Northwest Minnesota Foundation announces winners of Larry Diffley Memorial Scholarship

Featured photo from left: Ayush Sharma and Tracie Walter, Vice President of Bemidji Aviation

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation announced two winners of the Larry Diffley Memorial Aviation Scholarships.

Ayush Sharma is an international student who works for Bemidji Aviation and is working toward licensure.

“I want to become an airline pilot; I would love to stay here and fly,” said Ayush, who is originally from India but moved with his family to Ireland.

“I am the first generation in my family to become a pilot. My father, Manish Kaushik, has inspired me to follow my passion in aviation, what he couldn’t follow himself.”

Devin Wikstrom has been a private pilot and is working toward his instrument and commercial license, following in his own father’s footsteps.

“I would like to do what my dad does but also tie in what I’ve learned here, at Bemidji Aviation,” Devin said.

“I started here through on-the-job training, no college. But they sent me down to college in Tennessee and I got my A&P license (for aviation mechanics). I would like to somehow tie the two together.”

The scholarship was established in memory of Bemidji Aviation’s former president, Larry Diffley, to help aspiring professional pilots.

Pictured are, from left: Devin Wikstrom and Tracie Walter, Vice President of Bemidji Aviation.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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