Women's Activism NYC

Shaesta Waiz

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Shaesta Waiz is an Afghan-American pilot. She was born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan. In 1987, her family migrated to the United States to escape the Soviet-Afghan war. Shaesta grew up in Richmond, California with her parents and her five sisters. Her family lived in a “underprivileged school district” which led to classmates dropping out and the lack of school textbooks being normalized for Shaesta. Because of this, Shaesta did not see a bright future for herself. This was until she thought about a career in aviation. Shaesta attended the Embry-Riddle University where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, being the first person in her family to do so. She became the first certified civilian female pilot from Afghanistan. She started the Women’s Ambassador Program in Embry-Riddle University which is a program that mentors and supports women who want to seek an education in both aviation and engineering. She then went on to founding Dreams Soar. Dreams Soar is an organization that works to let young women know that despite the challenges and traditions they’ll face, they can achieve their dreams with hard work. Dream Soars also partners with influential female role models to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. Shaesta travels the world to share her story and this message, “You must believe in yourself and allow your dreams to soar.”

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