Winter is Coming: Engineering Program Hosts the Game of Drones

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By Kaylin Huey

Staff Reporter

On Tuesday, March 20, Sacred Heart University’s Engineering Program held an event to raise money for Notre Dame High School’s STEM Club.

The event was held in the University Commons (UC), in the main academic building, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Professor Tolga Kaya, Director of Computer Engineering, planned and organized the event to help raise funds for the STEM Club.

“STEM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and Notre Dame’s STEM club helps to engage students in these subjects. However, the program had little funds, so Professor Tolga Kaya wanted to do something about it.

He came up with the idea to plan three events: a smaller one for their first, a medium one and then a larger one, this being their medium event.

With these events, students are “learning engineer management, production management, how to work in groups, and communication,” said Professor Kaya.

The tickets for the event were $5 and 3-D printed by the Engineering Program. All the funds went to Notre Dame’s STEM Club. Professor Kaya says they hopes to raise around $5,000 for the club.

The Engineering Program worked as a team to set up the tents. These tents were provided by the program, and some were even created and designed by engineering students.

At their first event to raise money for the STEM Club, they had a competition to see who could make the best tented course. These courses were then combined and use for this event, The Game of Drones. Once students learned how to operate and steer the drones, they could test out their skills on the courses.

“It’s a lot of fun, I’ve never flown a drone before. It was difficult getting the hang of it,” said Maria Rariti, sophomore Notre Dame Student who arrived at the event after school.

In total, the Engineering Program has between 20 and 25 drones, ranging in sizes. The students were very helpful and explained how to control, fly and steer the drones.

“The person who explained it to me, explained it really well, so that helps,” said Rariti.

Many students say the drones are difficult to maneuver, as the controls are very sensitive and make crashing a usual occurrence.

“The smaller the drone, the harder it is to fly,” said freshman Stephen Bader.

Students and faculty at the event were taught how to operate a drone by members of the Engineering program in Professor Kaya’s Engineering 2 class.

These students are the first to go through Sacred Heart’s Engineering Program, and Professor Kaya is working to help the growth of the program. The class now consists of around 20 students.

“They are kick-starting this program, and we are kind of like the guinea pigs,” said Bader. “I’m really starting to enjoy it.”

Bader is in Professor Kaya’s class and will be doing research with him this summer.

Their largest event will be April 17. Professor Kaya plans to continue these fundraising events for Notre Dame’s STEM Club next year and in the future.

The Engineering Program will also be going to the West Maker Fair on April 21. At this fair, students will be able to show off their creations and designs. Professor Kaya gives the students many opportunities to learn, grow and create.

“Professor Kaya gets what engineering is all about and has us working on great projects,” said freshman Charlie Escott.

Students are encouraged to support what is both the Engineering Program’s last and largest event to help raise funds for the STEM Club on April 14.

“All you have to do is have some passion for it, and you’re good,” said Bader.

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