Drone tech brings new experiences

James Cook University is partnering with local Cairns start-up business She Maps to run a work experience week like no other – teaching high school girls how drones can be used in science and business.

JCU senior lecturer Dr Karen Joyce has welcomed three students from Bentley Park, one from Cairns High, and two students from Burdekin Catholic High School (Ayr) to the JCU Ideas Lab for the week.

She said the group of female students has been identified by their respective schools as having a strong interest in science, technology, engineering, and maths, and they’re keen to test their skills using drones.

“With a focus on both environmental science and entrepreneurship, the students will work throughout the week to learn how drones are used to capture data to monitor local ecosystems. They will also learn how to process the data and communicate their findings,” said Dr Joyce.

She said the program was designed to show that work experience can offer more than a chance to sweep floors and make coffee.

“Diversity in thought is really important in building innovation and creativity in research. The students will bring their own valuable perspectives, so when we work together to solve problems that’s when the magic happens,” said Dr Joyce.

She Maps Managing Director Paul Mead says the partnership with JCU is critical to the success of the week. “As a small tech start-up business, our employees all work from their home offices. So, to have a facility like the Ideas Lab where we can work face-to-face with work experience students is a game changer,” he said.

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