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Experiencing a Drone Training Course and a Chance to Learn about UVM. Drones Course Goes Online for 2020.

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Cedar Zobel-Williams loves flying drones. So, when he learned that UVM offered a Drones for Environmental Mapping course last summer as part of its Summer Academy program, he jumped at the chance to participate.

The high school senior from Roslindale, Massachusetts, enrolled in the drone training precollege course to get a chance to fly drones in Vermont and also explore what UVM has to offer.

“One of the main reasons I attended Summer Academy was because drones are a passion of mine,” Zobel-Williams says. “I’m also interested in UVM as a school, so it was a combination of interest in the course and learning about UVM.”

Drone Training Course at UVM

The Drones for Environmental Mapping course which goes fully online for Summer Academy 2020 explores drone technology and how it can be applied for environmental assessment. Taught by Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, director of the UVM Spatial Analysis Laboratory, the three-credit course covers safety, flight operations, data processing, analytics, and dissemination.

As part of UVM’s Summer Academy, the course is a four-week online program offered to high school juniors and seniors who want to explore areas of study and earn transferable college credit.

The Drones for Environmental Mapping course also allows students to work via a virtual classroom closely with members of the UVM Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Team, one of the most experienced drone groups in the United States. The team works with private, public, and non-profit sectors on applications of UAS technology and to assist the State of Vermont with disaster response.

Students at UVM’s drone training learn about drone platforms, drone sensors, image processing software, flight planning software, desktop Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and web mapping. While the course is technical in nature, it’s designed to be accessible to anyone interested in drones and environmental mapping.

Zobel-Williams remains more interested in drones than ever. As he looks to attend college in the fall, UVM remains one of his top choices.

“What I want to study and do for a career isn’t set in stone, but I’m definitely looking at UVM as a potential place for college,” he says. “And I would definitely recommend Summer Academy. It’s a great way to get a feel for a college and to experience a college course. It’s a really valuable experience.”


UVM Summer Academy 2020 is now fully online. Course descriptions are being updated to reflect the new online learning opportunity for high school students.