Executive Summary

The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $788,000 on June 17, 2016 to Del Mar College for the development and dissemination of a highly technological and innovative educational program in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).  The three year-long project (2016-2019) will incorporate an articulated educational program of study between Del Mar College and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi that will focus on the application of UAS to end users through the integration of remote sensing and GIS techniques employing a data-centric approach using programming and software (both open-source and commercial). At the forefront of innovation in the field of UAS research, the program partners in this ATE project will enable rich subject matter to be taught while also offering a two-year centered program that offers students and workers the opportunity to continue their education to a four-year degree. At all levels, graduates from these programs will perform work that enables the UAS programs and related industry to progress rapidly around the nation.  According to an economic report published by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), an economic benefit of $82 billion is predicted from 2015-2025 in terms of job creation and revenue associated with the increase production and usage of Unmanned Aircraft Systems.  By 2025, 100,000 jobs are projected to be created nationally to support Unmanned Aircraft Systems.  Texas ranks third out of ten other states in terms of significant growth in job creation and revenue production.

Key personnel for the UASTEC project include:

  • Phillip Davis, professor of computer science at Del Mar College, will serve as the project’s principal investigator (PI) responsible for providing overall leadership and vision for the project.  He has served as PI and Director of the $5M NSF ATE Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence (GeoTech) from 2008—2013.  Dr. Davis has also served as project manager for the $2M Dept of Labor NISGTC project at Del Mar College from 2011—2016.
  • David Hattox, professor of computer science at Del Mar College, will serve as CoPI on the project.  He will be responsible for articulation and educational planning for the project between Del Mar College and Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi.
  • Michael Starek, assistant professor Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi will serve as CoPI on the project.  His role includes assisting in the development of UAS and Remote Sensing curriculum and engaging participants in relevant research and internship experiences.
  • John J. Nelson, M.S. GISP, instructor of geospatial technology at Del Mar College, will serve as project director responsible for the day-to-day operation of the project.  His role includes the engagement of local school districts to recruit and train secondary teachers in GIS and UAS technology for establishing dual-credit courses and to assist in the development of GST curriculum and internships.
  • Dara Betz, MBA, Del Mar College, will serve as project coordinator, responsible for working with local business and industry for non-credit workforce training in UAS technology.  She will engage industry and military partners to increase internship and employment opportunities for UASTEC graduates.

Permanent CoPIs Conferencing Link


UASTEC Project is funded by the National Science Foundation DUE # 1601785