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Monday, February 26, 2024

21-Year-Old Black Pilot From Georgia to Earn His Third College Degree

Kegan Martindale Hernandez

Nationwide — Meet Kegan Martindale-Hernandez, a 21-year-old African American pilot who got his first college degree right before graduating high school and is now set to earn his third college degree.

Kegan’s academic journey began early when he earned his first degree from Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University when he was 17 years old. He later secured a B.S. in Aeronautics and is now about to complete his Master of Space Operations degree.

What’s more, Kegan is also a licensed pilot and a published children’s book author. His book, Sweet Flight!, co-authored with his mom, Blossom Martindale, aims to inspire young minds to soar high.

Growing up, Kegan has shown a fascination with aviation and engineering at a young age. He started tinkering with joysticks and building planes, trains, and boats out of LEGO blocks as a toddler, he said in an interview with Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University.

However, when he got to high school, the environment left him feeling bored and detached. That’s when his mother decided to enroll him in an aviation program that he found exciting. He even got into the dual enrollment program that 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 said. “It also allows grad school to become an option much earlier than you anticipated and can help you land a more favorable position in your field much earlier in life. The way I see it, Dual Enrollment is a valuable head start.”

Reflecting on his experience, Kegan acknowledges the challenges of balancing in-person and online classes, altered sleep patterns, and weekend commitments. However, the hard work paid off when he secured his A.S. in Aeronautics in April 2020, followed by a seamless transition to online learning.

Now, as he looks ahead, Kegan envisions a career as a commercial pilot and hopes to venture into the aerospace sector, possibly with NASA.