March 12, 2021

Arcata, California. [March 12, 2021]: The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), in partnership with the Technology Student Association (TSA), has awarded a Unite grant to Humboldt State University (HSU), in Arcata, California, for its Humboldt County Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Youth Education Training effort. The Humboldt State University Unite program targets rising 10th-12th-grade Native American students, though all students are encouraged to apply to the program.

Humboldt State University will offer an exciting hands-on STEM learning experience focused on teaching 15-to-17 year-old Native American students about UAS technology – or small drones – and its application to scientific research. The ultimate goal of the program is to have each participant obtain a Federal Aviation Administration UAS pilot’s license by the conclusion of a four-week summer session. However, the program also aims to inspire and motivate participants to pursue higher education, as well as a career in STEM-related fields.

David Marshall, Unite Site Director of the program and a Math Instructor and Research Associate at HSU.

“We are very excited to become an AEOP Unite site and help provide young people in the community with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in STEM studies and chart a path to obtain mentorship and career opportunities in STEM fields,” said David Marshall, Site Director of the program and a Math Instructor and Research Associate at HSU.  “Far too often, Native Americans, other students of color, and low-income students do not have access to these learning opportunities, or these opportunities are never made available to them.” Marshall is a longtime pilot and STEM education advocate. He also is the chair of the UAS advisory committee at HSU and has taught a summer robotics experience for sixth- thru eighth-grade students. After learning about Unite last year, he applied and was awarded a Unite grant to establish the program at HSU. He is assisted by Dr. Tamara Barriquand, 1Lt, USAF (Ret), and assistant professor of physics and oceanography at HSU.

Unite is a four-to-six-week summer program with the goal of creating more equitable access to STEM experiences for all high school students. Unite encourages students to consider college majors and careers in engineering and other STEM-related fields through a program of focused hands-on rigorous academics, enrichment, and career exploration. AEOP and Unite envision a future full of STEM leaders that are representative of the diverse country we live in.

“As the nation prepares for a post-pandemic economy, it is vital to harness the full potential of young people in STEM to tackle the various challenges we face,” said Hillary Lee, manager of Unite at TSA. “AEOP and TSA are excited to see this new site join the Unite network. The work being done at HSU exemplifies our desire to expose a diverse community of young people to the power of what is possible through STEM –  by making it fun, accessible, and relevant.”

Due to COVID-19 precautions, face-to-face instruction at HSU will not be possible this year. Participants in the program will receive online instruction that includes team-building events, guest speakers, and the information needed to obtain a UAS pilot’s license. Some of the guest speakers scheduled include local Coast Guard air station pilots, a software engineer from Lockheed, an aviation GPS equipment manufacturer engineer, and a number of other professionals who work in some aspect of the aviation industry.

To learn more about the AEOP Unite program at HSU and to apply, contact Mr. David Marshall at Discover more about AEOP Unite and how to bring the Unite program to your community here. Student eligibility for Unite varies by site location.

About AEOP: The U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) is comprised of U.S. Army-sponsored research, education, competition, internship, and practical experience opportunities designed to engage and guide students and teachers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). From elementary school through graduate school, students at all levels, interests, and ethnic, economic, and academic backgrounds are encouraged to participate in hands-on programs in STEM disciplines. More information is available at

About TSA: The Technology Student Association (TSA) is a national, non-profit career and technical student organization (CTSO) of middle school and high school student members who are engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Since TSA was chartered in 1978, over 5,000,000 students have participated in TSA through competitions, intracurricular activities, leadership opportunities, community service, and more. Additional information about TSA is available at

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