It is a well-known fact that men dominate all quarters of the tech industry as STEM professionals and entrepreneurs. When it comes to tech leadership positions, there are less than 1 percent of Hispanic women and less than 0.5 percent of black women. While as the drone industry becomes more mainstream, this technology endeavor continues to be another male heavy sector.
Drones can be used to solve some of the world’s most critical social problems and provide a lucrative career. By 2027, the global commercial drone market is expected to exceed $8.5 Billion in valuation, but so far, only 6.7% of women have licensed drone pilots and even fewer women of color. On this note, Greater Than Tech is organizing a 4-day educational program for girls to expose them into the drone technology industry.
The educational program by Greater Than Tech “Girl Meet Drone” is designed to expose girls between the ages of 12 and 16 to STEM and business education for drone technology. At the beginning of the program, participants learned about the drone industry landscape from a black woman drone pilot – Eboni Jazzmine of LVNDR Green. The first session highlighted the requirements and skills needed to become an FAA drone pilot and the different industries where drones are used.
At the forefront of the mission of the “Girl Meet Drone” event is to pique underserved girls’ interest in the drone industry, so they feel confident to take the next step to get a drone license and start their drone business in real life. Students were grouped into teams, and each team developed a ‘drone business’ project for an industry of their choice.
Throughout this process, students went through the engineering design process and a high-level version of the business model canvas where they learned how to code and operate a drone, determine their drone’s value proposition, target market, channels and sales. The program concludes with a final showcase and demo of their drone where participants will be pitching their drone businesses to their program sponsors, drone experts and community leaders in October 2nd at the Jackie Robinson YMCA in San Diego, CA.
“Our framework is very comprehensive,” explained Jasmine LeFlore, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Greater Than Tech. “We have a curriculum that works and can be applied to any tech industry. It was necessary to instill it into this program because at only 16 years old, one could obtain their pilots’ license. We wanted our girls to leave this program feeling confident that they could register for the FAA test, pick up their project, and turn it into an actual business plan.”
Through the Greater Than Tech platform, Jasmine LeFlore specializes in engineering and entrepreneurial education while showing the real-world applicability of STEM. She targets middle school girls of color and offers additional programming services to underserved middle and high school youth. In addition, Jasmine will be offering apprenticeship and junior mentor roles to select high school and collegiate students.
“The main learning objective we are bringing to light is that both engineers and business people solve very important problems. There’s a common phrase in industry that ‘engineers make the best business people’ so we want to combine both disciplines to get them thinking not only about a tech career but also how they can use tech to build a company if they so choose. It is all about exposing their horizons in tech”, LeFlore explains.
Jasmine LeFlore is a New Business Pursuits Principal Project Engineer at Collins Aerospace, where she is responsible for technology inorganic growth strategies, bid-to-capture initiatives, and technical proposals, processes and budgets. Additionally, throughout her career at Collins Aerospace, She is DEI activist as she has held multiple roles of increasing leadership in the African American Enterprise Board. She has earned her BSE in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, her MSE in Interdisciplinary Engineering (with a Systems Engineering Concentration) at Purdue University and her MBA at Indiana University. Jasmine has been awarded the 2020 Women of Color STEM Community Service in Industry Award and the Black Engineer of the Year Science Spectrum Award in 2021.
About Greater Than Tech
Greater Than Tech (GTT) is a 501c3 organization dedicated to creating the next technology business leaders by teaching girls of color the intersectionality of engineering and business. With an eye for innovative and creative ideas based in the world of possibility, GTT is committed to instilling the importance of self-efficacy, teamwork, and an entrepreneurial mindset in all its STEM programming.