Educator works for a cleaner environment

Adrienne Cloud flies a drone

Educator works for a cleaner environment

W hen it comes to educating her students about sustainability, Adrienne Cloud, ’20, has done exponentially well through teaching, research and development. Over the next decade, she predicts significant improvement in emissions reductions, as countries like Japan are already phasing out internal combustion engines. 

“My mission is to inspire the next generation to reach zero emissions,” Cloud said. “Energy is everything. From the food we eat, to the fuel we use to power our cars and homes—it’s all changing. We have already seen tightened regulations and policy changes.” 

Over the past decade she has taught physics, chemistry, environmental science, earth systems, biology, flight operations, energy systems and engineering and technology. 

Adrienne Cloud tests the solar panel voltage output with a multimeter.
Adrienne Cloud tests the solar panel voltage output with a multimeter.

“I had the pleasure of teaching my Georgia College Ecology Professor Dr. Alfred Mead’s son about energy systems and drones at Putnam County High School,” said Cloud. “He’s an exceptional example of a loving father, who brought his field experiences into the classroom with lots of memorable examples. Dr. Mead was straightforward, honest and always tried to make sure we understood the content.”  

Mead was understanding and knows life can be complicated. He realized, to his students, coursework wasn’t always a top priority. However, he related to his students and did his best to make a positive mark on their lives.

Much like Mead, Cloud also tries to make the lesson content interesting for her students by bringing real-world applications into the classroom.

“I understand my passions may not be the same as my students,” she said. “I’ve always spent my summers doing research on cutting-edge technology—flying, diving and any activity I could use—to teach science principles or problem solving and strategy to students.” 

“In about 10 years, you’re going to see hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and passenger drones as viable sources of transportation. When I look at a skyline, I see green roofs. I see drone ports. I see the future, and hydrogen infrastructure is going to enable it to happen.”
– Adrienne Cloud

Cloud connected with her students by using the science of diving to teach chemistry. She brought her diving equipment into the classroom to help them understand the importance of gases. She started flying small planes when she taught physics and invited her pilot instructor and local Air Force pilots to visit her classes. When her environmental science students expressed interest in solar energy, she became certified to design and install solar arrays. 

Cloud is also Founder of Sustainable Sun Systems, which she launched November 2016 to teach others about hydroponics, solar energy and hydrogen storage. Adrienne is a hands-on educator and one of her favorite projects was making biodiesel in the BioPro 380 to fuel a Humvee that took students back and forth to the greenhouse where they learned about different hydroponic systems. She now sits on an advisory board for Westminster High School in Colorado, where she has seven students working in a greenhouse. Cloud recently led a workshop there, teaching them about nutrients, lighting and growing mediums. 

Adrienne Cloud flies her drone.
Adrienne Cloud flies her drone.

Cloud credits her mentors for putting her at the forefront of the MakerSpace Movement, a collaborative work space inside a school, library or separate public or private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools. They provide hands on learning, help with critical thinking skills and even boost self-confidence. Working with Economic Development and SparkMacon, Central Georgia's first Makerspace, Cloud completed a grant for the U.S. Department of Defense to create a curriculum to train transitioning military in additive and subtractive manufacturing, laser cutting, coding in Python, robotics and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) Part 107 Certification. She then connected veterans to industry partners, so they could fly drones for disaster relief or grid infrastructure inspections and launched the company, Drones in Industry, to continue to train drone pilots and fly contracts. Working with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative (UASSC), she worked with government entities and Fortune 500 companies to write the standardization roadmap for unmanned aircraft systems.

Cloud’s involvement with the Environmental Club at Georgia College taught her networking, public speaking and mentoring skills. These qualities provide a good foundation for her work in certification preparation, internships, consulting and networking by linking individuals to places of employment or helping them start their own company.

Over the last four years, she’s done research and development in hydroponic and energy systems starting with building her own systems and then at Comfort Farms with Jon Jackson and Ponix with container farms. Cloud's also worked with veterans at Comfort Farms and trained it's farmers on hydroponics for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, she measures the efficiency and safety of systems, designing workflows and food safety plans for FarmBox Foods. She writes to public officials to keep them updated on how these systems can be integrated into society, increasing physical, mental and emotional well-being. 

Adrienne Cloud and her son, Daniel, examine plants in a container farm.
Adrienne Cloud and her son, Daniel, examine plants in a container farm.

Georgia College’s Curriculum and Instruction Master’s program prepared Cloud to use learning management systems (LMS) and clearly communicate important standards to her students. 

“Words are powerful,” she said. “When starting a company, you must think about training, and LMS can embed content and assessments to better understand what the student does and does not understand.”  

Cloud wants to use her master’s degree to design LMS that provide certifications for technologies such as sustainable farming, solar/wind generation and hydrogen storage.

“Training a workforce to embed these technologies into society will change the culture and decrease carbon emissions,” she said.  

Today, she’s writing a book on disruptive technologies and working with her mentors to make it easy to understand.

“This is a very high priority for me to get this out to educators and public officials,” she said. “The book is an outline to help policy makers transition our workforce to new technologies, such as hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.”

For years, she’s been educating state representatives about hydrogen as a fuel source, to reach zero-emissions.

“In about 10 years, you’re going to see hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and passenger drones as viable sources of transportation,” said Cloud. “When I look at a skyline, I see green roofs. I see drone ports. I see the future, and hydrogen infrastructure is going to enable it to happen.”