Eastern Michigan University Presidential Scholar also earns prestigious Gates Scholarship in pursuit of an aviation degree

Anyah Johnson's headshot on an aerial photo of campus with a green transparent overlay.

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University Honors freshman Anyah Johnson has managed to acquire 10 scholarships on top of her Gates and Presidential Scholarships to aid in funding her venture into the EMU Aviation Flight Technology program. 

Johnson, an EMU Presidential Scholar, has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first recipient from Eastern Michigan University to be awarded The Gates Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship, granted annually to only 300 students nationwide from a pool of over 35,000 applicants, is a highly selective, last-dollar scholarship designed for exceptional minority students exhibiting outstanding leadership qualities. To qualify, applicants must graduate in the top 10% of their high school class and demonstrate exemplary personal success skills.

The EMU Presidential Scholarship is the most prestigious award that the University provides to eligible, incoming, first-year students. The scholarship, valued up to $100,000, covers full tuition, fees, and room and board for four years. The Gates Scholarship will cover the additional cost of Johnson’s flight training, estimated at $80,000 over four years.

“Together, the Gates Foundation and Eastern Michigan’s Honors College have given me a chance a majority of economically disadvantaged scholars do not have: a debt-free college degree and, in particular, one that will allow me to become a pilot,” said Johnson. “I am grateful that I will not join the 45 million Americans paying student loans well past the obtention of their degree.” 

She added, “My first couple of months here at Eastern have shown me how magnetic the aerospace field is. I am excited to be part of a program that provides exceptional flight training for pilots. The Honors College also contributed to my decision to attend Eastern. Before stepping foot on campus, I already saw how geared the program is toward the success of its students. Being a Presidential Scholar provides the presence of intelligent, like-minded peers, many of whom I consider friends.” 

Fewer than 5% of all pilots are women, 2.6% are Black, and 0.1% are Black and female. Johnson is proud to have the opportunity to increase the number of Black, female pilots in the U.S.

“I have been blessed with a village of people pushing for my success. My late sister encouraged me to pursue my education to the fullest extent back when I was in middle school, and I have applied myself as an academic weapon ever since,” stated Johnson. “The faculty and staff at William H. Spencer High School in Columbus, Georgia, pushed me to my fullest capabilities and encouraged me to strive to reach my dreams. Now the Gates Foundation and EMU are ensuring the future I envision.” 

For more information about the Presidential Scholarship, visit https://www.emich.edu/admissions/scholarships/psc.php.

For more information about the Gates Scholarship, visit https://www.thegatesscholarship.org/scholarship.

For more information about the Aviation Program, visit https://www.emich.edu/cet/tech-professional-mgmt/programs/aviation/programs/index.php.


About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

December 12, 2023

Written by:
Brooke Whittaker

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher