On Mentoring and Being Seen


The first class to graduate under the Artemis program includes (top row) Matthew Dominick of NASA, Kayla Barron of NASA, Warren Hoburg of NASA, and Joshua Kutryk of CSA, (middle row) Bob Hines of  NASA, Frank Rubio of NASA, Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons of CSA, Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA, and Jessica Watkins of NASA, (bottom row) Raja Chari of NASA, Jonny Kim of NASA, Zena Cardman of NASA, and Loral O’Hara of NASA
Photo Credit: NASA (www.nasa.gov)

On 10 January 2020, 13 new astronauts joined the ranks of both NASA and the CSA.  Almost as noteworthy as the new astronauts is the fact that this was the first public graduation ceremony NASA has ever hosted.  Each of the graduates are incredibly intelligent, skilled, and qualified (you can read their biographies at www.nasa.gov).  Additionally, in his graduation remarks, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine stated it was the most diverse class of astronauts to graduate the demanding 2+ year training program.

We commend NASA for making the graduation public and for televising the event. While it may not be likely that many tuned in to the NASA channel or http://www.nasa.gov to watch the event, the public ceremony is a step in the right direction.  NASA and other aviation and space related organizations should continue to celebrate the men and women who join their ranks in an effort to showcase possibilities to those who may follow in their footsteps.

The importance of representation, being visible, and mentoring is more than a feel good thing, it may also be scientific.  In “Science: it’s a role model thing“, Chris Gunter addresses the common belief that “girls are more likely to enter and stay in a scientific career if they have female role models who are successful in science or math; ergo, female scientists should make all efforts to serve as role models.” [1] In her article she poses the question: is it actually true?  The author discovered that while there were a multitude of online efforts and programs to involve girls and women in science, there is an absence of peer reviewed studies to identify the effectiveness of these activities.   Her article was the first time I heard of the concept of ‘stereotype threat’, which she defined as “the effect of anxiety or negative emotion when a subject is put in a position where they might confirm a negative stereotype about themselves”.  I had already read about and understood imposter syndrome which can be defined as “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.” [2] ‘Imposters’ like me suffer from chronic self-doubt, the idea that we are not as smart as our performance shows or others think we are.  My two cents?  Seeing someone who looks like you can help you overcome both a stereotype threat and imposter syndrome, but talking to them and reading about how they achieved their success is even more important.

Being role models, like the recent 13 NASA and CSA astronauts, and being a mentor helps.  But these roles are not without their own barriers.  In her article Gunter further states that data indicates the type of role model presented matters and individuals preparing to be role models and mentors indicated they felt pressure “to be the perfect woman scientist to attract girls to the field.” [3]. Furthermore, what if the role model or mentor is deemed too perfect, furthering the belief that success in that career is unobtainable.   For example, a little girl could see the picture of the first Artemis astronaut class and see that 6 of the 13 new astronauts are women (yes!) but then read their biographies and learn the details of their incredible credentials and success, leading the girl to believe she cannot achieve that same success (no!).

So what do we do?  Our advice:  continue to be present, be visible, and mentor. Share your stories, your failures, and your success.  Help bring the next generation up.  Let them see someone who looks like them succeed…but also share how you got there so they do not fall prey to any sort of stereotype or syndrome.  It is never too late get involved.  Contact your local Boys and Girls Club, attend mentoring programs at your library, volunteer to speak to Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts in your community.  Gunter provides examples to ways to get involved in her article, we are sharing them here along with some ideas of our own.

Continue reading “On Mentoring and Being Seen”

$1M of AOPA Scholarships

Students and teachers are already qualified for this year’s Aircraft Owners and Operators (AOPA) scholarships. Students ages 15-18 yrs can receive up to $10k towards a pilot’s license, and up to 20 qualified teachers can apply for the same.

Picture care of AOPA.org

Those already flying can also apply for advanced ratings at various levels.

Interested? Find out more information below- applications are due by Mar 1st. Who knows, you might be the next scholarship recipient!



The Service Academy path to Flying


Are you a student in high school and interested in a flying career? You may want to consider attending a service academy instead of a state or private university for your four-year bachelor’s degree.  The service academies are little known opportunities that do not require tuition, pay students to attend, guarantee at least 5 years of employment after graduation, and supply a young person with endless possibilities for the rest of her life, not the least of which is free training in aviation.  So what does it take to apply?

There are 4 major academies and several smaller military schools that can be paths to a military aviation career.  Did you know that the United States Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Military Academy (West Point), the Coast Guard Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy can all provide flying opportunities for graduates?  All are among the best collegiate programs in the country and can provide an easy track to many professions, in multiple fields.  So, how does one apply to “The Academy”?

Service Academies; from upper left to bottom right – West Point, Air Force Academy Chapel, USNA, and Coast Guard Academy

The process is lengthy, so early preparation is key.  Anyone interested in attending a service academy must demonstrate to an admissions board a well-rounded student and citizen.   This means not only having competitive grades, but it also means participating in clubs and organizations that are not school functions (ie an after school activity or nonaffiliated program) and also playing at least one sport.  If you are considering a service academy as an option for your collegiate degree, we recommend starting early to prepare your resume, because the schools are highly competitive.  Most students begin preparing in their sophomore year, though applications are not due until senior year of highschool.

Many steps of the application process are unique to military academies compared to colleges and universities.  One very large difference is the requirement to apply for, and secure, a nomination from a sitting member of Congress or the Vice President of the United States.  If you don’t know who your Senator or Representative is, here is the list of representatives and this link to find your senator.  You do not have to personally know any of these members, an official request is required.  Congressional members have different methods of nominating their candidates.  Some members require an in-person interview.  Others host panels of interviews, much like a job interview.  The member nominating a candidate will want to see the well rounded and mature person that meets their expectation of a future military officer.  There are other ways to secure a nomination for specialty groups, check each academy’s website for details.

Once a nomination application is complete,  applicants will be contacted by a Liaison Officer (Or Blue and Gold member as known in the Navy)- someone in the service associated with the Academy that can assist with the rest of the application process- and be given an opportunity to visit the school in an overnight capacity.  Students will have to take a physical fitness test designed by the specific service academy as well as a medical examination and may have to take other screening tests to ensure basic aptitude for military service.  An applicant should have a clean record – no arrests, drug use or misdemeanors on record- and cannot be married or have children.

tran-mau-tri-tam-tZnbakTUcTI-unsplash.jpgEach service academy accepts about 800-1100 students a year, out of 10,000.  Varsity sports players sometimes have an advantage for admission, as sports are a revenue source for the Academies, but they are not the majority of admissions.  Also, no requirements are set for any previous flight or military experience.  Cadets who attend are given the full scope of skills necessary to become military officers and specialists.  Some candidates with congressional nominations who do not make the cut for an academy may be offered a year at prep school to cover a gap in a record.  Many people who attend prep school are accepted into the academy the following year without issue.

USAFA Soaring program

If you are considering an application to one of the service Academies, and have more questions after reading this short summary, feel free to reach out to us using our message feature.  If we don’t know the answer to your question we can connect you to someone who can.

#flyingcareer #school #aviation #getstarted #launch

WAI Scholarships

The Women In Aviation International (WAI) scholarship applications close 12 November this year! WAI gives out almost $1M in aviation related scholarships each year- check the link below to see if you qualify for one and get your application in soon!


#aviation #everygirlshouldfly #changeyourmilieux

Craig Airport Young Eagles Nov 16, 2019

Parents, have you ever wanted your child to experience aviation up close and personally- in a general aviation airplane?  Come out to Jacksonville Executive Airport on 16 November for a chance to fly in a general aviation aircraft FOR FREE with a EAA certified Young Eagle Pilot!

Young Eagles is a program started by Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) to introduce children of all ages to aviation.  Residents of Jacksonville can take advantage of this event on 16 November and then cheer on local pilots as they compete in a landing contest!

#everykidshouldfly. #changeyourmilieux #preflightacademy #eaa

Event in Jacksonville: What is it like to be a female pilot?

Join us at the Willowbranch Library on 2875 Park St at 5p, tomorrow 21 Oct to hear from female pilots and other professionals on real life experiences, advice and candid dialogue on what it is like to not only be a pilot, but a pilot with different needs and expectations than the majority. Help us change the statistics!  #beapartofthechange

Learn more about the event here



Daughter teaches dad about mountain flying

A father shared his story about watching his 16 year old daughter change from a serial texter to a soaring expert in just a few weeks.

Graduates of the Sugarbush Soaring Youth Experience

Learn more about this youth program in Warren, Vermont here https://sugarbushsoaring.com/youth-programs/youth-program-overview

#everygirlshouldfly #experience

Vengeance by Princess Olga of Kiev

There are rare times in history when the ingenuity and courage of leaders are captured in such a way as to inspire generations behind them, but Milieux has discovered another such leader in Princess Olga of Kiev.


Princess Olga, also known as Saint Olga, was born sometime in the 10th century to a royal family.  She was married to Prince Igor I of Kiev, heir of Oleg and ruler of the Keivan Rus, who lived in the area that is now known today as Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, to whom she bore a son, Svyatoslav.

The Keivan Rus had a complicated relationship with neighboring tribes, the Drevlians.  The pagan tribes had allied in their battles against the Byzantine Empire, from which a tithing was developed to be paid from the Drevlians to the Keivan Rus.  When the Drevlians refused to pay in 912, Igor rode with his army to “encourage” them to pay, and when he decided they did not give enough and returned to impose more tithings, the Drevlian Prince Mal killed him.

History does not give a good account of how this affected Princess Olga but, but as regent to the throne, she was soon courted by the Drevlians to marry the murderer of her husband, Prince Mal. The Drevlians sent a boat of ambassadors to convince the princess to agree to marriage, and, either fearing that revenge would be taken upon them, or beguiled by instructions from Olga herself, demanded they be carried in their boat to discuss the matter directly with the Princess.

olga bath fire

The Drevlians obviously underestimated the Princess and her ingenuity and/or desire for revenge for when they arrived to her castle in their boat, she had already dug a grave for them the size of a boat, and commanded her men to drop the boat unto it and buried them alive.  Before the grave was even refilled, she sent for more ambassadors from the Drevlians, feigning delight at the first party of suitors.  Unaware of the murders she had just committed, they sent more representatives and upon their arrival, she encouraged them to bathe and relax.  They went willingly and without knowing it, Princess Olga had them locked inside and set fire to the bathhouse, burning the Drevlian ambassadors alive.

Radzivill_Olga-Avenge-to-Drevlians copy

This began Princess Olga’s year-long siege on the Drevlians, conquering their cities and farms.  Legend has it that when the capital refused to submit to her rule, she called a truce and asked for pigeons and sparrows from all of the homes of the Drevlians, as a show of good faith.  The Drevlians were grateful.  When the birds arrived, she had her men tie paper firebombs to the birds’ legs, knowing that the birds would return to their homes- let them loose and set fire to the Drevelian capital.  Over 5000 Drevlians died in her war against them.

Princess Olga was a pagan at birth but grew an interest in Christianity in her adult years.  Her sainthood is rooted in her ambition to bring Christianity to the people of Kiev, though she was unsuccessful in convincing her son to convert once he was of age.  In her travels to Constantinople, and a visit to Emperor Constantine VII, the Emperor conversed with her and determined her to be worthy to “reign with him”.  Olga pointed out that she was pagan, and that she required instruction and baptism and insisted that the Emperor be her instructor.  He taught her and shared the Christain way with her and upon her baptism, in which she accepted the Christian name “Helena” after the Emperor’s mother, she once again outwitted her suitor and pointed out that he was now her godfather, eliminating the possibility of matrimony.  Emperor Constantine was impressed with her cunning and historical references validate that he respected her for her wit, making the Keivan-Rus and Byzantine kingdom an alliance.


While the princess ruled only for the years her son, Sviatoslav, was growing up, her success as a regent and ruler are irrefutable.  She was the first female ruler of Keiv and the first Christian ruler.  And her duality of a bloodthirsty widow set on revenge and a Christian woman destined to change a culture make her a very interesting figure to study.   Someone who was as ruthless and cunning as the princess is memorialized and celebrated by her people.  I think there is a lesson in this for girls today.  Not that they must be killers and ruthless, but that girls must live life as best as they can, without thinking about how their actions will be perceived.  A lot of pressure is put on girls to be demure and quiet – intentionally or not – for fear of ruining their reputation or status.  Having a figure like Princess Olga to reminds us that we are all destined to deal with some complication in life – and being quiet and demure about it may not be the best way to approach it.

#befierce #changethemilieux #princess #Rus


Girls, Don’t Listen To Taylor Swift

This isn’t going to be a piece tearing down a beautiful, successful and smart woman – not even close.  Taylor Swift is an luminious genius, and an outright superstar.  I love her music, I enjoy how brazen, powerful and autobiographical she can be while creating beats and melodies that energize us to dance.  She can speak to multiple generations at the same time, masterfully describing just enough of a modern woman’s life to pique an audience’s interest.  You should listen to Taylor Swift’s music if it appeals to you.  But artists should be careful about the themes of the messages they send, especially as it relates to being a woman in a “man’s” world – and this is why.


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHoHDNxay3A?start=22&w=560&h=315%5D

Taylor Swift recently released a new song you can watch above, called “The Man”.  The song pretty well and succinctly demonstrates the not so subtle sexism that has been the undercurrent of western society for the last 100 years,; the unfair role that women have been placed in to be the gatekeepers of civility alone without similar responsibilities for men.  It describes the different ways successful men are received in the music industry versus successful women, how women gain reputations for being “needy” or “hysterical” while men are seen as powerful for acting in similar ways.  It makes a good argument for why men have it easier.  But my point is “so what”?

taylor-swift-shuts-down-question-about-marriage-kids-a-man-wouldnt-be-asked-that-ftrDon’t listen to Taylor Swift or Nicki Minaj about the sexism they face.  Don’t feel bad for them for being victimized by these perceptions.  For one thing, they are multi-billionaires who are incredibly successful and for the other thing, they are talented and our focus on them should not be how they have had to experience adversity- but how they have succeeded despite it!  Our little girls are watching and learning a narrative that they will be doomed to repeat if we continue to be complicit about it.

Look, we have all experienced sexism, men and women.  I have sat across from many power house women over dinner and shared experiences of sexism.  We talk about what could be done about it and then we realize we don’t care.  Its a not powerful to reduce yourself to what people percieve you as.

This song, “The Man” and the Glamour Magazine cover of it that you can read here, as well as a piece in Forbes, and EliteDaily are all dangerous feminist narratives that are more likely to decrease confidence in young girls and create an idea of victimhood than encouraging them to be possible powerhouses like the women they idolize.  These “perfectly feminist” sentiments are far more destructive to the self esteem of our girls than helpful because they are not empowering.  Once again a strong woman describes her victimhood instead of owning her success as she deserves to- Ironic isn’t? Or maybe its just part of her artistic genius- Swift may be capitalizing on the idiosyncracies that exist in society, laughing all the way to the bank.

Maybe she sees that playing on her victimhood is en Vogue and profitable – but who pays for it ultimately?

Take, for example, the recent conversation I had with my boyfriend at a restaurant that he has been dying for me to write about.  It was lunch time, and we were eating downtown in a restaurant that many business people were dining at as well.  He leaned over to ask my opinion about a clothing option our waitress had chosen.  “This is a really nice restaurant, right?  Then why is our waitress not wearing a bra?” he asked me- “what is your opinion on that?  I think its distracting and lowgrade” he finished.  I could have launched into how unfair his assessment was, how she should be able to wear whatever she wanted.  But I decided to take a different approach.

I laughed, I hadn’t even noticed her underclothing choice to be honest.  She was a very pretty girl, kind, nice and attentive, the last three adjectives being characteristics I appreciate in anyone I meet.  And so I started looking around the restaurant and I couldn’t help but notice how dressed down all the men were, especially for being “business” types, and how many of them were a little bit on the chubbier side.  And they weren’t wearing bras, or undershirts, or anything to cover their “indecencies”.  Their nipples and breasts were just as, if not more, exposed and unrestrained as our waitress’s were.  It was quite distracting as I started to look around.

And so I asked him in reply “since when did men stop wearing undershirts? I see a lot of men in here showing nipple and no one seems to be upset about it, maybe I should start?”  and I followed with “and how many of them do you think are not wearing underwear?”  “This is a nice restaurant, why do they think this is okay?

KramerAnd that’s my point – don’t hate the game – play the game!  Just because someone tries to shame a woman for behaving a certain way or wearing certain clothes doesn’t make them right!  Stop being complicit about it.  Our world is full of enough criticism as it is.  Be oblivious to it and be you.  As one of my favorite Winston Chuchill quotes advises “you can’t throw stones at every dog that barks, you will never get to where you are going”

So don’t listen to Taylor Swift’s interview on how poorly she is treated in the music industry or by media.  She is making a ton of money off of everything she is doing and she knows how to turn her situations to her advantage.  Don’t listen to her- watch her.  mimic her, and be as brave and big and controversial as she is.  She has built an entire career on being underestimated.  Women all over the world could do the same.


#woke #changeyourmilieux #bethechange

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