Gaetz Aerospace Institute offers additional learning opportunities outside of our concert enrollment and SMART@ER high school courses.

Change the World Big Sister/Little Sister Mentoring Program

SMART@ER is a female mentorship initiative to help guide young women as they are introduced to the world of aviation and the endless opportunities that exist within it. We believe SMART@ER Girls can change the world and want to ensure they think so too. The program hopes to empower young women to achieve positive social changes by developing relationships with female mentors and creating new venues to explore careers in space, manufacturing, aviation, robotics and technology. This initiative was recently launched working with partners at United Airlines. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of female leaders in science and connect our high school and university girls with enthusiastic role models who can provide crucial mentoring. Mentors and mentees have committed to one hour a month of virtual mentoring. In addition, we are planning to launch a virtual town hall for students to engage with a diverse panel of aviation industry leaders.

SMART@ER Outreach Competitions

Our program provides several opportunities for students and student teams to compete in a number of competitions. These competitions allow students to work in teams to design, build, fly/navigate UAS or Underwater ROVs through obstacle courses. In addition, we provide high-tech learning opportunities for students during the summer to participate in challenging UAS activities where students design, construct and navigate their aircraft through obstacle courses based on real-world scenarios.

SeaPerch (Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle) Regional, State and International Competitions

SeaPerch in an innovative underwater robotics program developed by RoboNation and the Office of Naval Research (among others) that equips students, educators, and parents with the resources they need to build an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in an in- or out-of-school setting.

Our program’s contribution to SeaPerch consists of providing schools and instructors with kits, tools, and training in order for students to compete in a number of SMART competitions. These competitions allow students to work in teams to design, build and navigate their Underwater ROVs through a series of obstacle courses.

UAS Flight Training and Operational Paths Program

Manned flight operations and training at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus are among the world’s best. Their ability to succeed is primarily due to a standardized flight training approach where all students must complete the same flight cards to graduate to their next flight rating. To mimic these principles, we have created our very own flight training program. This program has been designed to take a beginner UAS Pilot and expose them to the many different career paths in the world of UAS. After completing each set of flight cards, the student receives the corresponding bracelet as an incentive to continue in the program.

The tracks are intended to take flight students with no experience and walk them through the steps necessary to gain real-world experience with the same tools and objectives as industry professionals. Each flight path has been specifically designed to prepare students for the industry by placing them in real-world scenarios. Students learn competitive skills and software applications with the completion of each flight card. Flight paths include: Ground Command, Expert Pilot, Inspection, Pix4D, Search and Rescue, Cinematography, Thermal and Precision Agriculture.

ERAU’s Drone Olympics

Students in our Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) programs have the opportunity to participate in our annual Drone Olympics. The Drone Olympics allow students to work as a team or individually to compete against other students around the state. Categories of competition include:

Drone Tank: Students create a five-minute (Elevator Pitch) presentation to a panel of expert judges on how their UAS can provide a betterment for the community or solve a problem in our society.

Swarm Off: Students will work together to create a choreographed operation with the use of up to three UASs. The UASs can move in harmony or independently.

Drone Racing: Students will compete in an online racing event. Students will learn to fly and train within the Drone Racing League simulator.

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Gaetz Aerospace Institute