UNM-LA Student Christina Valdez Describes PAC-8 Internship

PAC 8 Intern Christina Valdez and mentor Jean Gindreau of PAC 8 fly together behind Fuller Lodge. Photo Courtesy PAC 8

Christina Valdez enjoying flying a drone. Photo Courtesy PAC 8

Chriatina Valdez inspecting a drone before she flies. Photo Courtesy PAC 8


My name is Christina Valdez and I am a student at UNM-Los Alamos. During the Spring 2022 semester, I participated in a three month internship at PAC 8 through the Community Internship Collaboration program. I had the honor of having Jean Gindreau, FAA-certified remote-pilot and Executive Director of PAC 8, as my mentor. The main focus of my internship was to learn about drone safety and regulation, videography, and how to fly a drone!

Last month my mentor and I had the opportunity to attend the 2022 Central Colorado UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Roundup Drone Conference. The conference was held on September 11th and 12th among the beautiful Buena Vista Collegiate Peaks.

The first day of the conference featured drone demonstrations and FPV drone racing at the one of a kind Buena Vista Drone Training Park. The Buena Vista Drone Training Park was created by the UAS club to teach pilots how to fly safely and legally. The Central Colorado UAS Club strives to promote safety through education and a positive atmosphere for pilots of all ages to exchange information and ideas. The second day of the conference, held at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, was an information packed day with impressive speakers from the industry.

While at the conference, I learned so much and got to meet some very skilled and accomplished people. I learned that drone technology can be applied to firefighting, first response, surgical and medical assessment, land surveying, bridge and car crash inspection, search and rescue, and even the engineering of space rockets! The individuals I met shared some very motivational words with me and encouraged me in the pursuit of my future endeavors. It was such a great experience being able to attend the conference and I am thankful to PAC 8 for sending me!