| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Pinterest RSS Feed

Education + Learning : In the News

372 Education + Learning Articles | Page: | Show All

Women's Divorce Resource Center launches support group


Whether it’s a new life stage, a pivotal event or some other reason to end a marriage, the process of divorce can be confusing, overwhelming and sometimes, downright terrifying. New this fall, the Women’s Divorce Resource Center is launching an empowerment support group to arm individuals with the support they need to effectively and humanely shift their situation.
 
The six-week seminar will meet on consecutive Thursday evenings, beginning September 20, 2018, at SheHive (2505 Hilton, Ferndale), 6:45-9 p.m. Space is limited. Subject matter will include financial, emotional, legal and parenting aspects of divorce, with speakers to include Nancy Warkentin Houdek, MA, LPC, NCC, PLLC, and Natasha Kendal, PHD, LMFT and Robin Breckenridge, CPC, an educator, public speaker, certified relational advocate and professional coach.
 
Warkentin Houdek is a nationally certified professional counselor and psychotherapist based in Farmington Hills. Kendal is a marriage and family therapist in Bloomfield Hills. Breckenridge works in unison with PIVOT- a relational alignment group, where she helps people struggling with relational challenges shift into a healthy relational alignment. 
 
“We help people learn how and when to talk to their kids about an impending divorce, and how to keep kids out of the middle of negotiations,” says Vicki McLellan, WDRC co-founder. “We firmly believe that the more information and support women have during divorce, the more confidence they’ll have after. When women are empowered, it has a positive impact on the entire family, especially their children.”
 
“The legal process can be confusing. There are concerns about finances. And emotional wellness during divorce is difficult for everyone. We want to empower women to weather the process well, and know they are not alone,” says Angela Zangarola, WDRC Co-Director and Board Member.
 
The Women’s Divorce Resource Center offers workshops and special topics seminars throughout the year. A seminar on self-esteem through transition is set for October 11, followed by a women-to-work workshop in collaboration with JVS December 3.
 
Women’s Divorce Workshops take place on Saturdays (September 15 and December 15) as well as some weekday evenings (November 1 and 8). Speakers include McLellan, Houdek, Kendall as well as Alisa Peskin-Shepherd, Randy Pitler, Jessica Pospiech Heltsley and James Chryssikos.
 
About Women’s Divorce Resource Center
Founded in 2012, the Women’s Divorce Resource Center helps educate women on the divorce process. The nonprofit organization was co-founded by Vicki McLellan, CFP®, CDFA EA, MA and Rebecca Abel  CFP®, CDFA™. Both have worked extensively on the financial side of divorce. Current co-directors include McLellan, Nancy Warkentin Houdek, MA, LPC, NCC, and Angela Zangarola, MBA, CDFA.
 
The mission of the Women’s Divorce Resource Center is to empower and educate women contemplating and going through the divorce process. We strive to provide educational opportunities about the various legal, financial and emotional aspects of divorce. We believe the more support women have during this difficult process, the more confident they will be with their decisions. This empowerment will positively affect women and their children post-divorce.
 
For more information, please visit www.womens-divorce.org.

U.S.-Japan Council President is keynote speaker for Women's Leadership Conference

The president of the U.S.-Japan Council is the featured speaker at the U.S.-Japan Women’s Leadership Conference set for September 26.

Irene Hirano Inouye, president of the Washington D.C.-based organization, headlines the program which focuses on women who hold leadership positions. It is sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Council and hosted by the Oakland County Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

“We are honored to host Irene Hirano Inouye for this important leadership event and excited about our partnership with the U.S.-Japan Council,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “This is a singular opportunity to hear from Mrs. Inouye and others in leadership positions and learn first-hand how they advanced in their professions.”

The conference will be held at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. There is no charge to attend but advance registration is required at AdvantageOakland.EventBrite.com. A light lunch is included. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The U.S.-Japan Council is a non-profit educational organization that contributes to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations by bringing together diverse leadership, engaging stakeholders and exploring issues that benefit communities, businesses and governments on both sides of the Pacific. Japan-based companies have significant investment in Oakland County, owning more than a quarter of the nearly 1,100 international firms in the county.

Inouye, who founded the council in 2008, also administers the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the government of Japan that invests in young Japanese and Americans through educational and cultural exchanges and leadership programs. She is former president and founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, a position she held for 20 years.

Inouye is the widow of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and World War II hero. He represented Hawaii in Congress for more than 50 years and was the first Japanese-American elected to serve in both the House and the Senate. He died in 2012 at age 88.

The conference includes panel discussions that highlight women in leadership positions in Oakland County government and the paths Japanese American women have taken to become leaders.

The Oakland County government panel includes:
  • Irene Spanos, director of economic development and community affairs
  • Jordie Kramer, director of human resources
  • Kathy Forzley, director of health and human services

The Japanese American panel includes:
  • Yuki Sakai, deputy Counsel General of Japan, Detroit
  • Izumi Suzuki, president of Suzuki, Myers & Associates, Novi
  • Motoko Tabuse, professor, Eastern Michigan University
  • Yuka Sato, former world champion figure skater and U.S. Women’s Figure Skating coach

Both panel discussions will be moderated by Laurie Van Pelt, director of management and budget for Oakland County.

Other sessions include:
  • A presentation from Mary Kamidoi, treasurer of the Detroit Chapter of the Japanese American
  • Citizens League, entitled “What Doesn’t Break You Makes You Stronger”
  • A leadership training workshop led by Deputy County Executive Phil Bertolini entitled, “You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello: The Art of Communicating”

Pontiac revs up for Phoenix Derby Races


Among the creative and energetic minds in Pontiac, inspiration can spring from the everyday.

When folks from Main Street Pontiac recognized the natural slopes on some downtown Pontiac streets, they sparked an idea for a fun community event that takes advantage of the forces of gravity. What if Main Street Pontiac sponsored a race down one of those hills and invited the creative talent of high school students and local businesses?

The idea went from zero to 60 very quickly.

On August 25, Main Street Pontiac will host its first ever Phoenix Derby Races, an old-fashioned event designed to spark friendly competition while offering the chance for kids to put some design and STEAM skills to work to build and race a wooden, non-motorized car.

The event, open to Pontiac resident high school students, will encourage kids to form a team, work with mentors to build wooden gravity-powered cars, and race the cars down a select Pontiac street which will be closed to traffic, all in one day. There will also be a bracket-oriented competition for adults who want to join in the fun.

“This originated as a fun idea for racing a car, soapbox derby-style, down a city slope,” says Daniela Walters, president of Main Street Pontiac. “We turned it into a placemaking event for the community.”

During their brainstorming sessions, Walters met with friends and fellow Pontiac supporters Marijayne Renny and Joe Kalle to hammer out details. They bounced around ideas for different types of sponsorships, worked through logistics, and talked about having a “Best Derby Hat” contest to encourage attendees and supporters to dress the part.

They also selected a standard car kit to supply to each team to kick off the event. “Folks will need to be comfortable using tools,” says Kalle. “But the kit will be easier to put together than anything I have assembled from IKEA.”

To test ease of build, Walters corralled a group of law clerks, interns, and attorneys from Dobrusin Law in Pontiac, where she is a patent attorney, to build their selected kit. Ideally, engineer and design professionals from Pontiac businesses will sponsor and mentor teams to help the kids create, refine, and decorate their vehicles.

Several businesses and nonprofits have committed their support already, including Main Street Pontiac, Dobrusin Law, DASI Solutions, General Motors Global Propulsion Systems, LocalHop, LBI Limited, Alley Cat Café, the City of Pontiac, and McLaren Hospital. Event organizers are seeking additional sponsorship.

A goal of the event is to build scholarships for rising seniors who enter the race.

“We wanted to create a scholarship opportunity, hopefully up to three to five scholarship to any post secondary education, including trade school, two- or four-year college. It’s not based on winning the race, it’s based on an essay,” says Walters.

The event is free for kids to enter and participate, and is designed to be a fun, team-oriented event for students, mentors, and sponsors.

“Our goal is to promote STEAM careers, to spark an interest in building and designing, and to help kids learn how to communicate as a team and with mentors,” says Walters.

Find more information about the Phoenix Derby Races here and here.

New Braille books for the youth department at the Orion Township Public Library

The Orion Township Public Library, with assistance from Seedlings Books in Livonia, MI, recently received a generous $1,000 grant from the Village Club Foundation in Bloomfield Hills, MI to enhance and expand their Braille book collection in the youth department.

 

“We focused on adding books that included words and pictures along with braille, so they can be used by a wide variety of kids and families, helping kids with vision loss along with teaching sighted readers about braille,” said Ashley Lehman, youth services head. “We also added a few longer Juvenile chapter books, Like Palacio’s Wonder, and Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.”

 

The Village Club Foundation is the philanthropic arm of The Village Club in Bloomfield Hills, MI. The foundation's purpose is to further educational, cultural and civic activities; to promote philanthropic projects; and to operate for the good of the community.

 

For more information about the Braille book collection visit the Orion Township Public Library at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion, MI 48362, orionlibrary.org or call 248.693.3000.  The library is open 9:30a-9:00p Monday through Thursday and 9:30a-5:00p Friday and Saturday.


Learn about trails and parks during Trail Blazer Walking Series

Put on your walking shoes and learn about Oakland County Parks by hiking through different parks on summer evenings as part of the Trail Blazer Walking Series.

Beginning July 10, the program will feature one-mile hikes led by Oakland County Parks and Recreation staff who will discuss unique park facts throughout the walk. Held each Tuesday for six weeks beginning at 7 p.m., the walk schedule includes:

  • July 10  Addison Oaks   
    1480 West Romeo Road, Leonard
    Learn about invasive species and other ecological features in the area
     
  • July 17  Waterford Oaks  
    1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford
    Learn about bluebirds and other animals in the area
     
  • July 24  Catalpa Oaks
    27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
    Discover historical tidbits about the Catalpa Oaks community
     
  • July 31  Lyon Oaks 
    52251 Pontiac Trail, Wixom
    Learn about invasive species and other ecological features in the area
     
  • Aug. 7  Independence Oaks 
    9501 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston
    Join a naturalist on a hike around Crooked Lake
     
  • Aug. 14  Red Oaks Nature Center
    30300 Hales St., Madison Heights                       
    Explore the Sensory Trail


Programs are free. Park entry fee is required at Addison Oaks, Lyon Oaks, Independence Oaks and Red Oaks County Parks. Walkers are urged to bring bug spray and a refillable water bottle. Free pedometers will be given while supplies last. For details, contact Sandy Dorey at 248-424-7077.

For information on other events, visit OaklandCountyParks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


They're big, they're bold, they're baaaack

More than 40 lifelike animatronic dinosaurs that snarl and move – and some that spit – have taken up residence at the Detroit Zoo to provide a mega-dose of Vitamin Z for visitors of all ages.  Dinosauria, presented by Children’s Hospital of Michigan, runs May 25 through Sept. 3, 2018.  The blockbuster summer attraction – the largest outdoor dinosaur exhibit of its kind in the country – was last featured at the Zoo in 2015.

Visitors enter a veritable “zoorassic world” as they travel back in time along a lush, winding, 3-acre DinoTrail recreating prehistoric life.  The enormous creatures lurk at every turn, including adult dinosaurs, youngsters and even a nest with eggs and hatchlings.  The robotic dinosaurs are built on steel frames and covered with foam rubber skin painted in intricate detail.  High-tech electronics and air pistons power the dinosaurs’ menacing claws and gnashing teeth while a sound system gives them their “voices”.

Dinosauria is open daily through Labor Day, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 8 p.m. Wednesdays in July and August).  Tickets are $6 with Detroit Zoo admission for visitors ages 2 and older and are available at main admissions, the Dinosauria ticket booth or online.

A dino dig site and fossil-sifting station give budding paleontologists the opportunity to search for clues about the lives of dinosaurs.  Kids can also build a dinosaur from magnetic parts.  Knowledgeable volunteer DinoGuides are stationed along the DinoTrail where guests can examine dinosaur skulls, teeth, claws and other biofacts.

The DinoStore at the DinoTrail’s exit is stocked with dinosaur-themed T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, games, gifts and other tempting remembrances to help visitors take the Dinosauria experience home.

The prehistoric adventure continues at the Wild Adventure Zone in the Ford Education Center.  Featured at the 4-D Theater is “Sea Monsters 4-D: A Prehistoric Adventure”, a 15-minute movie that takes audiences back 82 million years for a look at the sea’s most dangerous predators.  “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs – The Ride” at the Simulator Ride finds the sub-zero heroes from the worldwide blockbuster venturing into a mysterious underground world after Sid the sloth stumbles across three abandoned dinosaur eggs and decides to raise the hatchlings as his own. Tickets for both experiences are $5 with Detroit Zoo admission and are available at main admissions, the Wild Adventure Zone ticket booth or online.

Farmington High School unveils performing arts center

Excerpt

You couldn't blame Lily Talevski for not immediately recognizing her surroundings Wednesday when she walked into the Performing Arts Center at Farmington High School.

After all, it looks dramatically different than it did the last time Talevski, a 2014 Farmington graduate, performed on its stage.

Read more

Goodwill Industries expands reach in Oakland County managing Michigan Works! office in Pontiac

The Oakland County Workforce Development Board today approved the selection of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit as the new service provider for the Oakland County Michigan Works! center in Pontiac.

The announcement gives Goodwill Industries its third Michigan Works! service center in the county. It also manages locations in Highland Township and Novi.

“We are excited to expand our relationship with Goodwill Industries,” said Irene Spanos, the county’s director of economic development, which oversees workforce development. “Oakland County Michigan Works! remains fully committed to the citizens of Pontiac and the surrounding communities. We expect a smooth transition and this move will significantly enhance the breadth and quality of services offered to job seekers and businesses in the area.”

Goodwill Industries will begin operating the Pontiac center July 1 and the transition should be completed early this fall. The building location is expected to be announced by early summer. Goodwill Industries replaces Oakland Schools, which did not bid to renew its contract.

“Goodwill Industries is pleased to further expand its work into Oakland County as operator of the MI Works! Service Center office within the city of Pontiac,” said Dan Varner, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. “We’d like to thank the Oakland County Workforce Development Board for this opportunity and look forward to deepening our partnership.”

Oakland County Michigan Works!, a partner of the American Job Center Network, helps more than 45,000 job seekers prepare for careers and conduct job searches each year. The agency provides services to businesses, including talent recruiting and training support. Other centers are in Ferndale, Oak Park, Southfield, Troy and Waterford.

“We’re excited to welcome Goodwill Industries to Pontiac,” said Jennifer Llewellyn, workforce development manager for Oakland County. “We expect this transition to be seamless and we’re committed to offering quality services to Pontiac and the surrounding communities.”

Robotics champions of the world

Excerpt: 

Hugs and high-fives started a few seconds before the countdown reached zero, making it official – Team RUSH 27 is the 2018 World Champion. “The team was excited beyond belief,” said Clarkston High School senior Jason Richards about Team RUSH 27’s victory at the FIRST Robotics World Championships at Ford Field in Detroit.

Read more

Amtech sponsors the First Annual Acton Oakland Children's Business Fair

Could a ten-year-old invent the next Über? Attendants will find out at the First Annual Acton Oakland Children’s Business Fair on May 19.

Designed to showcase kids’ entrepreneurial genius, this event is sponsored by Acton Academy of Oakland County, the Acton School of Business, Amtech Electrocircuits and generous support from donors and volunteers. It runs from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at 530 Pine St, Rochester, 48307. This event is free and open to the public.

At this event, 30 young entrepreneurs, aged 6-13, will be challenged to create a product or service, develop a brand, build a marketing strategy, and then open for customers. The children are responsible for the setup, sales, and interacting with customers.

This event has acted as a springboard to many successful ventures. One previous competitor from 2009, Makaila Ulmer of Bee Sweet Lemonade, is now sold in Whole Foods Market in Texas as a result of her young business savvy.

“Today’s youth are tomorrow’s business innovators and leaders. The Children’s Business Fair gives students the opportunity to spread their entrepreneurial wings and get a head start on promising business careers,” said Jeff Sandefer, founder of the Acton School of Business, one of the sponsors of the fair.

Both adult sponsors and young entrepreneurs are available for interviews on camera or off.

For more information, please contact Jay Patel at 248-607-0648 or cbf@acton248.org.

Detroit Zoological Society educator honored with national award

Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) Curator of Education Claire Lannoye-Hall has been presented with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Distinguished Informal Science Education Award during the National Conference on Science Education in Atlanta.  The NSTA awards honor K-12 teachers, principals, professors and other professionals for their outstanding work and achievement in science education.

“Claire is an inspirational and effective educator. She plays an essential role in creating and implementing education programs for our community that ignite a passion for wildlife and wild places.  We are so proud of her achievements and feel honored to have her as part of our team,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO.

Lannoye-Hall has worked for the DZS for 16 years, building and facilitating partnerships with local school districts and helping thousands of students and teachers connect their classrooms to real-world learning experiences.  She also works with teachers through carefully planned and implemented professional development workshops to take their science curriculum a step further.

“Claire works tirelessly to keep on the forefront of current educational methods and needs, sharing this information with her team at the DZS and incorporating it into programming,” said Dwight Sieggreen, past president of the Michigan Science Teachers Association.

Lannoye-Hall is an advocate for making science accessible – she has developed camps, early learner programs, afterschool programming and teen volunteer opportunities that do just that.  In 2009, she helped form the DZS’s partnership with Oakland County’s Children’s Village – a residential treatment and detention center for youth.  This program instills a respect and reverence for the natural world through various activities, including gardening and taking part in amphibian conservation projects alongside DZS staff.

Lannoye-Hall also leads the DZS’s involvement in the Adopt-A-School program in Peru, which aims to preserve the rainforest one child at a time.  The DZS has partnered with the Civil Association for Conservation of the Peruvian Amazon Environment since 1999, supporting children and teachers in rural areas of the rainforest.  Each spring, more than 3,000 students and teachers receive a year’s worth of basic school supplies, delivered by Lannoye-Hall and a group of volunteers.

Lannoye-Hall was also named one of Oakland County’s “Elite 40 Under 40 Class of 2018”, which recognizes young professionals in the community who have achieved excellence in their field and contributed to the quality of life in their communities.  

Clarkston High wins top award at FIRST robotics championship; other area students recognized

Excerpt: 

Numerous Oakland County teams in elementary through high school won accolades at the four day FIRST Robotics World Championship in Detroit, held through Saturday, April 28.

Read more

OCC students showcase work at annual film festival

Filmgoers and the community are invited to the 8th annual Oakland Community College Student Film Festival featuring the works of OCC student filmmakers. Students will screen their short films to the public on May 24, 2018 at the college’s Smith Theatre in Farmington Hills.

“OCC’s Student Film Festival is a juried event showcasing a diverse and outstanding selection of short films created by OCC students,” said Jack Cronin, OCC Cinematic Arts faculty member.

According to Cronin, the jury is made-up of a three-person panel including former cinematic arts students, industry professionals and faculty. “There are several criteria the jury looks at including technical and aesthetic quality. The jury decides which films are shown at the Festival and which ones win. Each year we feature a grand prize winner and two honorable mentions. The grand prize winner receives a GoPro camera to continue their great work.”

The Festival is produced by OCC’s Cinematic Arts Program. Featured films cover all genres and each is under 15 minutes in length. The free event is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. The Smith Theatre is located at 27055 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, Mich. For more information about OCC’s Student Festival, contact Jack Cronin at jdcronin@oaklandcc.edu.

About OCC’s Cinematic Arts Program - The Cinematic Arts Program awards an Associate in Arts degree. This program incorporates a theoretical and practical field of study, providing the student with a multidimensional experience in the study and application of cinematic arts. Subsequent to completion of the program, students will be prepared to enter the film/video industry or pursue a bachelor’s degree in film/video production studies.  

About OCC - With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences allowing each student to reach their full potential and enhance the communities they serve.  More than 40,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

Troy Chamber hosts 13th annual Nonprofit Management Conference, presented by PNC Bank

The Troy Chamber of Commerce and its Non-Profit Network (NPN) will host the 13th Annual Nonprofit Management Conference, presented by PNC Bank on Thursday, May 17, 8 a.m.–3:10 p.m., at Walsh College, Troy campus (3838 Livernois). This affordable management conference for nonprofit professionals, board members and volunteers is sponsored by PNC Bank, Walsh College and the Troy Chamber of Commerce.
 
 “We are proud to say that throughout the 12-year history of this conference, the Troy Chamber has provided low-cost training and networking opportunities to more than 1,500 nonprofit professionals from all over southeast Michigan,” explains Jody House, Troy Chamber Vice President and Staff Liaison to the Non-Profit Network. “The kind of training offered during this one-day conference can be key to growing nonprofit core competencies among staff, board members and volunteers alike,” she says.
 
Patricia Mooradian, President & Chief Operating Officer of The Henry Ford, will be kicking off the conference with a keynote presentation. Since joining the Henry Ford in 2000, Ms. Mooradian has developed a ten-year strategic plan focusing on increased attendance, new visitor experiences and amenities, new educational products and benchmark hospitality. She also introduced new tourism and sales initiatives and spearheaded The Henry Ford's brand development.
 
Following the keynote, continental breakfast and networking, the conference continues with two breakout sessions, lunch, and two afternoon sessions. Throughout the day, there will be a mini-expo with exhibitors showcasing products and services to help nonprofits operate their organizations better and more efficiently. 
 
At each breakout session, attendees choose one of four sessions with topics covering eight core areas of nonprofit management: Governance/Operations, Marketing, Technology, Human Resources/Volunteers/Staff, Fund Development/Donor Relations, Leadership/Board Development, Strategic Planning and Finance/Accounting.
 
The cost for the conference, breakfast & lunch included, is $60 for Troy Chamber members and $110 for non-members. Two or more attendees from the same non-member organization will receive a $10 discount per person. Space is limited and reservations must be made in advance.

To register, call the Troy Chamber at 248-641-3694 or email: jody@troychamber.com. For more details on the event, including topics and descriptions of the breakout sessions and speakers, click here.

OU Anthropology professor deploys drone to combat hunger in Africa

Oakland University professor Jon Carroll, Ph.D., is part of a pioneering team of scholars harnessing the latest advances in science and technology to promote sustainable agriculture in Africa. 
 
Carroll recently traveled to Liwonde, Malawi to work on a research project helping farmers boost crop production in the face of mounting threats posed by climate change. The project, called “Precision Agriculture for Smallholder Systems in Africa,” is part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

It is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and is in collaboration with Michigan State University’s Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, and Kansas State University’s Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab.
 
Carroll worked extensively with the Center for Global Change while in graduate school at Michigan State and was asked to join the project because of his expertise in using unmanned aerial vehicles for various research endeavors. These include archaeological excavations in Israel and a historical survey of Chateau de Balleroy, a 17th-century castle in Normandy, France.
 
“They knew of the work I had been doing in different parts of the world, and they thought that drone capability would be a great asset to the project,” said Carroll, a Registered Professional Archaeologist, FAA-licensed drone pilot and assistant professor in OU’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice.

So, how can a drone be used to counter the ill effects of climate change on crops in Africa and elsewhere? It starts with high-precision aerial photography that drones can provide to help researchers assess crop health.
 
As Carroll explained, “What we are doing is bringing highly detailed aerial imagery together with weather station data to understand what’s going on with these farm fields. This approach is widely available in the U.S., but in Africa they simply don’t have access to these technologies.”
 
The drone captures images with special cameras that allow researchers to quantify how much water and chlorophyll is in the plants. It also allows for 3-D measurements of plants in different parts of the field. Based on this data, researchers can recommend potential solutions to low crop yields.
 
“The answer could be water or fertilizer, or it may be that they are growing the wrong types of crops for that soil,” Carroll said.

Researchers are also working to develop models that can better predict seasonal and environmental patterns, which have been disrupted by climate change.

According to USAID, recurring droughts have ravaged Malawi’s agriculture sector, threatening the livelihoods of Malawi’s smallholder farmers, who constitute 80 percent of the country's population. In addition, 38 percent of Malawians live below the poverty line and 47 percent of children have stunted growth.

“It’s a big problem, potentially disastrous.” Carroll said. “We went down there in February because that’s their growing season, and it didn’t rain once while we were there.”
 
Carroll’s research team worked in conjunction with other research groups, which included government officials and scholars from Malawi and other places. Aside from the influx of visitors, the appearance of a flying object was a source of fascination for children and families in the community.

“This is an area where people are just not used to seeing this type of technology, so any time that I flew the drone, we always had a crowd,” he recalled. “Entire families would come out to see what was going on, and I would make it a point to try to explain to the people what we were doing and answer their questions, either in English or through an interpreter.”
 
Carroll called his time in Malawi “one of the most profound” research experiences of his life.
 
“I’ve worked in different parts of the world, usually on archaeological questions, and most of the people that I study have been gone for hundreds or thousands of years,” he explained. “This was a very different kind of project because I was surrounded by the people who were going to be affected by this research.”
 
Carroll lauded the College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice for their support of his work and for helping put Oakland at the forefront of drone-driven, global research efforts.
 
“This is one capability we have that many other institutions in the region don’t,” he said. “Oakland is leading the way in using drone technology in different parts of the world, and for different purposes. None more urgent than helping those whose survival depends on achieving sustainable food production.”
372 Education + Learning Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts