Georgia’s 21-Year-Old Black Pilot Pursues His Third College Degree

Meet Kegan Martindale-Hernandez, a 21-year-old African American pilot who earned his first college degree just before graduating high school and is currently pursuing his third.

Kegan obtained his first degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the age of 17. He later earned a B.S. in Aeronautics and is now pursuing his Master of Space Operations degree.

In addition, Kegan is a certified pilot and a published children’s novelist. His book, Sweet Flight!, co-authored with his mother, Blossom Martindale, encourages young minds to fly high.

Kegan developed an early interest in aircraft and engineering. In an interview with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he said that he began playing with joysticks and building with LEGO bricks as a child.

However, as he arrived in high school, he became bored and separated from his surroundings. That’s when his mother decided to enroll him in an aviation program that he found appealing. He was even accepted into the dual enrollment program, which allowed him to take college courses while still in high school.

“The program is life-changing and can help so many families to save money,” he went on to say. “It also makes graduate school a much more viable alternative than you had thought, and it can help you find a better job in your industry much earlier in life. Dual Enrollment, in my opinion, is a significant advantage.

Reflecting on his experience, Kegan recognizes the difficulties of juggling in-person and online classes, irregular sleep patterns, and weekend responsibilities. However, his hard work paid off in April 2020, when he received his A.S. in Aeronautics, followed by a smooth transition to online schooling.

Looking ahead, Kegan intends to pursue a career as a commercial pilot and work in the aerospace industry, potentially for NASA.

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