Pilot and Dreams Soar founder Shaesta Waiz has returned to the Middle East after completing her solo flight around the world. Visiting 22 countries from May 13 to October 4, Waiz flew 24,800 nm and accumulated 176 flight hours in her A36 Bonanza, while setting a speed record from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. While at the Dubai Airshow, Waiz will continue promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging with industry partners and associations and emphasizing Dreams Soar’s commitment to supporting diversity in the field, especially for women and minorities.
Waiz’s visit to the Dubai Airshow is a special moment for her because she was born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan before moving to Richmond, California with her parents and five sisters in 1987 following the break-out of the Soviet-Afghan war. Returning to the Middle East to promote STEM and aviation as the youngest woman to complete a solo trip around the world in a single-engine aircraft is an example of how beneficial the fields can be for young women and minorities.
“STEM is our future,” Waiz said. “It is important for the next generation, especially women, to pursue careers in STEM so that we can sustain a healthy, diverse and balanced future, globally.”
During her world flight, Waiz participated in 32 outreach events where she spoke to 3,000 children and young adults. She plans to continue these events in countries she was not able to visit on her trip to continue spreading the word about STEM and aviation. She told AIN at NBAA in October that she would like to visit more countries in South America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Most recently Dreams Soar accepted its first scholarship donation that will go towards supporting children pursuing STEM and aviation-related education and training.