SAFB female pilot empowers young girls


Lamar Elementary School in Wichita Falls is showing young girls the sky is the limit, literally!

Five Sheppard Air Force Base pilots spoke to the kiddos Monday afternoon.

While the "Boys With Purpose" and "Ladies with Leadership" groups all heard from those service members, it was the woman lieutenant who truly inspired the young ladies.

"My goals are to continue to fly," said Lieutenant Brittany Dippel to a group of students. "I want to be a pilot in the air force and continue to help people."

As the kids listened in awe to the pilots, Lt. Dippel stood out among the airmen.

"Because there is that stigma that not a lot of females are in the military, let alone in the pilot community," said Lt. Dippel. "For the most part it is true, there's definitely a smaller representation of females in the air force and the pilot world."

Something that many of the young girls said they also thought.

"I heard someone say that pilots are mostly boys, and I was surprised that she was here," said Mariah Thompson.

That's why Lt. Dippel said she loves speaking with them, in hopes of sending the message of empowerment.

"Hopefully inspire them that they can do just as much in anything they want to do," she said.

Stevie Rae Hoskins, a teacher at Lamar Elementary School, said that's why she wanted to bring in Lt. Dippel.

"I'm a huge advocate for empowering women," said Hoskins.

Hoskins said especially young women in an area where there are a  lot of economically disadvantaged families.

"Maybe some of their families have not been able to achieve some of the goals they wanted," said Hoskins.

She said giving the girls the chance to see someone who was able to achieve their dreams will give them hope.

"You know seeing the reality of it that you really can do it  It really is possible because you have someone right here in front of you that's done it," said Hoskins.

A message that seemed to really hit home with some of the girls.

"That made me feel glad that women can do anything that boys can do," said Ana Duron.

Her classmates agreed.

"It doesn't really matter what gender it is.  Even though it's a woman, they play soccer and do anything like a man," said Gabriella Zuniga.

Lt. Dippel said being able to have a positive impact on young girls and boy's lives makes all the sacrifices worth it.

The kiddos also got to ask the pilots some questions and try on some of their gear.

The "Boys With Purpose" and "Ladies with Leadership" groups aim to teach all of the 45 students involved in the program about being good leaders, not only at school, but in the community.

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