Avionics News August 2019 - 43

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
to pursue a master's degree. At
Embry, I earned a Master of Science
in aeronautics with a dual-specific
concentration in safety and aviation
management. This is where my
interest in applied aviation research
truly sparked.

How did that interest
develop?

Early during my master's degree
program, I was fortunate to connect
with a faculty member who was
working on some pioneering
technologies involving augmented
reality for aircraft maintenance
technician's training. The state-ofthe-art for these applications has
evolved considerably since 2003.
Nonetheless, this was one of the
first applied aviation projects that I
participated with at Embry-Riddle.
This research project fostered two
industry publications on the topic.
Upon graduation, I was hired as
an adjunct professor at EmbryRiddle to teach in the Department
of Aeronautical Science and held
various roles from staff to faculty
in the UAS and in the aeronautical
science degree program. During my
tenure at Embry-Riddle, I sought to
advance my career in aviation and,
specifically, in academia. This led me
to pursue and earn my doctorate
from Nova Southeastern University
specializing in computer and
information sciences. I also attained
a professional terminal degree as an
education specialist in the process of
attaining my Ph.D.

And what's the origin of
your interest in UAS?

While I was at Embry-Riddle, UAS was
a fairly new paradigm to the commercial
aviation market yet very prominent for
decades in military aviation. By 2008,
the UAS industry had begun to flourish
for potential commercial applications,
yet the regulatory framework was at
an infant state. Nonetheless, faculty
identified the potential benefits of
unmanned systems and the need for
UAS operator training. At Embry-Riddle,
I was one of the pioneering faculty
members to establish the UAS degree
program, which began as a minor course
of study and rapidly traversed into a full
accredited Bachelor of Science program
in UAS specializing in UAS operations,
pilot and sensor operator training. The
industry has certainly evolved since
then. We continue to observe industry
shifts as the industry matures over time.

You've recently moved to
Kansas State University's
Polytechnic Campus.

Yes, it was a fantastic opportunity
to engage in a full research role.
Applied research is truly a passion.
When coupled with UAS, you just can't
beat it. At present, the UAS industry
is contending with complex problems
toward full-scale integration of UAS in
the national airspace system. I enjoy
investigating these complex problems
associated with UAS integration, as
it provides great opportunities to
collaborate with industry experts,
academic institutions and government
agencies alike toward providing solutions
to industry complexities. This is one of

my primary focus areas at Kansas State
Polytechnic.
I also enjoy teaching and being in the
classroom. I enjoy hosting collaborative
discussions with my students regarding
the state of the UAS industry and
sharing my knowledge, skills and
experience with them as they will serve
as tomorrow's pioneers in both manned
and unmanned aviation.

What other universities
do you partner with?

One of the most enjoyable
components of UAS applied research
is the opportunity to collaborate with
subject matter experts in this field.
Through the FAA's Center of Excellence
for UAS Research, ASSURE, 23 of the
world's leading research institutions
join forces to tackle complex industry
problems. Some of these institutions
include: Kansas State University, The
Ohio State University, Drexel University,
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,
University of North Dakota, Mississippi
State, New Mexico State, University of
Alaska at Fairbanks, and Oregon State
among others.

What's a typical
day for you?

A typical day for me is not very
typical. In fact, my days are often
dynamic. We have a number of ongoing
research activities here at the Applied
Aviation Research Center and a great
team to tackle the work that comes
through our doors. We focus on a
multitude of UAS research projects,
Continued on page 61
avionics news

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august

2019

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Avionics News August 2019

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