About the Author



The Mental Munition Factory is produced by Matthew Schroyer, a communications specialist, social network analyst, and data journalist based in Urbana, Illinois, who develops unmanned aircraft systems (commonly called drones) and sensor node technology for journalism and STEM education.

He is founder and president of the Professional Society of Drone Journalists (PSDJ), an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering done journalists, which located at DroneJournalism.org.

He's written for newspapers, alternative newsweeklies and news websites about presidential campaigns, energy, pollution, local politics, public housing, poverty, musicians, school board meetings and assorted slices of life.

He holds a master's in journalism University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he was a contributor to CU-CitizenAccess.org, a community news website funded by the Knight Foundation. While a graduate student, he taught journalism and contributed to CampusCrime.net, an interactive web site using data journalism practices to report on crime at the U of I, which won an Mark of Excellence award from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

Additionally, he conducted an investigation of how pollution from old, coal-fired power plants affeced the health of families in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, and used public records to show how south-side children had the greatest exposure to lead in Chicago.

He currently works at a National Science Foundation grant at the University of Illinois called Entrepreneurial Leadership in STEM Teaching and learning, or EnLiST, which trains K-12 science teachers to create cross-school and cross-district collaborations that transform STEM education.

He functions in a variety of roles at the grant, including communications specialist and social network analyst. Schroyer first learned how to use social network analysis as part of his data journalism education, and at EnLiST he uses those same methods to understand how teaching and learning networks work between classrooms, schools, and districts, and how those networks can be used to effect positive changes.

For EnLiST, he created the “Drones for Schools” program, which teaches core science and engineering concepts behind unmanned aerial systems while high school students design, fabricate, and deploy their own "drones" to map and study the environment. These drones are based on the same technology behind the investigative journalism drones of DroneJournalism.org.

Schroyer has spoken about unmanned technology, and drone and data journalism at a variety of professional seminars, and for numerous media outlets. He is available to teach news organizations how to adopt data journalism strategies and utilize drones for low-cost, high-impact investigative reporting.

email: mschroyer@gmail.com
twitter: @matthew_ryan

 IN THE MEDIA
ACADEMIC CITATIONS

CONFERENCES
  • Haythornthwaite, C., Gao, W., Abd-El-Khalick, F., Schroyer, M. & Martin, A. (Jan. 7, 2014). Networks of change: Learning from peers about science teaching. Paper presented at the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Big Island, HI.
  • Pitt, F., Parvaz, D., Tahir, M., Corcoran, M., Schroyer, M., Dewar, M., Syed, N. (Oct. 12, 2013). Design A Drone Journalism Mission. Working group at the Drones & Aerial Robotics Conference, New York, NY.
  • Schroyer, M. (2013). sUAS Opportunities in Research, New Media, and Public Outreach. Presented at the first annual Small Unmanned Systems Business Exposition, San Francisco, CA.
  • Schroyer, M. (2013). Drone Journalism. Presented at UAVs Pros-Cons, Toronto, Canada.
  • Schroyer, M. (2013). Drones for Good. Presented at the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society, Toronto, Canada. 
  • Abd El Khalick, F., Schroyer, M., Martin, A., Haythornthwaite, C. (2013). Effecting ‘Reform’ through Transformations in District-Wide Science Teacher Learning Networks. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.
  • North, M. Schroyer, M. (2013). Re-Imagining Toys: Merging the Physical & Digital. Presentation at South by Southwest, Austin, TX.
  • Abd El Khalick, F., Schroyer, M., Martin, A., Haythornthwaite, C. (2013). Monitoring Transformations in District-Wide Teacher Learning Networks through Social Network Analysis. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Science Foundation Math and Science Partnership. Washington, D.C.
  • Abd-El-Khalick, F., Haythornthwaite, C., Martin, A., Schroyer, M., Phelps, K. (2012). Characterizing district-wide teachers’ science learning networks: silos and barriers to change and innovation. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Abd-El-Khalick, F., Frericks, C., Haythornthwaite, C., Schroyer, M., Price, R., Martin, A., Bergandine, D. (2012). Understanding Barriers to Change and Innovation in STEM Teaching and Learning: Silos and District-wide Teacher Learning Networks. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Science Foundation Math and Science Partnership. Washington, D.C.
EDUCATION
  • M.S., Journalism. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2011.
  • B.S., Mass Communications (specialization in print and electronic media). Minor in creative writing. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2008.
  • [Additional undergraduate education in mechanical engineering, including courses in Calculus, Chemistry, Computer Aided Drafting (AutoCAD), Computer Programming, Dynamics, Physics, Statics, Statistics]
AWARDS
  • Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence, Online News Reporting, National Winner, 2010
  • Illinois College Press Association, second-place award for in-depth reporting, 2008
  • St. Louis Newspaper Guild Award, 2008
  • St. Louis Press Club Award, 2007
SEMESTERS RANKED EXCELLENT TEACHER BY STUDENTS
  • Fall 2010: JOUR200, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign