RSU Hosts Osage Nation Students at Drone Workshop Sept. 15

  • Elementary students learning about and building drones

Interest in Rogers State University’s drone program continues to spread across the state, with learners from near and far coming to Claremore to take advantage of the programs and degrees offered at the university.

A group of Native American students made the trip from “far” indeed – Burbank, Pawhuska, Wynona, Ponca City, Mannford, Bartlesville, Hominy and beyond – to participate in a day-long workshop to learn more about drones and other technology offered at RSU Friday, Sept. 15.

According to RSU Technology and Justice Studies Department Head Curtis Sparling, 12 Osage Nation students in the sixth and seventh grades were at RSU in Claremore to participate in an Osage Nation Drone Workshop.

“We hosted a drone, design, build and fly seminar, which included 3D modeling, 3D printing, soldering, earning the FAA TRUST Certificate and of course, drone flight lessons,” Sparling said. “These drone flight lessons were on both the drones that the workshop attendees built as well as our own DJI drones.”

Sparling facilitated planning to host the student workshop with Osage Nation Education Department STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Resource Coordinator Marla Nauni.

“I started working with the Osage Nation Steam Program in December 2022,” Nauni said. “Upon discovering drones in my storage area, I reached out to the Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance (TRSA) to see if they might have any connections for our drones. That’s when Mr. Sparling reached out and connected with us.

“We set up a meeting at which, I visited the RSU campus, he showed me the RSU Makerspace and expressed that if I was interested in bringing students up for a drone workshop, we could make that happen,” she said.

Nauni said she’s hopeful that the workshop will benefit the Osage Nation’s future generations by helping them become more confident in STEAM and knowing that opportunities exist for them should they be willing to pursue their dreams.

“I’m very thankful to Mr. Sparling and Rogers State University for this opportunity to share, not only with the Osage Nation, but also our communities we serve,” she said.

The Osage Nation Education Department provides educational and supportive services to the Osages so they can obtain the skills needed to become productive individuals and contributors to their community. The Nation is headquartered in Osage County in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. 

For more information about RSU’s drone program, micro-credential availability or the university’s Department of Technology and Justice Studies, visit