High school library converted into drone obstacle course for students

Lisa DuFur in the drone studio she created. (Source: St. Benedict at Auburndale)
Lisa DuFur in the drone studio she created. (Source: St. Benedict at Auburndale)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Some students at St. Benedict at Auburndale are skipping lunch to fly drones.

The school received nine drones and four 3-D printers earlier in the year. Library Class Activity Director Lisa DuFur took the materials and set up a drone studio where students can create and code drones in accordance to FAA regulations.

The setup encourages students to explore the STEM field.

"It really lets everybody become exposed to it," assistant principal Dr. Elizabeth Fischer said. She said many students are intimidated by the word "engineering," but the drones are a fun way to get them into the field.

Junior Maya Keith said she'd never looked at or thought about drones before they appeared in her library.

"I'm a theater student, so the STEM program was never really on my radar to be a part of. But when I got the opportunity to be a part of it, I said 'why not,'" Keith said.

According to the 2009 census, women only make up about 24 percent of workers in STEM fields. Keith is one of two girls working with the drones. She said her focus is on exploring something new.

"I loved flying the drones and being a part of this, so it didn't really matter if I was male or female," Keith said.

In addition to setting up the drone studio, DuFur took a week-long certification class where she learned how to better program the drones. That knowledge has helped the students advance their techniques and more easily incorporate other students into the program.

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