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Placer Sentinel

Inspiring Future Leaders to Soar

Sep 15, 2021 12:00AM ● By Story by Shaunna Boyd

The California Capital Airshow (CCA) STEM Scholarship Program helps students pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, math, aviation, aeronautics, aerospace, or airport management. Photos provided by California Capital Airshow/Mark Loper.

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California Capital Airshow Awards Scholarships to Local Youth

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - At its annual aviation festival, the California Capital Airshow (CCA) does more than showcase thrilling performances by talented pilots—it creates an environment that highlights the way science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are used to create amazing achievements in aviation and aeronautics. The non-profit organization is inspiring the next generation of leaders by helping students reach for the stars and pursue exciting futures in STEM and aviation fields.

The CCA scholarship program awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors who are pursuing an education in science, technology, engineering, math, aviation, aeronautics, aerospace, or airport management. Since the program was established in 2007, a total of $314,100 in scholarships have been awarded to aspiring youth. These funds have helped 178 students from around the region pursue their dreams at 36 different educational institutions across 14 states.

Mike Miller, CCA board member and chair of the scholarship committee, explained that “inspiring the next generation is at the heart of the CCA mission.” Helping lead the scholarship program has given him the opportunity to directly impact the lives of some amazing students, and he said, “I am always the one who ends up inspired. I am optimistic about the future because I have seen firsthand the strength of character, intelligence, work ethic, resilience, accomplishments, dreams, and aspirations of these incredible young people. I can’t wait to see what happens next!”

While all of CCA’s 2021 scholarship winners are impressive and aspiring youth, four must be highlighted for the inspiring stories they shared in their application essays.

Zatara Nepomuceno showcased his spirit of determination by navigating the college application process without any family assistance. Nepomuceno wrote that as a child, he “recognized that the core of engineering was creation.” With a knack for hands-on work and a desire to create, he found his way to the field of robotics, which taught him skills in design, fabrication, and leadership. He hopes to become a mechanical engineer with a concentration in aviation.

Hania Arshad outlined her goals for addressing the serious issues of climate change and pollution, writing that “our future, and our children’s future, is at stake.” She is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering with an environmental emphasis, because “engineers develop modern solutions in order to tackle problems across dozens of fields.” Arshad wants to create innovations to reduce our carbon footprint and target air and water pollution: “It is essential that even small steps are taken to help pave the way for a brighter future.”

Manpreet Kaur wrote about her commitment to finding a cure for her mother’s disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. She is pursuing a degree in biology in order to “build the foundation of chronic liver disease research focusing on patient-care and social change.” She highlighted the importance of recognizing chronic pain at the early stages, while also developing standard treatments for life-threatening diseases. She hopes to find “breakthrough discoveries that will transform the current healthcare system.”

Elizabeth Snyder aspires to work in environmental or sustainable engineering, so she can help “reverse or remedy the dangerous situations we are in due to man-made environmental damage.” Her goal is “to invent something new in the world of environmental technology or to find a way to make sustainability more appealing to large corporations and worldwide governments.” Snyder also wants to serve as an example, encouraging other young women to pursue careers in STEM fields.

The CCA scholarship program is open to seniors in Sacramento, El Dorado, Yolo, Placer, Yuba, Sutter, or Solano counties who plan to attend two- or four-year colleges or universities, or vocational or trade schools. Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5, demonstrate financial need, and be enrolled full-time for the coming semester. Scholarship awards range between $500 and $8,000, with preference going to students whose expected family contribution is less than $10,000. The scholarship funds can be used for tuition, fees, and books.

Applications have closed for the 2021 scholarships, but the 2022 applications will open this December. To learn more, visit

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