Eastern Oklahoma State College

Eastern hosts fourth Native Americans Who Code summer camp

July 09, 2024

(front row) Dr. Julie Collins, Bradyn Lowrey, Jaxon Lowrey, Kenneth Wilcox, Arianna Howard, Paiton Kimbrough, Sarah Lawrence, Scarlet Thompson, Aiden Teague, Mikayla Pixley, Laura Myers (back row) Kellye Semeski, John Callaway(Choctaw Nation ATI), Dr. Karen Harrison, Aiden Cirar, Brenda Strange, Tyler Powley, Daniel Martin, Owen Lively, Cody Everly, Braysen Dye, Phillip Cuevas, Jasmine Powley, Joshua Johnston, Christopher Johnston, Scott Driskill (Choctaw Nation ATI)

Eastern Oklahoma State College hosted its fourth Native Americans Who Code summer camp June 10-13, 2024.

Nineteen students from local schools participated in a four-day camp designed to spark interest in coding, computer science, engineering, drones and web design. This year, campers learned to code drones and design a webpage.

Campers traveled to the Choctaw Nation’s Emerging Aviation Technology Center in Daisy, Oklahoma, where they were received by Marcus Hartman, aviation operations manager, John Callaway, aviation operations specialist, and Scott Driskell, aviation operations contractor.

The tour began with an overview of FAA rules, lessons in the science of propulsion, the definition and components of various types of drones, and the historical and modern applications of drone technology.

James Grimsley, executive director of advanced technology initiatives, then discussed his background, safety statistics for both ground and air, and the education needed to begin an aviation career.

To finish the tour, campers were given the opportunity to fly a remote-controlled drone, as well as a computer-controlled drone.

The Native Americans Who Code summer camp was designed and led by Eastern faculty members Brenda Strange and Kellye Semeski. Laura Myers and Dr. Karen Harrison provided additional support to the students. The camp was funded by Eastern’s $1.5 million Native Americans Serving Non-Tribal Institutions grant and is modeled on the Girls Who Code program.

Eastern plans to host a Native Americans Who Code camp each summer through 2025 and will feature advanced coding, robotics, games, web design and app development topics. The 2025 summer camp will be open to students in grades 8-12. 

Scott Driskell assists campers in flying a computer-controlled drone.