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Past Scholarship Recipients

Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno Memorial Scholarship in partnership with the Florida Institute of Technology and with the support of the Del Bagno family.

2019: Gabriella Ferra
2020: Ryan King
2021: Monte Rodriguez
2022: Ricardo Miller

About Stephen 'Cajun' Del Bagno

Stephen ‘Cajun’ Del Bagno’s lifelong dream of becoming an Air Force pilot was inspired by his family’s military background and nurtured from a young age. Despite facing setbacks, including a serious knee injury, Stephen’s determination and support from loved ones propelled him forward. His journey included various roles in aviation, from corporate pilot to serving as Chief of Standardization and Evaluation for the 58th Fighter Squadron. In 2017, he made history as the first F-35A pilot selected for the Thunderbirds. In 2018, ‘Cajun’ tragically lost his life in a training accident in 2018. Stephen’s legacy is one of resilience, dedication, and inspiration, leaving behind a profound impact on his community and country. He will be remembered for his warrior spirit, talent, and passion for flight, continuing to inspire future generations of aviators.

About the Cajun Scholarship

The National Air, Sea, and Space Foundation (NASSF) and Broward College have jointly established the Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno Memorial Scholarship at the Emil Buehler Aviation Institute at Broward College. This scholarship honors the memory of U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Major Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno, who tragically lost his life in a training accident. Del Bagno had a notable aviation career, flying various aircraft, including the F-16 and F-35, and joining the Thunderbirds in 2017.

The scholarship, known as the Cajun Scholarship, aims to support aspiring aviators at Broward College. It is distinctive in that it can be used for both flight fees and tuition. Eligibility criteria include academic merit and a demonstrated passion for aviation. Finalists will be reviewed annually, and the recipient will be chosen by the Del Bagno family and close friends.

Funding for the scholarship comes from ticket proceeds for the Flight Suit Social hosted by NASSF, held in conjunction with the Fort Lauderdale Air Show. The inaugural Flight Suit Social in April 2022 contributed over $20,000 to the scholarship fund. The social event offers an exclusive opportunity to meet pilots and experience aircraft up close. Ticket sales directly support the scholarship, allowing future aviation professionals to excel in the field.

Broward College, serving around 56,000 students annually, provides various educational programs, including certificate programs, two-year transfer degrees, career degrees, and selected baccalaureate degrees.

The National Air, Sea, and Space Foundation, established in 2010, is a Florida-based tax-exempt, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing military, commercial, and civil enterprises in air, sea, and space.

For more information, visit Broward College and NASSF.

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