Student Summer Academies

Southern Research STEM

Drone Academy

Drone Academy is a free, week-long summer program that offers a balanced, blended experience integrating interactive STEM learning, student mentoring, and career exposure designed for 9th-12th grade students. Through hands-on UAV construction, flying exercises, and experimenting, students will gain the skills needed to compete in today’s drone-centric world. The required tasks combine engineering design and construction, 3D printing, and the application of electrical engineering principles.

Students will get to hear from and network with industry leaders that utilize drone technology and computer programming in their careers. This includes the Jefferson County EMA, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Southern Research, Motorola Solutions, Inc, and more!


Southern Research is committed to delivering a safe learning environment for all our students, teachers, and staff. This is accomplished by following all health and safety guidelines provided by SR, the CDC, and ALSDE, which currently include reducing capacity, wearing masks, social distancing, and monitoring symptoms.

We are continuously monitoring COVID-19 in Alabama to make the best decision regarding holding face-to-face programming in Summer 2021. We will inform all participants and provide updates on our website if we are unable to safely host in-person experiences.


Camp dates:

  • June 14-18
  • June 21-25
  • July 12-16 (Full – Girls Inc. Week)
  • July 19-23

Eligibility: Students must be graduating seniors, rising 9th-, 10th-, 11th- or 12th-grade students in order to apply.

Deadline: Applications will open March 1, 2021 and will be due by May 14, 2021.

Questions: If you have any questions concerning the application process or the program, please send them to or call 205-504-7868.


Drone Academy FAQ

What is the cost of Drone Academy?

The camp is free!

What are the hours of Drone Academy?

The active hours of the camp are from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Students may be dropped off as early as 8:00 AM each day and must be picked up by 3:00 PM.

Will lunch be provided?

Yes. We will provide lunch and a snack each day of the camp.

Where will Drone Academy be held? 

Drone Academy will be held in the STEM Education Outreach Center at Southern Research in downtown Birmingham – 2000 9th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205.

Can I attend Drone Academy with a friend or sibling?

Yes. Please indicate on each person’s application the name of your friend/sibling and the preferred camp dates you would like to attend together.

Do you provide transportation?

No, we do not provide transportation. We encourage you to carpool if you are able.

I am currently in 8th grade, can I apply?

Yes. We are accepting current 8th grade students who will be in 9th grade in the 2021-2022 school year.

I am a graduating senior, can I apply?

Yes. We are accepting students who are graduating from high school in May 2021.

I have no experience with 3D printing or electrical engineering. Can I still apply?

Yes. You do not need any prior experience with the topics we will cover during the camp – you’ll learn all of these things during the camp!

Will the COVID-19 outbreak affect Drone Academy?

As of now, Drone Academy is scheduled to occur as planned. Any changes will be communicated via our website and email.