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U of I Drone Workshops Introduce Students to STEM Careers

March 19, 2018

Middle and high school students from across the region will learn to fly unmanned aerial vehicles during field days this month and learn about tech careers in the process. 

How drone flying can lead to a career is the subject of three workshops around the state this month in Moscow, Boise and Pocatello. The workshops are part of the University of Idaho’s new Idaho Drone League (I-Drone) program, which aims to provide immersive learning experiences for statewide youths.

The workshop schedule is:

  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time, March 19-20 at Rendezvous Hall, Idaho State University, Pocatello, with flights Tuesday, March 20, at Bartz Field in Pocatello
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time, March 26-27 at the Best Western Plus University Inn, 1516 W. Pullman Road, Moscow, with flights March 27 at U of I's Parker Farm, 255 Farm Road, Moscow.
  • 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time, March 29-30 at East Junior High School, 5600 E. Warm Springs Ave, Boise, with flights March 30 at the Boise Area Radio Kontrol Society off Kuna Mora Road

The events are geared toward students in seventh through 11th grades who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Students will learn how to create their own drone controller by programming commands that enable a cup drone to take off, fly and turn.

Each participant will also have the opportunity to pilot small drones under the supervision of licensed pilots and engage in flight situations outdoors as weather permits. Regional drone pilots and representatives from area public safety agencies will be on hand to teach about local regulations and test the students on different scenarios.

“People fly drones for recreational and hobby purposes, but not many people know how to fly their drones safely and legally,” said Jae Ryu, associate professor in the U of I College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and an event organizer. “Developing an educational program helps Idaho youth understand federal regulations and safety guidelines and gives students hands-on drone-building experience.”

I-Drone will inform the students about the opportunities for the devices in their future careers and connect them with professionals already using the devices. Throughout the workshop, professionals will share how they use drones in their careers with students. 

“Drones have a huge potential to draw kids into STEM fields,” said Kirsten LaPaglia, director of STEM Access Projects with U of I. “They can do so many things: taking pictures or video, getting data with different attached sensors, or transporting things into remote places, which is increasingly important of rescue operations. It has high-tech appeal -- flight, piloting, building, speed, reconnaissance, monitoring and so much more.”

In addition, student participants are creating science fiction-themed posters that show the potential future for drones. Anyone interested in judging the posters or participating at the workshops may contact Ryu at jryu@uidaho.edu or LaPaglia at kirsten@uidaho.edu.

Additional I-Drone events took place March 19-20 in Pocatello and are scheduled for March 26-27 in Moscow. The field days are funded through a U of Vandal Ideas Project grant. Organizers plan to use the experience to hold similar events in the future.

Media Contacts:
Jae Ryu
Associate Professor
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
208-332-4402
jryu@uidaho.edu

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu


Contact

University Communications and Marketing

Phone: 208-885-6291

Fax: 208-885-5841

Email: uinews@uidaho.edu

Web: Communications and Marketing

U of I Media Contacts