A Significant First for a Spelman College Graduate

La’Shanda Holmes, a 2007 graduate of Spelman College, has become the first black woman to be certified as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is one of 85 women aviators among the 1,200 pilots in the Coast Guard. She is currently stationed at the Coast Guard Air Station in Los Angeles.

When she was a toddler, Holmes lost her mother to suicide. She was adopted, then later placed in foster homes. Despite her unfortunate circumstances, Holmes graduated magna cum laude from high school and was accepted at Spelman. She became interested in the Coast Guard at a career day held at the college.