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Local students show how drones could help farmers

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Davenport West students are finding new ways to help feed the world.

Their design project earned top honors in Iowa.

Now, they're aiming for national recognition in Washington, D.C., this November.

There's a buzz inside the school on Monday. Pardeep Saina, 18, is demonstrating an unmanned aerial vehicle.

"I used to just make it go all over the place," he said.

The UAV is featured in their award-winning Real World Design Challenge.

"Little taps help," he added.

These talented students meet up to 15 hours a week on their own time. After getting the assignment last fall, they developed the project from concept to reality.

"You have to break something in order to learn from that mistake," he said.

In this case, students are working to find ways to identify the European Corn Borer and other pests.

"They're trying to figure out the damage and how to increase the corn yield," said adviser Greg Smith.

While these are hypothetical solutions, they could have real-life applications for farmers.

"You can't really see it," said senior Nicole Kraft, 17, serving as the project scientist. "We decided to look for the damage it caused in its early stages."

This is part of the school's Project Lead the Way curriculum. It's innovation that leads to education. A spark from STEM subjects to fuel the future.

Team Leader Tuyen Nguyen, 17, helped to develop the team's 20-minute presentation.

"It actually makes the multi-rotor move in different ways," she said.

This is a blend of academics and advertising. It's a real-life lesson to help them succeed at the national competition.

"We've been working on this project for more than six months," she said.

Flying high from state success, these teens will be reaching for the top.

"It takes a lot of practice, too," Saina concluded.

A buzz around campus that's designed for achievement.