We are the JMU Bee Team, and we are developing a solution to the “plight of the bumblebees.” For the first time, honey bees are on the endangered species list. This is alarming! They have a vast impact as a species and as a commercial asset to us. To solve this problem, collaboration will hold as much importance as data and research. Our team is composed of the brightest minds across several different majors, each contributing thoughts and ideas from various perspectives. We have a WRTC major, an Integrated Science and Technology major, a Physics major, and even a Psychology major. An interesting mix wouldn’t you agree? As we develop our drone to save the drones, workers and queens of countless beehives, we’ve learned a great deal about collaboration, the most important component in our machine. We welcome you to read on and learn about each and everyone of us.
This project has shown me that the best way to approach a complex challenge, such as our drone project, is to allow individual members to focus on areas that relate to their strengths. Certain activities are lead by certain members and the team collaborates and unifies their findings usually after working somewhat autonomously on distributed tasks. When our group met for the first time I had originally expected take a more hands on role with the drone itself and maybe even fly it. However the class itself did not go into the technological detail that I thought it would, so I found my main focus in the delivering of the written portion, as one of our team’s writers/editors. I am pleased with this as I have an active role in providing that good first impression of our project through both our written components and the presentation itself. Working with the team has improved my awareness of my own strengths and weakness in a group setting. I have learned several methods in unifying the information brought by different perspectives and in taking charge in spearheading certain written aspects. We are doing well on coming together and unifying our progress. Everyone is one the same page and every one lends there voice to discussion. The main thing we should try to improve on is in scheduling meeting times where all our members are able to attend.
Stephanie Lugbill, Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication
On our first day of class we flew mini drones. During this flight time many of the drones crashed or were faulty. Before this class started, I thought that we would be test-flying drones and figuring out how they work generally to help improve the environment. Once I started working with the Bee Team, though, I realized my team was dealing with a more specific task: to find out if bees create microclimates. For my part, I write, edit, take pictures, and learn technical aspects of working with drones. In the Bee Team, I have learned that we each have our own strengths and that we divide work so each person can best succeed. This being said, if any one of us has any kind of difficulty with another person or a situation, then we directly communicate the problem with each other to figure out a proper response to a situation. There are times when I have to step back and allow other members of my group figure out a technical problem, but I am also not afraid to give my own input and allow my different perspective to be heard. In the weeks coming up, we should make sure all four of us are able to meet at least once a week, and that we are on the same page for the tasks ahead.
Harold (Alec) Barney, Integrated Science and Technology
I have been focusing on developing the wind measurement system using dronekit python. Although this is what I thought I would be doing, I imagined it would be used for a different application. Before working on this project I had been informed about a research group that was looking into how wind patterns affect the way mosquitoes disperse when dropping them from an airplane. So I thought we would apply something like this to bees, but it turned out that I didn’t know much about bees because that is not how they are dispersed to pollinate. After consulting our mentor, Dr. Ludwig, we began looking into bee microclimates. Now our project is focused on getting wind, temperature, and humidity measurements to detect if bees create there own microclimates. While working on this project we’ve learned each others strengths and weaknesses, this has allowed us to divide and conquer the workload. Every week, the majority of our team meets to evaluate our progress and plan for the following week, I contribute by making sure technical points are understood and explained correctly. Our team has adverse schedules, making difficult to find times when everyone is available to meet. We all need to come together, even at unpreferable times, in order to get everyone on the same page.
Kyle Britton, Physics
Originally, I had believed each of the teams would be building a drone from scratch. I thought I would be the one helping with the mechanical end of the project and aiding in the construction and physical look of the drone. After some time, though, it was narrowed down so that we would only be making attachments to the drone, and that this technical responsibility would be split in itself. Now I have mostly focused on upkeep of the drone as well as creating the humidity and temperature sensor for the drone to measure at different altitudes, along with some intel gathering on bees. Working together is tough, four different people with enormously busy schedules makes it difficult for everyone to meet and be on the same page sometimes, but it helps when there are four of us together, splitting the workload, and communicating so effectively. As a goal we need to shoot for meetings with all of us, and working on communication between the group to make a cohesive unit.