CSM stu­dents in­tern at UAS test site fa­cil­ity

Drone fly­ing among ac­tiv­i­ties

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The projects once would have been con­sid­ered fu­tur­is­tic — a quad­copter that works both in the air and in the wa­ter, another that flies and then trans­forms into a rolling ve­hi­cle once it lands, soft­ware that trans­lates a mas­sive amount of in­for­ma­tion col­lected by a swarm of drones into a co­her­ent re­port for a hu­man. Col­lege stu­dents still in the process of work­ing on their bach­e­lor de­grees de­signed these projects and others this sum­mer, all ap­ply­ing un­manned air­craft sys­tems-re­lated so­lu­tions to real-world chal­lenges.

These stu­dents, seated around a brief­ing ta­ble, each took a turn in early Au­gust pre­sent­ing their project cre­ated dur­ing their just-com­pleted, twom­onth sum­mer in­tern­ship at the Univer­sity of Mary­land Un­manned Air­craft Sys­tems Test Site in Cal­i­for­nia, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease from the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land.

“It’s been a re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence,” said UAS Test Site Di­rec­tor Matt Scassero, com­mend­ing the qual­ity of the group’s work and projects.

The 10 stu­dents in­cluded two from the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land, sopho­mores Kristina Babin­ski of La Plata and Ed­ward Gesser III of Me­chan­icsville, with the rest of the in­terns coming from UMd. Babin­ski and Gesser were the first CSM in­terns in the three­year his­tory of the in­tern pro­gram and were two of only three in­terns who hadn’t com­pleted the first half of their bach­e­lor’s de­gree.

“They re­ally held their own. They have both done an ex­cel­lent job,” said CSM As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor By­ron Brez­ina, who served as a men­tor to Babin­ski and Gesser dur­ing the in­tern­ship.

“They all brought their in­di­vid­ual chal­lenges and strengths to the ta­ble and banded to­gether to take on the re­search prob­lems and solve them col­lab­o­ra­tively,” Scassero said. “Once it was time to work and fly their re­search it was game on, and they were a great team.”

Babin­ski, an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing ma­jor at CSM and the only fe­male stu­dent in this year’s in­tern­ship pro­gram, was the first to present at the event. She de­scribed the dif­fer­ent con­sid­er­a­tions nec­es­sary to write the code to cre­ate a ther­mal points search-and-res­cue map. Her project is de­signed to as­sist searc­hand-res­cue teams iden­tify non-wa­ter-re­lated items like a large mam­mal or a ve­hi­cle in the wa­ter. Us­ing in­frared ther­mal im­ages col­lected by drones, Babin­ski wrote code that transfers that in­for­ma­tion onto a map. The project, for in­stance, could as­sist res­cue teams try­ing to lo­cate a boat in dis­tress.

“I had zero ex­pe­ri­ence in aviation be­fore coming to this in­tern­ship,” Babin­ski said dur­ing her pre­sen­ta­tion. “I flew a drone for the first time.”

Babin­ski ended her pre­sen­ta­tion with a re­quest for more women in the in­tern­ship pro­gram, an idea en­dorsed by the pro­gram ad­min­is­tra­tors.

Gesser, a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing ma­jor at CSM, took on a project dur­ing his in­tern­ship that was sug­gested by Na­tional Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s God­dard Space Flight Cen­ter. “I worked on two sep­a­rate sys­tems, one for the NASA project that was de­signed to in­te­grate a hy­per spec­tral sen­sor pack­age onto a UAV and one for NOAA,” he said. The Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion Cen­ter for Weather and Cli­mate Pre­dic­tion project in­volved Gesser mount­ing a sen­sor pay­load to a UAV as well as pro­tect­ing the pay­load in case of a crash.

Gesser used a 3-D printer to cre­ate cus­tom parts. “I was quite pleased it all fit when I was fin­ished,” he said.

Gesser said the twom­onth-long in­tern­ship project “ex­ten­sively” en­hanced his CAD skills. “I en­joyed work­ing on a larger-scale project and to be able to con­trib­ute to what they are do­ing at the test site,” he said.

While this was the first time CSM stu­dents have been in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in the in­tern­ship pro­gram, it will not be the last. Scassero said the test site ad­min­is­tra­tors sit on ad­vi­sory boards for CSM cur­ricu­lum and know the qual­ity of CSM’s fac­ulty, staff and stu­dents, both as a stand-alone in­sti­tu­tion con­cen­trat­ing on work­force devel­op­ment and as a feeder path to other higher ed­u­ca­tion cen­ters.

“CSM is the high­est yield com­mu­nity col­lege con­tribut­ing to the Clark School of En­gi­neer­ing, and we are con­tin­u­ally im­pressed with the stu­dents’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties and the flex­i­bil­ity of CSM to be re­spon­sive to work force needs,” Scassero said. “We will al­ways have a place for CSM in­terns.”

Both Babin­ski and Gesser plan to com­plete their as­so­ciate de­gree at CSM and then trans­fer to UMd. to con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion. This CSM con­nec­tion with UMd. is one of more than 60 trans­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to CSM stu­dents.

CSM seeks to con­nect

In ad­di­tion to Babin­ski and Gesser, other CSM stu­dents are fin­ish­ing sum­mer in­tern­ships or start­ing new ones with or­ga­ni­za­tions in a va­ri­ety of other lo­ca­tions. One stu­dent, for in­stance, worked last sum­mer with sea tur­tles at the Karen Beasley Sea Tur­tle Res­cue and Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter in Surf City, N.C. Another was awarded an in­tern­ship with the U.S. Navy Naval Air Sys­tems Com­mand Elec­tro-Op­tics Branch within the Hu­man Sys­tems Depart­ment.

In ad­di­tion, CSM stu­dents study­ing cy­ber- se­cu­rity are ben­e­fit­ing from in­tern­ships funded through the U.S. Depart­ment of La­bor’s Trade Ad­just­ment As­sis­tance Com­mu­nity Col­lege & Ca­reer Train­ing grant pro­gram, which fo­cuses on help­ing fe­male, mi­nor­ity, un­der- and un­em­ployed stu­dents, along with veterans and their spouses. A June 2017 grad­u­ate of CSM is with Peer­less Tech So­lu­tions in La Plata, and sev­eral other CSM in­terns with Peer­less Tech So­lu­tions have found per­ma­nent po­si­tions there. MilCorp in St. Ini­goes in­cluded a CSM stu­dent in its sum­mer in­tern pro­gram.

“This is a su­per op­por­tu­nity for our cy­ber­se­cu­rity stu­dents to work di­rectly with em­ploy­ers who are on the cut­ting edge of cy­ber tech­nol­ogy,” said Rochelle Edwards, CSM em­ployer out­reach and devel­op­ment spe­cial­ist.

“The 16 em­ploy­ers who have part­nered with CSM to form an ad­vi­sory board have been out­stand­ing and con­tinue to be agree­able in de­vel­op­ing more av­enues to fur­ther en­lighten our stu­dents in their field of cy­ber­se­cu­rity. … One prime ex­am­ple is Brian Seel­ing, the man­ag­ing part­ner of Peer­less Tech So­lu­tions, who is also a CSM alum who re­turned to part­ner with us to con­tinue strength­en­ing our mis­sion,” Edwards said.

“An in­tern­ship or co-op agree­ment is an ideal way for a col­lege stu­dent to gain work ex­pe­ri­ence in a real-world en­vi­ron­ment, build their re­sume as well as their net­work of con­tacts and ref­er­ences and try out their ca­reer choice,” said Lisa War­ren, CSM as­so­ciate di­rec­tor of ca­reer ser­vices.

Ca­reer coun­selors at each CSM cam­pus serve as a point of con­tact for re­gional em­ploy­ers seek­ing in­terns. “We are very in­volved in help­ing stu­dents pre­pare for and lo­cate in­tern­ships in their field,” War­ren said. “We will be host­ing a stu­dent In­tern­ship Fair in Novem­ber, giv­ing stu­dents and em­ploy­ers the op­por­tu­nity to meet face-to-face for an ini­tial in­ter­view.”

For more about CSM’s math­e­mat­ics, physics and en­gi­neer­ing pro­grams, visit www.csmd. edu/pro­grams-cour­ses/ credit/aca­demic-di­vi­sions/mth/. To re­quest in­for­ma­tion about in­tern­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties, con­tact CSM ca­reer ser­vices at Ca­reerSer­vices@csmd.edu or visit www.csmd.edu/stu­dent-ser­vices/ad­vis­ing/ ca­reer-ser­vices/.


Univer­sity of Mary­land UAS Test Site Di­rec­tor Matt Scassero, left, CSM As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor By­ron Brez­ina, CSM stu­dents Kristina Babin­ski and Ed­ward Gesser III, and UMd. UAS Test Site Di­rec­tor of Op­er­a­tions Tony Puc­cia­rella gather af­ter the sum­mer...

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