The New Frontier: Drones/Unmanned Aircraft in Higher Education and Academic Research

09/15/2021 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm CST Virtual
  • Corporate
  • Early Stage
  • Growth Stage
Event Start Date:
June 17, 2024
Event End Date:
June 17, 2024
Event Venue:

The $1T federal infrastructure bill promises to massively boost national investment in construction, raising the tide for related businesses and technologies, such as drones or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). In addition, the federal government is rapidly modernizing FAA regulations and making investments to foster this necessary UAS ecosystem. UAS are revolutionizing the speed, capabilities, and safety across a vast number of industries building this new frontier. 

It is critical that we have continued government support, a pipeline of qualified professionals and the technological research necessary to meet this increasing demand.

Universities and community colleges play a critical role and are creating new UAS educational and research programs to rise to the occasion. Our panel of higher education leaders discuss their institutions’ strategies and initiatives and common challenges and opportunities. 

Presented By:

Register Below

Key Takeaways:

  • How the explosion of the UAS will be of strategic and economic importance to the nation 
  • What the anticipated rise in federal infrastructure spending means to the growth of UAS 
  • How higher education and academic research institutions are innovating new programs to expand the UAS workforce and advance UAS systems and technology
  • The challenges and opportunities for UAS going forward


Moderator: Jennifer Knox, M.S. Ed. As an award-winning Learning Professional, Jennifer’s industry experience spans across aerospace, software, travel, fitness, and education. A highly motivated leader, she has partnered cross-functionally with leaders at all levels to design and develop courses. Her modern approaches to learning and training, result in employee satisfaction and improved on-the-job performance. She has designed regulatory curriculum certifying people to work with an unmanned air vehicle. She is also a former Federal Officer.

Aniruddha (Rudy) Banerjee, Associate Professor of Geography, Indiana University-IUPUI He is currently working with a Los Angeles-based airport intelligence award-winning firm, Prodigiq, on matters related to UAVs, drones, and GIS. With IP protection, patent filing, etc. provided by Indiana University, Rudy is working on a comprehensive” Drone Operating System”. Patents Pending. Rudy has applied combinatorial optimization methods using both integer programming and graph-theoretic approaches, Bayesian simulation of hierarchical networks, and stochastic optimizations to analyze health information and develop space-time models of population health. Recently, he was invited to present his National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) research at the School of Medicine, Harvard University.

Robert D. Gerlach Executive Director of the Office of Tech Transfer and Commercialization, Wichita State University. He is the Executive Director of Tech Transfer and Commercialization at Wichita State University.  He is tasked with protecting the University’s intellectual property, facilitating technology development, and transferring innovation from University to the marketplace, where its true potential can be realized by customers and end-users.  Rob believes that building relationships with industry partners is a key component to successfully transferring technology into the commercial marketplace.

Kristy Kiernan, Assistant Professor, College of Aeronautics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Kristy is currently engaged in research with the FAA’s ASSURE (Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research) Center of Excellence on several projects involving safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace. In addition, she is the UAS committee co-chair for the University Aviation Association. She is co-author of the UAS Pilots Code and was a steering committee member for the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Trusted Operator Program (TOP). She led ERAU’s Master of Science in Unmanned Systems program from 2017-2019, during which time Embry-Riddle became the first university to offer TOP training. She holds a remote pilot certificate and an airline transport rating.