airspace charting, and also about how they conduct aviation regulations and enforcement," Scharff said. "I also will learn about air traffic control regulations and guidelines."

The internship is offered through a partnership between the aviation organization and Women in Aviation International.

"Every year, Women in Aviation International offers nearly $250,000 dollars worth of scholarships," Scharff said. "I have been a member of the organization for three years but this is my first year to apply for a scholarship or internship."

Scharff serves as the outreach chair board member for K-State at Salina's Women in Aviation chapter, helping with recruiting and fundraising. She said that her leadership positions in the organization and the internship will help her achieve even more than her childhood dream.

"I've wanted to be a pilot ever since I was old enough to play outside," she said.

Her dream has expanded to include air traffic control.

"My career goals are to eventually fly for a major airline, either domestically or internationally," Scharff said. "After graduation I plan to move to Kansas City, continue flight instructing and pursue a job in dispatching.

"This internship with ICAO will give me an opportunity to learn even more about the regulations and flight safety guidelines in the aviation industry," she said. "It also will improve my communication skills and understanding of trafficking safety, which will be beneficial as both a pilot and a dispatcher."

Scharff is the daughter of Mitch and Sherry Scharff, Halstead. She plans to graduate in December 2010 from K-State at Salina with a bachelor's degree in airway science.