The Federal Aviation Administration announced in August that the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) had been selected to join its cohort of schools in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems-Collegiate Training Initiative (UAS-CTI).
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to join the FAA UAS-CTI and have UNCW’s myriad past and ongoing UAS efforts both in teaching and research formally recognized with this designation,” said Dr. Narcisa Pricope, who will lead the initiative. “This designation allows us to truly embrace UAS applications and development across the curriculum beyond the departments naturally relying on them, and further strengthen our status as a leader in UAS technologies across the state.”
The program recognizes institutions that prepare students for careers in unmanned aircraft systems; (UAS) commonly referred to as drones. In order to qualify for the initiative, schools must offer a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in UAS or a degree with a minor, concentration, or certificate in UAS. Schools must provide a curriculum covering various aspects of UAS training, including hands-on flight practice, maintenance, uses, applications, privacy concerns, safety, and federal policies concerning unmanned aerial systems.
“The long-term goal is to create cohorts of well-rounded, highly-trained students who have applied research and field experience and who can outcompete their peers on the job and in graduate career markets,” Dr. Pricope added. In addition to leading the FAA UAS-CTI efforts, Pricope, an expert in land change science, water resources, and climate change, is also the principal investigator on two newly funded projects: “Green Infrastructure Solutions to Support Flood Mitigation and Adaptation in Coastal Low-Lying Disadvantaged Communities” and “Demonstrating the Capabilities of Topobathymetric LiDAR Mapping in Support of DOT Project Planning and Implementation.”