WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Ashton Burton, a senior at Bowie High School in Bowie, MD, and Michael Rodriguez, a 2021 graduate of Columbia Heights Educational Campus in Washington, DC spent their summer completing an intensive eight-week aviation training program at Delaware State University in Dover, DE, achieving their FAA Private Pilot’s licenses.
Burton and Rodriguez were selected for the program by the Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) selected, and their participation was funded through a Navy JROTC scholarship program designed to increase diversity in the field of aviation. According to school records, Burton has a 3.7 GPA and is an NJROTC Platoon Commander. Rodriguez received a $180,000 Navy scholarship in June to attend Southern University in the fall. Both students aspire to be Naval Aviators.
Burton and Rodriguez received their FAA certificates and licenses at a graduation ceremony at Delaware State on Thursday, August 12. The guest speaker for the event was Navy Commander and NASA Astronaut Victor J. Glover.
“The goal of the scholarship program is to expose exceptional minority students to a career path that currently lacks diversity,” says Commander Chris “Frozone” Williams, a Navy fighter pilot, instructor, and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “Ashton Burton and Michael Rodriguez have what it takes to be leaders in the field of aviation, and the Navy is honored to play a part in his personal and professional journey.”