NASA astronaut hands award to Georgian Armenian pilot Nadezhda Benklyan

Heide Piper, NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain from Minnesota, has awarded Georgian-Armenian female pilot Nadezhda Benklyan with a US Embassy Award for female empowerment and courage, Sputnik Georgia reports.

Nadezhda Benklyan, 25, is the first and only female pilot in Georgia’s civil aviation.

Heide Piper visits Georgia December 2-8 as a speaker in the U.S. Embassy’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.

Within the framework of the visit she talked about challenges she faced working in male-dominated fields, and encouraged young women to follow their dreams.

Heide shared the highlights of her career as a Navy salvage scuba diver and the crewmember of five space shuttle missions.

She presented awards to notable and courageous female alumni of the Aviation University in Tbilisi and the Maritime Academy in Batumi, and held lectures in Telavi, Zugdidi, and Batumi.

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