January 10, 2022

Get to know Skydio's Maddy Johnson - Manufacturing Intern 2021

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Maddy Johnsone Skydio Manufacturing Intern

Tell us about yourself! What was your path to becoming a Skydio intern

Ever since I was a kid, aviation has been a passion of mine. Whether that be attending air shows or playing with RC helicopters, I was always perplexed by the art of flight. Fast forward to college, and I decided to major in materials science engineering with a focus in aerospace structures. When I was a sophomore in college, I got an internship at the Virginia Tech Drone Park. I flew a drone for the first time, and the rest is really history. Ever since that first flight, I knew that I wanted to work on and fly drones for my job. Sounds like the coolest job ever to me.

I first learned of Skydio a little over a year ago through a Casey Neistat video. After watching that video, I watched some of Nicole Bonk’s flight school videos, and I was sold. I immediately reached out to a recruiter on LinkedIn and said I would do anything to work for Skydio. Getting the internship and moving out to Redwood City for the summer of 2021 was truly a dream come true for me.

What team did you work on during your time at Skydio?

I was on the manufacturing team under Olek Lorenc. My title was manufacturing intern, but I had a very cross-functional experience at Skydio. I worked closely with the hardware/electrical engineering team, the RF engineering team, and the flight test engineers. I spent a lot of time in the office, but also in the field at Half Moon Bay.

Why did you choose to intern with Skydio? What about the company’s mission/vision appealed to you?

I chose to intern with Skydio because they’re the best drone company out there, duh, More seriously though, Skydio stands alone in the droniverse. I knew I wanted to work on drones, and if we’re talking American drone companies, Skydio is at the top of its game while still being relatively new. The tech is just so cool and honestly unbelievable; I can’t think of another drone company I’d rather work for. After interning with Skydio, I can say that I strongly believe in their mission statement. I think that’s true across the board for Skydians. The products that have been released have already made things safer and more efficient for many different applications. I can only see that growing with what’s to come in the future.

What project were you most excited to work on during your time as a Skydio intern?

One of my favorite things I got to do while I was at Skydio was build an X2 from the ground up. I learned all about the inner workings of the world’s greatest drone, and that was really exciting. I also got to spend a lot of time flying out at the Half Moon Bay test site, which was a great experience. My main project was working on a GPS correlation study for the X2, and I can say with confidence that I am a GPS sommelier after this summer.

What lessons will you take back to school with you? To future jobs?

Some of the biggest takeaways I got from Skydio were independence and confidence. Working in a start up can make for a very “go go go” environment, but everyone I worked with was always calm, cool and collected, and more importantly, always seemed to enjoy what they were doing. I had a lot of independence in this role, which enabled me to learn so much and taught me to think on my feet. Before starting at Skydio, I was nervous. Being such a fan girl of Skydio’s and getting to work alongside some of the most brilliant engineers was definitely intimidating. I held my own though and learned to be more confident in my abilities. I read that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. At Skydio, my average went way up. What I learned this summer will definitely stick with me as I look for a job after college. (Hoping very much that I will be working for Skydio after grad 😊 )

Lightning Round

Favorite Skydio Customer Video

Amber Torrealba’s skim boarding videos are so satisfying

Favorite Skydio Feature: The camera gimbal pitches up!

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