More than 150 middle and high school students and their faculty sponsors will converge at Rogers State University to put their drone skills to the test at RSU’s fifth annual AeroGames, powered by Google.
The popular science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition will be held on Friday, March 31 on the RSU Claremore campus.
In addition to the competition, this year’s event will also include Geek Street, an educational showcase of local businesses and industries that will be on hand to demonstrate how they apply STEM principles in the workplace. Both the Aero Games and Geek Street are free and open to the public to observe.
Nineteen teams have taken on the Aero Games challenge to build a flight-worthy drone and fly it through a complex obstacle course designed specifically for the event. The course includes six components: Elevated Pass Thru; Vertical Slalom; Bullseye Landing and Vertical Takeoff; Three-Point 180-Degree Turn; Obstacle X-treme Wind Challenge; and a Top Cup Pyramid Finish. Googlers and other volunteers will score the competition using objective criteria such as time, speed, distance, and accuracy.
This year’s course was designed by the RSU AeroCats Leadership Team, a group of senior students who are facilitating this year’s competition as part of their final capstone project.
The Aero Games will also feature a keynote video presentation by Captain Carol A. Hottenrott of the U.S. Navy. Hottenrott received her commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1987 and completed basic training as a Special Operations Diving and Salvage Officer. During her career, Hottenrott has used underwater salvage equipment, served as a commander for both ships and squadrons, and worked as a congressional liaison. Currently she serves as a military professor and speaks about the importance of STEM subjects in higher education.
Awards will be given to the first, second and third place finishers, best crash, most creative, and school spirit. One 2017 graduating senior student will also receive a $1,000 scholarship/tuition waiver.
“The Aero Games gives students the opportunity to showcase their abilities in a fun, competitive environment,” Google Operations Manager Brenda Standridge said. “We are always impressed with the creativity and spirit demonstrated at this event. Our goal is to encourage and celebrate the students’ interest in STEM in hopes to develop the next generation of innovators.”
Since the opening of Google’s Oklahoma data center in 2011, it has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants related to STEM education in Oklahoma including funding laptop labs, robotics programs and STEM labs in all Mayes County schools.
“Rogers State University is pleased to continue a strong partnership with Google through the Aero Games and other educational initiatives. These Games are an excellent way to pique student interest in STEM fields of study while they compete in a fun and exciting environment,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice. “We know STEM proficiency is fast becoming a deciding factor when our students begin the search for meaningful and financially rewarding jobs and careers in Oklahoma’s workforce. Partnerships with industry giants like Google are a welcome boost to our mission to educate tomorrow’s innovators and leaders.”
This is the fifth time that RSU has hosted the event, which will be held on the RSU Claremore campus at 1701 W. Will Rogers Blvd.
The welcome ceremony will be held in the Bushyhead Fieldhouse at 11:30 a.m. and will feature the keynote presentation by Captain Hottenrott. The public is invited to view the competitions throughout the day.