2016 Scholarship Winner

“A person never truly dies until their spirit is completely forgotten and the last person who they’ve touched has perished. So long as we continue to keep the spirit alive, it continues to serve the world.” – Jarard Paige, J. Elliot Marketing

Ms. Sarah Aravich and her parents, Air Force Ret. Lt Col Karen Aravich and Air Force Ret. Lt Col Donald Aravich.

Ms. Sarah Aravich and her parents, Air Force Ret. Lt Col Karen Aravich and Air Force Ret. Lt Col Donald Aravich.

Serving the World by Paying It Forward

In 2012, J. Elliot Marketing in partnership with Women in Aviation International (WAI) announced the $2,500 Christine Reed Memorial Flight Scholarship. Christine passed away before she was able to reach her dream of becoming a private pilot. So to keep her spirit alive, J. Elliot Marketing offered the scholarship to women ages 16-30 who had already soloed and were working towards their initial pilot certificate.

In January 2016, the fourth scholarship recipient was selected – Ms. Sarah Aravich (Dubois, PA) – a current Air Force ROTC Group Commander and aspiring US Air Force pilot. Take a moment to learn more about this inspiring young lady who continues to shine a light on her community both home and abroad.


Sarah, now that you’ve been awarded the scholarship, how might it help you to achieve your dreams?

I want to become a pilot for the United States Air Force. Upon graduation from college, I will serve as a Combat Systems Officer (CSO) specializing in navigation, weapon systems and electronic jamming. The Christine Reed Memorial Scholarship has inspired me to continue flight lessons and continue to reach for my dream. It has reminded me that I can be both a pilot and a CSO.

Sarah1What’s the most exciting life moment you’ve experienced that strongly impacted your interest in aviation?

Soloing an aircraft for the first time was the moment I knew that I wanted to make flying a career. During my first solo flight, I was more confident than I was scared. It all happened so quickly. My instructor hopped out of the plane, I taxied to the runway, took a deep breath, then before I knew it, I was in the air. While I was in the traffic pattern, a helicopter pilot radioed that he needed to land immediately for a medical emergency. After a moment of uncertainty then communication, the helicopter pilot let me land first, and I had conquered my first challenge of soloing an aircraft. That flight made me excited for the challenges that lie ahead and gave me confidence that I can become a pilot.

What has been the most challenging part of your flight training?

The most challenging part of my flight training has been mastering how to land an airplane; it took me approximately 40 hours to figure out. I’ve realized that you cannot compare yourself to other people because everyone has different skills. If you are determined, you can do anything you set your mind to – no matter how long it takes.

In the Summer of 2013, you participated in a State Department study abroad program. How did that experience impact your view of Chinese culture and language?

I really enjoyed my experience in China. The people wanted to know as much about America as I did about China. I had to play a lot of guessing and matching games with the Chinese characters at first, but through classes, exploring, and making Chinese friends, I learned that there are more similarities than differences between our two cultures.

Having courage to live in an unknown city with unknown people and an unknown language has helped me in my aviation training to have courage. Studying abroad reminded me that having confidence leads to new experiences and adventures.

Some of my favorite experiences in China include attending the Chinese dragon boat festival and teaching elementary students English through singing songs such as Head Shoulders Knees and Toes and The Alphabet Song.

Describe your experience throughout the Air Force ROTC program, including your most recent experience as a Group Commander. How has the leadership experience impacted your personality and your personal growth?

ROTC has made me a stronger person. It has given me confidence in being myself and has provided an environment for me to find my own leadership style.  As a group commander, I had the opportunity to create a vision, and then work with my staff to help over 100 cadets develop their leadership skills. In addition to leadership, ROTC has provided me with travel opportunities, mentors, the inspiration to be a pilot, and some of my best friends.

I would recommend the ROTC experience to students who want to give back to their country. If someone is interested in an aviation career, male or female, I believe that ROTC is the most rewarding way to go.

If you could look ahead 10 years and list all of the accomplishments you wish to achieve (both in and out of the cockpit), what would you list?

In 10 years, I want to say that I served as an aviator for the United States Military and still plan to serve. I want to say that I’ve traveled the world, and I’m still not done. I want to meet new people, but stay connected with old friends. I want to continue going on mission trips and educate America’s youth.


J. Elliot Marketing is proud to have Sarah as the fourth recipient of the Christine Reed Memorial Flight Scholarship and looks forward to offering this scholarship annually. By helping others reach their dreams, J. Elliot Marketing keeps Christine’s spirit alive. Perhaps this minor step serves to inspire others to think of ways they can share their passions with the world and find ways to pay it forward.