From June 27-30, six female students in grades 6 through 10 had the opportunity to build and fly their own drones. Each student participated thanks to a Girls in Technology, Build a Drone experience scholarship, sponsored through a collaboration between Kashmir World Foundation’s DaVinci Challenge and consultant company Eagle Ray.
Over the first three days hosted at Eagle Ray’s Chantilly office, participants learned the basics of designing, constructing, and customizing a quadcopter drone, each girl working on a team with an Eagle Ray employee. On the fourth and final day, girls, parents, and friends from Eagle Ray traveled to the Foxcroft School in Middleburg to watch their creations take flight!
Coming into the workshop, most of the participants had absolutely no experience with drones. By the end of the workshop, the girls had “learned how drones work and how people use them, about teamwork, the importance of keeping a detailed build log, and how flying creatures relate to aircraft,” as explained by ninth grader Mia, 14. They learned where to attach the seemingly endless wires, how to connect the motor, and how to use the GPS and compass, a part that 8th grader Deekshita, 12, particularly enjoyed.
Over the course of the four days, each girl faced a unique set of challenges that she successfully overcame through hard work and troubleshooting. Mia first encountered problems when she discovered she had the wrong motor for her drone. She and her Eagle Ray partner, intern Alex, worked hard to keep up with the construction and not get behind schedule as they worked around this problem. Other girls faced challenges sorting the many wires and making sure that every part was in its precise location, which is imperative to the success of the drones. Despite the trials encountered, the girls remained engaged and thoughtful throughout the week, consistently challenging themselves and impressing everyone from Kashmir World Foundation and Eagle Ray.