A couple of dozen teen girls from the San Diego Health Sciences High School were able to operate a $60,000 drone on their own. While on their Spring break, the girls who are studying to be FAA certified drone pilots, learned how to fly drones with laser detection and ranging. This was part of the ‘Girls Take Flight’ program at the Elementary Institute of Science.
Empowering women in STEAM
Elementary Institute of Science executive director Jim stone, mentioned that the girls spent about 30 hours being introduced to the world of drones. All of this was for them to prepare for a 9-month program open only to 25 young women ages 16-19 in November as part of “Our Genetic Legacy.” This program was created as a way to empower the most underrepresented in STEAM, which are women, and to use the most advanced technology to recover their legacy. The students mapped and surveyed the Julian Pioneer Cemetery with drones and also created a virtual memorial of the Harrison Serenity Ranch. They used LiDAR and other geospatial equipment to recover those locations.
Learning from female engineers
The girls also learned from female aerospace engineers of color. Jasmine Leflore, co-founder and executive director of Greater Than Tech, mentioned that they are creating the next emerging technology leaders by combining STEM and business together for girls from untapped communities.
Dan Hubert, CEO of MODUS, or Mapping Operations Data Unmanned Solutions served as the program’s drone instructor. Shyanne Smith, one of the girls flying the drones, served as a student instructor to other young girls in the ‘Girls Take Flight’ program and already has her drone certification. As she decides between attending the University of San Diego or Berkeley in the Fall, she says her drone knowledge has been life-changing.
With these actions, students and program instructors wanted to do a full restoration of the buildings and potential archaeological sites underneath the vegetation in the San Diego area. The girls expressed that the program was of great help to get them exposed to careers that they didn’t know about before such as being drone pilots. Now girls can choose to become engineers, scientists, and pilots with the help of these programs.