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Sun, 25 Jun 2017

Preparing for take-off

evening sky

The sky’s not the limit, it’s their goal: 48 school girls will be stretching their wings at two drone camps in Cairns this week.

At the She Flies camp, girls in grades six to 12 will learn how to stay safe around drones, how to fly one and how to navigate an obstacle course. They’ll also learn how to program their drone to follow their commands, to trial miniaturized but real-world applications such as aerial photographic survey, weed bombing, and searching for the thylacine.

“The students don’t need to have any prior experience, but by the end of the week they’ll be confident using the technology and they’ll know how to make it work for them, whether they’re using a drone to conduct a scientific mission or just having fun,” She Flies Co-founder and Chief Education Officer, Dr Karen Joyce said.

She Flies is an initiative that originated in Cairns and has since gathered interest and support around the country.

Dr Joyce, a senior lecturer at James Cook University in Cairns, says it’s all about girls exploring science and technology and perhaps planning a future in that area.

“We aim to overcome the idea that STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – are just for boys. We’re going to beat that by giving girls a safe environment to try their skills, fun activities to help them develop and apply their knowledge, and excellent role models to work with.”

Sponsored by the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science, the Cairns camp is one of a series being run by She Flies – there will be one in Darwin in July, and another in Karratha in September.

“Opening up STEM studies and careers to girls in remote and regional areas is an important part of our program,” Dr Joyce said. “These subjects lead to careers in growth areas and we don’t want girls from Australia’s tropical north to miss out on those opportunities.

“Technology is becoming increasingly important in many of the traditional industries in regional Australia, and we need to be using the full capacity of our workforce.”

For more information about She Flies: http://www.sheflies.com.au/