Girls Take Flight Inaugural Class

Helping Girls Soar to New Heights

Commercial drones, and the pilots who operate them, are playing a growing role in a variety of fields in many novel ways, including humanitarian aid, filmmaking, photography, power line inspections, public safety, and construction/real estate surveys. Drone innovation and operation has fueled a thriving industry, resulting in the creation of thousands of new jobs.


Here in our region, a new generation of girls are growing up – equipped with skills and inspiration from women leaders (including some from our company) – to pursue careers in the unmanned aircraft systems industry.


Last Friday, the Elementary Institute of Science (EIS), a local nonprofit, celebrated the graduation of ten high school girls who completed an intensive 32-week internship, consisting of 130 hours of instruction. One of the first programs of its kind in America, the Girls Take Flight program teaches youngsters how to build, program and fly commercial drones, culminating in an FAA Remote Pilot Certification.


As a long-time supporter of advancing women and minorities in STEM – science, technology and engineering and math – and as sponsor of EIS, we were proud to be there to celebrate the inaugural graduating class.


The Sky is the Limit


“Women are dramatically underrepresented in technology fields like drones, and with programs like this, we are making progress changing that,” says EIS Executive Director Jim Stone.  


One person who couldn’t agree more is Tashonda Taylor, our director of planning, design, construction and vegetation management who serves on the EIS Board of Directors. Watching the girls graduate was a moment of  pride for Tashonda, who just this past summer hosted the program participants at SDG&E’s drone training flight center to show them the practical applications of drone technology.


Tashonda is a part of our company’s #BeThatGirl initiative led by our Chief Operating Officer Caroline Winn. Under this initiative, our company’s women professionals are volunteering as role models and mentors for young girls in our communities, encouraging them to pursue studies and careers in engineering, meteorology, environmental science, computer science, biology and biotech, and many other STEM fields.


More Information


In its 54-year history, EIS has served thousands of students, many of whom have gone on to thrive in careers in medicine, engineering, computing, and more. Last year, the nonprofit served a record 2,400 students. With community support, they plan to reach 10,000 students per year within the next five years.

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You can learn more about our company’s STEM initiatives here.


Elementary Institute of Science Accomplishments