Scientist Talks UAS with STEM Students

Woolpert research scientist Matt Hutchinson visited Dayton Christian School recently to discuss the technology, applications and future of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Hutchinson, an Australian native who has been with Woolpert for seven years, spoke to high schoolers and eighth graders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes focused on the study and operation of UAVs.

“Speaking with students at local schools is a great way to show the practical applications of the science and engineering taught in coursework, and hopefully will encourage students to pursue a career in UAS or its applications,” Hutchinson said. “At some point in their careers, it would also be great if these same students help the Dayton region and Ohio as they are the next generation of technical professionals and leaders.”

The Dayton region is known for its UAS work, with the University of Dayton Research Institute, Sinclair Community College, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Woolpert among those making strides in UAS development and education.

In December, Woolpert became the first surveying and aerial mapping company to earn an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly UAS commercially in designated airspace.

Dayton Christian STEM teacher Sue Norrod said she asked Hutchinson to speak at the school to give the students a vision of how their interest in UAS can be parlayed into a local career.

“Students catch more from the enthusiasm of someone actually working in the industry than from being told that the UAS field is going to offer many jobs,” Norrod said. “I have heard so many people say that they wish we could keep local talent local.”

The school, which serves preschool through 12th grade, also has a Flight Day event planned for May 4 to address this need.

Flight Day will feature students flying UAVs they have built in front of industry, education and government officials. Jeff Lovin, senior vice president and director of government solutions at Woolpert, is among those expected to attend.

“Flight Day is meant to showcase what students are able to do, as well as bring together innovators, businesses and leaders in the STEM field,” Norrod said. “If this method helps students to want to be engineers and designers, that could ultimately help our country. Flight Day will be a great time to talk about it.”