The 2019 Shelly Szepanski Memorial Flight Scholarship will run January 21, 2019 – April 11, 2019. Applications must be submitted no later than 5 pm AKST.

Shelly was born in Minneapolis on February 4, 1967, and lived in Juneau, Anchorage, McGrath and Fairbanks for most of her 41 years. She was a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game in Fairbanks. A true Alaskan adventuress, she loved being outdoors, hunting, fishing and especially flying.

The Shelly Szepanski Memorial Flight Training Scholarship, a fund of The Alaska Community Foundation, will provide an award of up to $5,000 to help qualified applicants earn their private or commercial/instrument ratings, including a float rating.


  • Female
  • Enrolled in a science-related degree program (preference for wildlife biology or natural resources).
  • Passed FAA written flight test and medical exam.
  • Pursuit of flying as a part of science-related career goals.
  • Preference will be given to students who are enrolled in the University of Alaska system and demonstrate financial need.
  • Prior year awardees are eligible to reapply.


  • Complete the online application for the Shelly Szepanski Scholarship
  • Essay. Upload an essay that is approximately 1,000 words. Describe your background, your educational and professional goals, how flying is relevant to these goals, and your specific qualifications for this scholarship.
  • Letters of recommendation. Upload two letters of recommendation.
  • Resume. Upload resume and/or summary of work experience, activities, personal interests or community service participation.
  • Transcripts. Upload official transcripts from all relevant institutions. Unofficial transcripts will not be accepted.
  • Upload a copy of FAA written exam results and current FAA medical certificate.
  • Statement of Financial Need. Upload a document that details the specific costs of your education and flight training. Include other sources of support, income, expenses and any mitigating circumstances regarding your financial need.

Award Conditions:

The scholarship award is intended to be used to support the completion of your private pilot’s license. After your private pilot’s license is completed, any remaining funds may be used toward commercial and/or instrument ratings. Should this be the case, you must submit the following to ACF:

  • A report upon completion of your private license, including the total cost incurred.
  • Goals toward additional ratings and the name of the flight school you plan to attend to attain these ratings.

IMPORTANT: Successful applicants must submit the name and address of their flight school to ACF through the online system before their award can be disbursed. If we do not receive the above information by June 30, 2019, the scholarship may not be awarded. Please contact ACF if you cannot send in the information by this date.

Contact The Alaska Community Foundation with questions: or 907-334-6700