Teacher Meghan Salter inspires STEM with flying robots
Tell us about yourself
My name is Meghan Salter and I am a public school teacher in Cabell County, West Virginia. I graduated from Marshall University with a BA and MA in Elementary Education and Special Education. I have been teaching at Cabell County Schools since 2009. I am a Nationally Board-Certified Teacher for Students with Exceptionalities and also hold a Part 107 FAA Drone License.
How did you get started in the drone industry?
I was introduced to drones in 2015 by a good friend who loves technology and wanted to give back to the community. My friend, Joe Murphy, who owns a media production company in Huntington asked if it would be possible to visit my classroom to talk to my students about drones. At that time I had no idea what a drone even was. In my mind it was just a strange flying machine. But regardless of my first impression of drones, I knew that my students would love learning about them. When Mr. Murphy visited my classroom, I was amazed at the engagement level of my students. They took to the technology with no hesitation. It was second nature to them. At that point I realized that I had to get some of these strange flying machines for my classroom!
I applied and was awarded several educational grants to purchase a class set of Parrot Mini Drones for my classroom. During the course of that year my students, Mr. Murphy, and I created our very own elementary drone curriculum. The students learned about the external/internal parts of a drone, the physics of flight, and FAA rules and regulations regarding UAV flight. In Spring of 2016 we held our very first Cabell County Drone Olympics. It was an amazing day because the students showcased everything that they had learned to their peers, parents, community, and members of the county board of education.
I have been using drones in my classroom for over four years now. I have been continuing to build upon the curriculum to keep up with the changing technology as well as the FAA rules and regulations regarding unmanned aerial flight. Incorporating drones into the classroom has been a wonderful experience that has helped to take my career to a whole new level.
I am looking forward to what the upcoming school year with bring for my students. I have hopes of purchasing some newer drones for my classes. I am now known as that “drone lady” which is a title that I have to say, I am pretty proud of. It means that I am passionate enough about something that other people are noticing.
I love my job and I am so thankful that I was introduced to drones four years ago. The technology has completely changed that way I approach instruction in my classroom.
Tell us about your organization and your role.
Public School Teacher at Martha Elementary in Barboursville, WV 25504 Cabell County, WV
Special Education Teacher for Students with Exceptionalities/Gifted Grades 1-5.
What do you like most about being in the UAV industry?
The think that I like most about the UAV industry is the rate of change. The speed at which the technology is changing and improving is phenomenal. I love being learning about new drones that are being developed as well as the ever-changing FAA rules and regulations regarding unmanned flight.
I also love that at this time, I am 1 of only 28 females in West Virginia who hold a Part 107 drone license.
What’s your favorite type of project and why?
I love projects that involve real world learning. I love challenging my students to think of different ways to solve problems. Drones are an amazing tool to do this with.
Do you have a success story you would like to share?
In 2017, my students collaborated with Joe Murphy (Murphy Media), Marshall University Visual Arts Students, and the City of Huntington, WV. They assisted in taking aerial drone footage of the city of Huntington which was used in the final presentation for the America’s Best Community Competition. Several of my students were also featured in the video. On April 19, 2019 our city of under 50,000 people won the title of America’s Best Community and took home the grand prize of $3 million dollars. The award money is going toward revitalization efforts for our city.
Watch the video: America’s Best Community
News Article: America’s Best Community
What excites you most about the potential for women in the industry?
The thing that excites me most about the potential for the industry is the push to expose females to science, technology, engineering, and math at a younger age. Our society is finally starting to realize that the gender barriers that we put on children are wrong.
It makes me proud to be part of the change. It is my passion to reach girls at a younger age and show them all of the things that they CAN do. I aspire to be a positive role model for younger females because gender should not define your successes in life.
What’s your current favorite drone to fly?
DJI Tello Edu Drones
What You’ve Learned
What has been your most significant “lightbulb” moment since you entered the industry?
My most significant “lightbulb” moment is realizing my potential. Four years ago, I was a different type of teacher. I was insecure in my abilities and really didn’t even believe in myself. When I was exposed to drones the “lightbulb” just clicked. Drones were the spark that I needed in life to become a better teacher and to help me gain confidence in my abilities.
What have you learned you wish you had known when you got started?
Nothing. I love the journey. I believe that you should never stop learning because life never stops teaching.
Is there a tip you learned you would like to share with other women in the industry?
My favorite Quote: “Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.”
—Melissa Marchonna, Digital Marketer for the New York Jets
The Final Word
Is there anything else you would like to share with the Women and Drones Community?
Women to Watch 2019–Education Category
EduDrone Online Drone Conference Speaker 2019