According to the Federal Aviation Administration's annual statistics, women comprised only 7.6% of registered Remote Pilots (aka licensed drone pilots) at the end of 2021. While it's a slight increase from past years, there's no question that the drone industry can and should make closing the gender gap a priority.
At Skydio, we're committed to doing our part. Building off last year's successful Women's Fly Day, Skydio committed to expanding this year's efforts into our local community by providing a welcoming space for young women to engage with drones and learn more about the technology.
Recently, we were excited to host a Youth Fly Day, bringing together 75 Freshman students from ICA Cristo Rey All Girls Academy of San Francisco for a day of hands-on exposure to and education about drones. It was an exciting opportunity for the Skydio team to help inspire the next generation of women pilots and engineers.
ICA was selected due to their ongoing investment and dedication to education and the proven success of supporting young women to and through college - 85% of ICA Cristo Rey graduates are first-generation college bound. Additionally ICA has an ongoing commitment to new areas of academics, including a focus on STEM classes and programming, where they offer a range of classes for the students including conceptual physics to web programming.
“I was incredibly lucky to be exposed to drones and robotics at a young age, and we are super passionate about sharing that opportunity. By hosting events like this for our local community and youth groups, we’re hoping that what we do day to day can inspire the next generation of pilots, engineers, and technologists of the future.” - Adam Bry, CEO of Skydio
At the Youth Fly Day, students rotated between stations to learn about a variety of topics, from the physics of drones and use cases to photogrammetry scanning and cinematography with drones. They even were able to fly the drones themselves, and experienced some of Skydio's unique capabilities like tracking and 3D Scan firsthand. Students gained insight into a range of technical functionality from how thermal cameras and antennas work to photogrammetry and how propellers work on quadcopters.
The day also featured a career panel where many of the women of Skydio shared advice and learnings from their own journeys pursuing STEM careers in the drone industry.
“Many of us who now work at Skydio or in the drone industry came in through round-about ways, so when we look at supporting the next generation of young women, it’s vital we share how we all got here, what we overcame, what were the biggest impacts to our success, and what we wish we knew before starting our careers.” - Mira Marquez, Senior Producer & Program Lead for Skydio For All
After the event, 30% of the students who attended the sessions shared a newfound interest in pursuing a career within technology and drones, with many noting that hearing from other women in the field during the career panel was invaluable. Closing the gender gap in the drone industry won't happen overnight and while our Youth Fly Day event was a great start, it's just the beginning.
ICA’s Corporate Work-Study program has been a part of the ICA Network of high schools for the past 26 years and uniquely integrates a rigorous academic curriculum with four years of professional work experience, providing students an opportunity to develop life-changing career skills at an early age. As part of our commitment to helping foster the new generation of women engineers, pilots and technologists, we're excited to continue our partnership with ICA through this program by offering their students the ability to apply and work with Skydio for the upcoming academic year.
We are thrilled to be working with ICA in the program and are looking forward to welcoming the first round of ICA students into our offices.