Future Systems Engineer Puts STEM Skills Into Practice

How was it possible that such a large apparatus could fly?

How did the pilots control it and keep it stable in the air?

Estefanía asked herself these questions the first time she flew on a plane and continued to be curious over the years. This is why, when the opportunity arose, she did not hesitate to sign up for an aeronautical STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) course led by Cipsela, the Pan American Development Foundation’s STEM Americas partner in Colombia.

Through the course, Estefanía not only learned the answers to her questions but was also able to put them into practice. The course methodologies included project-based learning, allowing the students to build and operate a model airplane that could follow a flight plan they designed. The students held different roles, such as aeronautical engineers, pilots, directors, and team leads. Estefanía focused on the skills related to operating the model airplane. She spent hours using a training software for model airplanes and familiarized herself with radio control and flight movements.

At the end of the course, she and her teammates successfully completed the flight and demonstrated their control over the aircraft. What Estefanía liked most was the simplicity – that building and operating a model airplane was not as complicated as she imagined, but was within her reach. With the right tools and training, as well as dedication and care to the details of construction and handling, she got a feel for the work of airplane pilots. In addition to the model airplane, she learned how to operate other vehicles such as a hovercraft and an airship by learning the different systems that allow them to move through the air.

Now a year away from graduating from high school, Estefanía aspires to become a systems engineer and use technology to develop creative solutions.

Published on February 7, 2023.

Soraya Osorio

Country Director – Colombia

Email: connect@padf.org

Sowmya Krishnamoorthy

Director – Partnerships and Sustainable Finance

Email: connect@padf.org

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