RSU’s AeroCats Team Provides STEM Community Outreach

people posing with Aerocats team shirts

Following a summer of STEM community outreach, three Rogers State University students in the applied technology degree plan are excited for a new academic year. Senior Autumn Courtney, of Pryor; senior Chris Medrano, of Tulsa; and sophomore Austin Silcox, of Sapulpa, taught and mentored more than 70 participants through workshops covering drone flight, safety and build basics. Assistant Professor of Technology Curtis Sparling served as the faculty advisor. 

“Service learning is key part of a student’s development,” Sparling said. “I’m proud of our students and how they inspired an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through hands-on demonstrations and instruction.”

Students and participants in the program provided solutions to real-life problems. Through the Unmanned Aircraft Sytems Design, Build and Fly workshop, participants repaired two drones for the Tulsa-based nonprofit Up With Trees. The organization exists to cultivate a better community by utilizing trees for their environmental, economic, and social benefits and uses drones in their operations.

For RSU senior Chris Medrano, service learning made a lasting impact. 

“Through this experience, my focus on future careers has shifted from working in the insurance field to a strong consideration in how I can use my degree to educate others,” Medrano said. “I believe there is great satisfaction in teaching others new skills, I would be excited to find a way to apply the experience teaching STEM to my future career goals.”

Beyond community outreach workshops, RSU annually hosts a drone building and piloting competition for junior high and high school students throughout northeast Oklahoma. The competition, known as  AeroGames, is hosted by RSU, sponsored by MidAmerica Industrial Park and powered by Google. For the past seven years RSU capstone students in the Applied Technology program have mentored the junior high and high school students as they build and pilot their aircraft.

“The collaborative partnerships we have with business and industry are focused on providing the next generation of Oklahoma’s workforce with direct exposure to the region’s growing industries and the degree programs we offer at RSU,” Sparling said.

Rogers State University offers a Bachelor of Technology in Applied Technology with a degree option in Unmanned Aircraft Systems. The degree provides the technological skills to design, build, and fly an unmanned aircraft as well as provides the required knowledge to take the FAA Part 107 Pilot’s license examination.

For more information on technology degrees at RSU, visit