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REU Site on UAV Technologies: Impact of the Program on Participants’ Career in Industry or Graduate School

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors

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Subodh Bhandari California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


Erika Dejonghe

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Erika DeJonghe, Ph.D. serves as professor and chair in the Department of Psychology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Michigan State University in 2007.

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Amar Raheja

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Fang Tang


Zekeriya Aliyazicioglu California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Dr. Zekeriya Aliyazicioglu received his MS and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University-Dallas, TX. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. His research interests include Digital Signal Processing and Digital Image Processing applications, Communication Systems, and Robotics. He is an author of numerous research papers and presentations in these areas. He has worked on undergraduate education projects focused on increasing student learning, academic success, and retention in critical freshman and sophomore level gateway STEM courses. Dr. Aliyazicioglu is a member of the IEEE, Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, and ASEE.

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This paper discusses the impact of the REU Program at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) on the success of Participants in industry or graduate school. The REU Program titled “Research Experience for Undergraduates in UAV Technologies” has been funded by the NSF’s EEC Program. The main goal of the Program is to increase undergraduate students’ participation and interest in research on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) technologies. Undergraduate students from 2- and 4-year institutions have been involved in a multidisciplinary research projects at Cal Poly Pomona. The REU Site has so far hosted a total of 43 diverse group of students for 8-10 weeks of summer research since 2017, with the projects focusing on research on the Dynamics and Control of UAVs, Collision Detection and Avoidance System for UAVs, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Navigation in GPS-Denied Environments, application of UAVs for search and rescue missions, object detection and tracking, and Flight Test experience. Another goal of the Program is to attract students from community colleges to STEM programs at 4-year institutions and encourage the participants to pursue their studies for graduate degrees.

The paper discusses the impact of the Program on the success of the Participants in industry or graduate schools. The Program has been tracking the past Participants. Most of the participants are now pursuing their educational or professional career in the area of UAVs and other related areas. The program has also been successful in motivating the Participants to graduate degrees in STEM disciplines. Some of the participants are already pursuing their studies for Master’s or PhD degrees or are planning to do so. Information about the Participants’ current employment or graduate school enrollment and relevance of current work to aerospace and/or UAV technology was gathered using a follow-up survey that also included open-ended qualitative feedback from the Participants about the long-term impact of the Program on their career. The paper presents the results obtained from the data collected from the Participants of the first three cohorts of the Program who were hosted during summers of 2017 to 2019. The paper focuses on the impact of the Program on the Participants’ career choice, career advancement, and motivation for graduate degrees. The paper also presents written feedback/comments from the Participants.

Bhandari, S., & Dejonghe, E., & Raheja, A., & Tang, F., & Aliyazicioglu, Z. (2022, August), REU Site on UAV Technologies: Impact of the Program on Participants’ Career in Industry or Graduate School Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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