Drones Fly High at the RSU ART Academy

Trey Phillips, a camp participant from Skiatook, builds a remote-controlled robot during the ART Academy’s robotic lab at Rogers State University.

Trey Phillips, a camp participant from Skiatook, builds a remote-controlled robot during the ART Academy’s robotic lab at Rogers State University. The robotics lab and drone lab used at the camp were funded through a grant from AT&T Aspire.

Junior high and high school students from across Oklahoma worked with drones for the first time during the fifth annual Appreciating Real-World Technology (ART) Academy at Rogers State University.

The drone lab is the newest addition to the ART Academy program. A $12,000 grant from AT&T Aspire allowed the university to purchase 12 drones, robotic kits, programming software and supporting equipment for the program, said Dr. Abe Marrero, department head of the RSU Department of Psychology and Sociology and the event’s principal organizer.

“Drones are quickly becoming the next big technology wave, and it’s important to get Oklahoma children involved immersed in using and exploring this technology,” he said.

A week-long residential camp, ART Academy was held June 12-16 on the RSU Claremore campus with students staying in RSU’s campus housing. The camp offered students a hands-on classroom experience in a college environment. The camp’s goal is to help at-risk youth encounter a fun college environment through a variety of diverse learning experiences. Many participants would be the first in their family to attend college.

Camp participants Callie Hamm from Checotah and Hannah (Oliver) Parker from Catoosa prepare to fly their drone during the ART Academy at Rogers State University on the RSU soccer field.

Camp participants Callie Hamm from Checotah and Hannah (Oliver) Parker from Catoosa prepare to fly their drone during the ART Academy at Rogers State University on the RSU soccer field. Participants used computerized simulators to learn how to control the drones before taking flight.

“We’re trying to show that some things you do at college are fun,” Marrero said. “ART Academy also allows us to showcase the RSU campus, facilities and our talented faculty in hopes to inspire junior and high school students to pursue a degree at RSU or any Oklahoma institution of higher learning.”

The drone lab was facilitated by Reid Tarpley, an RSU business information technology senior from Claremore. Tarpley will be using his camp experience as the subject for his Senior Capstone project. Six RSU students served as mentors during the week, providing one-on-one instruction to camp participates.

The camp is funded through Gear Up, a U.S. Department of Education program designed to increase the number of at-risk students who are prepared to enter and succeed in college. ART Academy participants comprised 17 students from nine Oklahoma cities, including Stilwell, Elk City, Newkirk, Checotah, Ramoma, Sapulpa, Roland, Catoosa, and Skiatook, attended ART Academy.

For more information, contact Dr. Marrero at 918-343-7813 or [email protected].