$788K grant to help fund UAS programs

DMC, A&M-CC work on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

DMC hosted a news conference at the Center for Economic Development to announce the award of a $788,000 grant to Del Mar on Sept. 26.

The Advanced Technological Education grant, from the National Science Foundation, led Del Mar College to begin working along side with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence & Innovation to form the Unmanned Aerial Systems Technology Educational Consortium.

“Everything is changing. What better place than here in Del Mar to kick off showing how grant funding can come to the area and how we can expand technological programs for the state of Texas,” said state Rep. Todd Hunter. “Working together we can get things done.”

Computer science professor Phillip Davis, principal investigator of the grant, said it was two years in the making.

“First time we got good reviews, we didn’t get the grant. Second time we got the grant, they could keep the reviews,” Davis said.

The grant was awarded earlier this summer and will run through June 2019. The funds help open doors to expand the curriculum and provide training initiatives for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or UAS.

President Mark Escamilla stands next to Del Mar’s GIS drone at the event.
President Mark Escamilla stands next to Del Mar’s GIS drone at
the event. (photos by Michelle Mirelez)

“The exciting thing is we’re sort of the man in the middle (Del Mar), we are going to be the associate granting institution, we’re going to be working with K-12. JJ (Nelson, DMC instructor of technology) is already working to get teachers enrolled. We are going to be offering dual credit courses,” Davis said.

With DMC and A&M-CC working together, it allows Geographical Information Systems, or GIS, students to continue their education at A&M-CC and pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in GIS or Bachelor of Applied Science degree In Digital Information Mapping.

Hunter Morgan, DMC alumnus, holds a Bachelor in Computer Science from A&M-CC and is working toward his Masters of Science degree. He not only attends the university but is the lead software engineer at the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence & Innovation.

Morgan feels that this grant will encourage a lot of students to become interested in the STEM field.

“I think with this grant it will keep it moving forward especially with working in the UAS industry, bringing more students into this field. With an industry that’s growing, give them the opportunity,” Morgan said.

Students can go to the DMC Geospatial Technology Program Facebook page at on.fb. me/1g6DkTV or call 361-698- 1475 for more information about what programs are avaliable

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