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Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Faculty-Staff Holiday Card Scholarship recipient has lifelong dream of being an Air Force pilot on the runway and picking up speed.

People  |  Nov 14, 2018  |  By Marian Alper
Blaise Cohen

Blaise Cohen, a cadet in the UNLV Air Force ROTC program, has had his pilot's license since age 17.

Editor's Note: 

The UNLV faculty/staff holiday card is an annual tradition that allows the campus community to share greetings while supporting student scholarships. The 2018 deadline for donors to be listed on the card is Nov. 27. Visit UNLV Foundation scholarship giving page for information.


As a boy, Blaise Cohen would watch airplanes take off and land at McCarran for hours a day. His grandfather would pick him up at school, then pull the car into the airport viewing area on Sunset Road. Today, as a sophomore majoring in political science at UNLV, Cohen’s sights are still air bound.

“I always knew exactly what I wanted to be: a pilot in the U.S. Air Force,” Cohen says. “I grew up in a patriotic household and always planned to serve this country in some way, shape, or form. As an officer, I can serve my country and also those who serve.”

He is well on his way to achieving his goal: Cohen is currently a cadet in the Air Force ROTC program at UNLV.

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Cohen participated in the aviation magnet program at Rancho High School. He got his pilot’s license at age 17. His interest in political science grew out of his determination to be an Air Force officer.

“I feel I need to understand the places I go,” he explains. “It’s important to be aware of the history and relationships the U.S. has with other countries.”

The UNLV Faculty-Staff Holiday Card Scholarship is helping to fuel Cohen’s ambitions. The extra support allows him to focus on school and training in preparation for a life of public service.

“All of my professors have been outstanding,” he says. “And getting this scholarship is awesome. I was raised to believe that education would be the key to my success. My family instilled a sense that the community is my community. They taught me that I should always look out for others, even in small things.

“Whenever my dad and I walked past a vet or a police officer,” he adds. “We would thank them.”