Shaesta Waiz’s inspiring journey took her from coming to America as an Afghan refugee to becoming the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe solo in a single-engine aircraft in 2017. The purpose of the global flight was to inspire youth to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and aviation careers. Shaesta flew over 24,000 nautical miles on her 145-day journey, visiting 22 countries across five continents. She inspired over 3,000 children and young adults on her global flight, hosting 32 Outreach events in 14 countries.
Shaesta earned her bachelors and masters degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and later founded the non-profit organization Dreams Soar, Inc. to inspire the next generation of STEM and aviation professionals. She is a commercial pilot and the first certified civilian female pilot from Afghanistan. Shaesta is the recipient of the National Aeronautic Association’s 2017 Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Trophy, the National Business Aviation Association’s Silk Scarf Award, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s 2018 Trophy for Current Achievement, the Royal Institute of Navigation’s 2018 Certificate of Achievement, and the Royal Aeronautical Society’s 2018 Honorary Companionship.