July 20, 2024

An introduction to drone instructor, Shayln Drake

From teaching English and drones at Farmington High School to teaching drones and aviation at Utah State University Eastern pretty much sums up Shayln Drake’s life the past couple of years.

The USU Eastern’s lecturer on drones and aviation technology is originally from Kaysville, Utah. Her bachelor’s degree was earned at the University of Utah and masters from Northern Arizona University in English. She also earned a master’s degree in teaching from Westminster and is working on her master’s degree in aviation with a UAS emphasis at USU. 

Last year, Drake earned the Rookie of the Year Award from Utah’s Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division.

While going to college at the U of U, Drake worked for The Daily Chronicle. Then from 2004 to 2014, she worked for a county newspaper as an education and county reporter. Since junior high, Drake was always involved with the yearbook and newspaper. That led to being an adviser of the yearbook and newspaper teams as the English teacher at multiple schools she taught at.

Drake has had 20 years worth of experience building and flying drones. “In 2004, I started building and flying RC model planes, which are technically drones.” Having so much experience already, Drake was one of the teachers the Davis School District wanted to help start a drone program. Her program at Farmington High School became successful, so when a position here at USUE opened up Drake decided to apply. 

Her family always had a part in the drone and aviation industry, so in being prepared for the jobs that Drake has had in the past, she feels as if everything has led her to being hired at USUE. 

“All the connections I’ve made through activities and volunteer opportunities, all the career moves, etc. have all led to this at USU Eastern,” Drake said. “The best part is seeing what the students go out and accomplish.”  On the other hand, there isn’t much funding for the program, so they are doing double, sometimes triple the amount of work to cover everything.

Each year, Drake personally has anywhere from three to 70 students. They rarely have to cancel flight labs due to weather. “You have to learn to fly in the wind, but rain and snow would stop a flight lab,” Drake said. Her favorite subject to teach is building and flying the fixed-wing drones (RC model planes). “Price is an awesome place to learn to do this.