From making paper planes to real ones

From an early age, Stephanie's mind was set on working in the aviation industry as an engineer. Capt Maseka Kithinji From an early age, Stephanie Mueni’s favourite toy was a model aircraft. She would carry it everywhere. As she grew older, her fascination ballooned; she loved making and playing with paper aircraft. By the time she got to high school, her mind was set on a career in aviation. As the first and only daughter in a family of four, her parents took notice of her interest at an early age. They enrolled her at Excel Girls High School, a school that had aviation as a subject. She took aviation as her technology subject throughout high school and learnt of the different careers within the aviation industry. “At that moment in my life, I wrote in my dream board that I would become an aeronautical engineer,” she said. After high school, she joined Trans Eastern Airlines Aviation College for her aeronautical programme and completed her studies despite the countless challenges. Financing her education was a problem. She also had to fight the “gender war,” since many of her classmates looked down upon her because she was a woman. “In the entire course we were three girls, and only I and another girl managed to complete our studies. However, I am the only one who has managed to work in this field,” she said. Stephanie performed well during the course and got an opportunity to become a tutor with Trans Eastern for two years. At only 27 years, she now works as a maintenance technician at a local airline. Stephanie is also working on acquiring her A&C licence. She hopes to one day work for De Havilland Canada, the manufactures of the famous Dash Q-400 and CRJs aircraft. When not working on an aircraft, Stephanie is a mentor at Girls in Aviation Africa (GIAA). The foundation has given her a deeper appreciation and new perspective on both her life and career. Aviation, she says, is proof that given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.