New Drone Research Opportunities for Students Discussed at Drone Research Open House


drone-research.jpgEmerging opportunities for drone research at Montana Technological University were discussed at a recent open house hosted by several departments.

The Drone Research Open House, which brought in approximately 30 students, gave attendees information on projects the drone research team has been working on, how to get involved with drone research, and upcoming course and certificate program offerings.

Drone research at Montana Tech is currently led by Professors Mary MacLaughlin in Geological Engineering, Xiaobing Zhou in Geophysics, Raja Nagisetty in Environmental Engineering, Robert Pal in Biological Sciences and Director of Restoration, and Bryce Hill in Electric Engineering along with Jeremy Crowley with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology.

The team of faculty members is planning on implementing new coursework that would allow students to earn college credits for a drone certificate program slated for Fall 2021.

“Employers are starting to look for drone skills in lots of different industries,” MacLaughlin said. “We hope these drone certificates will be valuable from an employment perspective.”

MacLaughlin is currently applying for funding that would allow interdisciplinary teams of students to conduct drone research together.

“Being involved in research really enhances undergraduate education as well as graduate education,” she said. “I think drones are one of the most exciting research tools that bring together students from all majors.”

MacLaughlin has already received two different grants from the National Science Foundation and the Alpha Foundation that have allowed Tech to purchase drones, software, and fund graduate research on campus.

Students who are interested in learning more about how they can get involved in drone research at Montana Tech should contact one of the faculty members developing the program.