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  • Writer's pictureBy Akshata

Empowering Future Innovators: Girls Who Drone Hosts Drone Workshop for Columbia University Youth in STEM Program

Women Who Drone X Columbia Youth in STEM
Women Who Drone X Columbia University Youth in STEM students

In an era where technology continues to shape our world, initiatives that foster STEM education among youth are invaluable. One such initiative is the Columbia Youth in STEM Initiative, launched by Columbia University's School of Professional Studies, aimed at empowering underrepresented populations in New York City. Under this umbrella, a recent Women Who Drone (WWD) workshop illuminated the potential of drone technology, sparked aspirations, and provided practical skills to the participants.

Before the workshop, we conducted both pre- and post-surveys. Keep reading to discover the outcomes.

The Introductory Session

Introductory session by Elena Buenrostro Founder & CEO of WWD
Introductory session by Elena Buenrostro, Founder & CEO of Women Who Drone

The workshop kicked off with an inspiring introduction by Elena Buenrostro, Founder and CEO of Women Who Drone. Elena shared her journey, recounting how she discovered the endless possibilities of drones as she captured the beauty of the Great Wall of China. This trip cemented her passion for drone photography and videography while revealing the stark reality that women are underrepresented in drone piloting.

Motivated to change the gender imbalance, she created Women Who Drone, an online community dedicated to inspiring, educating, and empowering women and girls with drone technology.

Following Elena's inspirational narrative, Ella Sophia Garcia, Curriculum Director at Women Who Drone, gave an overview of drone technology, covering the fundamentals of commercial and hobbyist drones and the various applications of drone technology. Ella underscored the significance of comprehending FAA rules and regulations to ensure safe and responsible drone operation.

Hands-on Learning Stations

Hands-on Learning Station
Hands-on Learning Station

After the introductory session, participants were divided into groups and rotated through three engaging learning stations:

  1. Introduction to Drone Components, led by Elena, where students learned about the different sensors, cameras, flight controllers, and types of motors used in drones.

  2. Building a Tiny Drone, facilitated by Mike Hefner, who guided participants through the process of assembling their own miniature drones.

  3. Flying Tello Drones, led by Ella, allowed students to practice flying drones in a controlled environment.

Breakout Session and Feedback

Breakout session
Tello Drone Flight session

The workshop concluded with a breakout session, where participants could ask questions and share their experiences. Subsequently, feedback was gathered from the attendees to assess the workshop's impact.

The results were remarkably positive, with a significant increase in the average knowledge rating after the workshop, from 1.91 to 3.77 on a scale of 5. This improvement underscores the value of the workshop and the impact it had on the participants' learning.

The workshop resonated deeply with the participants, leaving a lasting impression. Here's what some of them had to say:

"Technology is really cool, but I never really considered drones when I say that statement until today. This workshop opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities!" one student remarked. "It really showed me how you can turn any passion of yours into something helpful in the world."

Inspiring the Next Generation

The Columbia Youth in STEM Initiative and Women Who Drone's collaboration was a resounding success, inspiring and educating the next generation of drone enthusiasts. The workshop aimed to break down barriers and encourage more women to pursue careers in this exciting field by providing hands-on learning opportunities and showcasing the diverse applications of drone technology.

The average encouragement rating out of 5 for pursuing a career involving drone technology stood at 3.36, while for obtaining the Part 107 drone license, it reached 3.64. But these numbers only tell part of the story. The true impact of the workshop was in the inspiration it instilled among students, encouraging them to delve deeper into the subject matter. This objective was not just achieved, but exceeded, as evidenced by the feedback shared by participants.

"This could be a hobby I can profit off of. I began to love drones even more than I did before."

The Columbia Youth in STEM Initiative and Women Who Drone's partnership is a shining example of how collaboration and community engagement can make a significant impact in promoting STEM education and diversity in industries using drone technology.


Akshata is the founder of Drone Script. She is known for her deep passion for drones and her ability to overcome challenges in this rapidly-evolving industry.

She has spent countless hours researching and experimenting with various drone models, honing her skills as a pilot and innovator. She continues to inspire others with her passion for innovation and her commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible with drone technology.

LinkedIn: @akshata


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