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Randi Zuckerberg interviews the Drone Girl

I had the honor of sharing my experience as the Drone Girl with Randi Zuckerberg for her LinkedIn series, #52Women52Weeks.

Read the entire piece here. For now, here are some excerpts:

How did you find your passion for drones? 
It found me! Seriously. I needed one more elective credit to graduate, and the only thing that fit in my schedule was a Monday afternoon “Drone Journalism” class. It was the first year of the class, so I didn’t know what it was, but I signed up and fell in love with it. After the class, I got my own drone and started writing about it.

What do you see next in the future of drones?
Sense and avoid technology is so important in making drone use in populated areas feasible. We won’t have urban drone delivery until drones can sense the moving world around them. What’s awesome is that one of the largest drone creators, DJI, just debuted a drone that has two sensors in front so it can see what’s ahead of it. The next iteration of drones will have more (and smarter) sensors, meaning a future of deliveries, search and rescue missions, building inspections, window washing and more is that much closer.

How can we better create a gender-neutral tech community?For being such a new industry, drones are really male dominated, which is unfortunate because working in the field of drones doesn’t require any type of ability that a man would have but a woman wouldn’t. It’s funny you asked, because I’ve actually seen advertisements for two different drone conferences this week where the speaker lineup was 100% male. Making tech more gender neutral is on a lot of people, but I also think a lot of it is unconscious bias. When I was in the drone class, the student makeup was 4 male and 4 female students. Whenever we used the drone for projects, the professor only offered the men in the class a chance to fly it. He never said, “women can’t fly,” but I think he assumed we wouldn’t want to, or maybe weren’t as good pilots. That’s really not fair, but I was too afraid to speak up and ask for my turn to fly. Ironically, none of the men in that class are still flying drones anymore, but a couple of the women are!

 

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