Jefferson Award Winner Inspires Bay Area Girls To Fly
SAN CARLOS (KPIX 5) – A Peninsula woman is taking girls to new heights, hoping they will choose a career in aviation.
When we asked Ana Uribe-Ruiz why she became a pilot, she took our KPIX 5 crew 2,000 feet in the air.
“It’s just being in your own space. Kind of floating; very nice,” she explained. “The view’s spectacular! Then you think, maybe an eagle’s doing the same – looking up outside at all these things. It’s a lot of fun to see it.”
We traveled from San Carlos to the coastline near Half Moon Bay.
For Ana, being a pilot is her passion, and she wants to pass that on to girls and young women.
Ana organizes an annual Women of Aviation Week at the San Carlos Airport.
The event in early March encouraged girls to aspire to careers in aviation, where she said only six percent of American commercial pilots are female.
Ana coordinated panels featuring pioneering women pilots and offered girls free plane rides donated by local pilots.
Many girls experienced their first time off the ground.
It was a thrill for East Palo Alto 7th grader Falesiu Pahulu.
“How’d you feel? It was awesome,” she exclaimed.
College student Quan Tu confirmed her dream to be a commercial pilot.
“Wow, I want to get back up there again one more day,” Quan smiled.
And Olga Custodio, the first Hispanic female pilot in the U.S. Air Force, said Ana urged girls to soar in a field they may never have considered.
“They may come back and find her and say, ‘This really made a difference in my life,’” said Olga.
“It’s just a little taste of something I enjoy a lot,” Ana said simply.
So for giving girls their first snapshots of the wonder of aviation, this week’s Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Ana Uribe-Ruiz.