Drone Camp

A girl operates a flight simulator during the IBX Stem Center’s Drone Camp hosted by Michael’s Angels Girls Club in Tarboro.

Despite soaring temperatures and pandemic setbacks, a group of Edgecombe County girls spent the week rocking science and learning more about drone technology.

Eleven young girls, ages 9-17, participated in the IBX Stem Center’s Drone Camp in Tarboro this week. The event, titled “Girls Rocking Science,” was hosted by Michael’s Angels Girls Club on 214 N. Main St. in Tarboro.

All the participants were students of Edgecombe County Public Schools, Crystal DeLoatch, director of operations for Michael’s Angels Girls Club, said in a statement. Deloatch also emphasized that all state and federal COVID-19 safety guidelines were practiced at the camp.

“I enjoyed the camp because it taught us how to fly drones and planes. We also talked about what we wanted to be when we grow up,” said Assyria Western, 11.

This experience is just what Shanell Knight, founder and CEO of Michael’s Angels, hoped to provide. Her stated goal in founding Michael’s Angels is to “provide young girls every opportunity to become highly educated and equipped for the future.”

This week’s Drone Camp exposed young girls to a wide range of subjects including robotics, coding, aerodynamics and meteorology, DeLoatch said.

The Inner Banks Stem Center, based in Washington, N.C., presented the week-long camp, which was co-sponsored by The Center for Science Technology and Leadership Development. The camp was led by Al Powell, IBX Stem Center’s president. He and his staff conducted classes and lab experiments during the week.

Most of the camp took place at the Michael’s Angels location in Tarboro with some forays on the Tarboro Town Common to fly drones.

On Friday, the girls traveled to the IBX Stem Center in Washington. While there, they completed a drone obstacle course, learned how to use airplane controls and learned how to read the various gauges in the airplane. The high school girls in the group also were able to get inside an airplane simulator, which allowed them to take off, fly and land an airplane virtually.

“The camp was wonderful and enlightening. It was different and great for girls to experience. I enjoyed the airplane simulator and I want to thank Michael’s Angels for the opportunity,” Nya Guilford, 17, said.

A grant from Blueprint NC made this experience possible, DeLoatch said.