Riley Wilhoite is on an unusual mission for a 10-year-old. She’s examining roofs around her neighborhood, looking for cracks, storm damage or holes. But the goal for the Tritt Elementary student isn’t about spotting construction defects; it’s learning how to manipulate a drone.
Wilhoite is on assignment from Fly Girls, a group launched two years ago in Cobb County schools to help girls in grades four through eight explore the world of aerospace through drones. With initial funding from Lockheed Martin, students received training on Parrott Mambo mini drones and joined like-minded peers across the county in “missions” designed to master drones’ practical uses.
“We wanted to give young women the opportunity to see that drones are something they can do,” said Sally Creel,STEM and Innovation supervisor for Cobb schools. “At the same time, we’re working on college and career readiness, helping them understand what they can do with this in the future.”
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One of Fly Girls’ first events in spring 2019 was held at Kennesaw Mountain High on the same day a state drone competition hosted about 100 young women from around Atlanta. Fly Girls interacted with peers from other school districts, attended a drone boot camp and watched a high school competition. Members of Cobb police and fire departments demonstrated how drones are used in different industries.
During last year’s gathering, Fly Girls met with representatives from the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia that showcased opportunities in that field. But now with COVID restrictions in place, the group has had to get more creative. About 50 Fly Girls have been managing missions remotely and uploading their findings to share.
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Source: H.M. Cauley, For the AJC
Photo credit: Press