Ruth Blomquist discovered drones while planning her path to college

Tell us about yourself and your background

My name is Ruth Blomquist, I am 16 years old.  I am going to be entering my Senior year of High School this fall. I have been a Girl Scout since first grade, Top Cookie Seller and have always been heavily involved in volunteer service. I enjoy the outdoors, especially boating, camping and going to the beach whenever I can. I like reading, video games, swimming and technology classes at school. I am a member of the National Honor Society and Drone club at my High School. I plan on going to College and earning a degree in Robotics and Engineering. In addition to interning with Deseret UAS, I am currently working on my Girl Scout Gold Award Project on hearing aid awareness for patients in assisted living homes, nursing homes, and hospitals.   I myself wear hearing aids and struggled with untreated hearing loss for most of my life. I hope to increase the quality of life for people in these types of care facilities by increasing awareness and training of how to care for hearing aids and assist people with hearing aids to use them daily.

I was introduced to drones by Dr. Tulinda Larsen, with Deseret UAS as part of an internship. She got me started flying the Tello and then her Phantom 4 Pro. As part of my internship, I studied and became a Part 107 Remote Pilot in Command.

How did you get started in the drone industry?

I have always been interested in Technology and have taken all the classes in High School to help me gain more knowledge in the area. I enjoyed CAD Mechanical Design, Robotics, Computer Science, Java, and Linux. I plan to take 2 Engineering classes, A+ Computer Repair, and Networking my Senior year of high school. During my Junior year, I took a workplace skills class and became an intern at Deseret UAS for Dr. Tulinda Larsen. I had attended the Grand Opening event of Deseret UAS and I was drawn to the company. I enjoyed the talks and the presentation of the exhibitors, Utah State University Aggie air flew multiple drones while ANRA Technologies demonstrated how UAM and UAS flights can be tracked, Fortem Technologies Drone Hunter demonstrated counter-drone technologies with hunting down and capturing an “uncooperative” drone in designated air space. Dr. Tulinda Larsen became my mentor and encouraged me to get my FAA part 107 license. I took the Basic Flight Training Course and the In-Person Part 107 Test Prep course through Dartdrones at Deseret UAS. I took and passed my FAA Airman Knowledge Test in June of 2019. I have been practicing my flying skills with Dr. Larsen’s Tello drone and Phantom 4.  I just purchased my own Phantom 4 Pro!!

Tell us about your organization and your role there

Deseret UAS is a non-profit organization created jointly by Tooele and Box Elder Counties, and we work in close collaboration with Ogden City, to advance Utah’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Our Mission is to facilitate economic development through the advancement of unmanned aerial systems in Utah and to elevate Utah’s presence in the UAS industry, to establish Utah as a global leader in UAS applied research and testing.

I worked for Deseret UAS my Junior year at Stansbury High School through the workplace skills class. I learned how to fly drones, studied for my part 107 test and assisted during events and classes. I have continued to work for Deseret UAS as an intern through the summer. My duties have included office assistant and assisting in upcoming events such as HazMat & Drones Workshop with Utah Fire Marshals where I talked to and showed attendees how to fly the Tello drone. I also, assisted in setup and sign in of attendees. I am looking forward to assisting in the future events, like Drones In the Classroom Presented by Deseret UAS, ROAVCopters, and Women And Drones LLC to provide a 1-day class that gives teachers the necessary skills to integrate drones into their elementary, middle, and high school classrooms and a class on hiring a trustworthy drone company.

I plan on continuing to learn and develop my drone skills and knowledge of the industry. I am excited to share all I have learned with future women drone pilots by giving talks and training girls in my community through Girl Scouts and my school’s drone club. I am excited to be a part of Women And Drones.

Industry Experience

What do you like most about being in the UAV industry?

I like being in the UAV industry because of it’s incredibly fast growth. I am excited to see the new technology available today and what’s coming in the near future. I want to be a part of that growth.

What’s your favorite type of project and why?

I am so new to drones that I don’t have a specific type of project that I have settled on. I am enjoying learning how to fly my drones and working at Deseret UAS. I love talking to people about what I have learned so far and meeting people that help me to learn more. I also like demonstrating and teaching others. Working with the firefighters at the HazMat & Drones workshop was great! Now I am planning an event for the Girl Scouts to introduce girls to drones in Tooele County, Utah.

Do you have a success story you would like to share?

When I compare to where I am at this point, at 16, with a hearing impairment, struggling in school through elementary, I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished. I have overcome a learning disability and excelled in school. I have an internship with a company ran by a woman that has mentored me towards my goals and is teaching me skills that most kids in high school don’t get the chance to. I get to meet people in fields of work that I aspire to. I already have my Part 107 license and I am learning so much from the classes that are put on at Deseret UAS. Now I am teaching others!

What excites you most about the potential for women in the industry?

I have taken mostly technical classes in high school as electives and I am usually the only girl or one of 2 girls in the class. I feel like girls are missing out on the opportunity to take these classes. I am excited to share everything I have learned with girls in my community. I will be working to put on some fun, educational events to get girls in my community interested in Drones, Robotics, programming, and Engineering. I am planning to introduce the Girl Scouts in Tooele, Utah to drones by working with our local high school drone advisor. Hopefully, the girls will be able to build a small drone and then fly it in the cage.

What’s your current favorite drone to fly?

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

What You’ve Learned

 Is there a tip you learned you would like to share with other women in the industry?

Start with a durable drone such as the Tello. Take a class with a company like DARTdrones to learn all you can to pass part 107, and hands-on flying education. Use social media to connect with other drone pilots and learn from them. If possible, find a mentor.