Scholarship Opportunity Led Student to Aviation Program and Changed Her Life

October 11, 2017

Olivia Fuller (’17) always wanted to fly. She first hopped on an airplane at age 5 and still remembers the experience. The moment the plane rose into the air, she was hooked.

“I can remember looking out the window and watching everything get smaller and smaller,” Fuller said. “It was just so different and beautiful. We went up at sunset. It was so pretty, seeing God’s creation from such a different perspective.”

Fuller is from a family of pilots. Her granddad flew for Delta Airlines, and her father is a private pilot. She always knew she would find a way into the cockpit.

In 2014, she attended the Experimental Aircraft Association’s fly-in in Oshkosh, Wis. The event attracts airline industry professionals from all over the world. While there, Fuller stopped by the Liberty University School of Aeronautics tent, learned more about the school, and filled out an application for a $16,500 scholarship.

On her way home, she and her father stopped at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio. Next door is the Wright Brothers’ flight training school. Standing there, where Orville and Wilbur used to take off and land, Fuller received a phone call. She had won the scholarship.

“That was definitely God’s hand guiding me where to go,” Fuller said. “Because I had no idea. That was my answer to prayers.”

Two weeks later, she was on campus at Liberty. In May, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics with a concentration in unmanned aerial systems.

“Being at Liberty has changed who I am for the better, and I’ve grown closer to God. The staff at Liberty, the School of Aeronautics, and the student body feel like a family.”

In July, Fuller was back at the fly-in in Wisconsin, and though she no longer holds an official role with Liberty, she was cheerleading for the school. At Liberty’s tent, she spoke with a father and son about her experience at LU.

“The son is going to go to Liberty now,” she said.

Fuller currently works as a project assistant at General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) in Washington, D.C., a trade group that lobbies for the aviation industry. She recently obtained her commercial pilot license. She’s working on her aircraft mechanic license and plans to go into the Air Force. She has also recently obtained a seaplane rating and has had the opportunity to fly many warplanes, among them a P-51 Mustang and a Fuji LM-1 – one of only three flying in the United States today. She’s even looking to start aerobatics training within a few months, which doesn’t surprise Jim Molloy, dean of Liberty’s School of Aeronautics, at all.

“She’s an example of someone who has such a passion for aviation that she wants to immerse herself in everything having to do with flying,” Molloy said. “She instills that enthusiasm in other people, too. She is such a good role model, particularly for other young women who might be interested in flying.”

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