Vaughn College Faculty and students met with industry professionals for Vaughn’s first Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Composites Symposium on Friday, February 19. The symposium was an opportunity for professionals from the industries Vaughn serves to learn about new advances in technology and how the industries can pair with educators to identify the skills that students will need once they enter the workforce.

After a welcome from Vaughn College President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, the day’s presentations began with Leonard Poveromo, executive director of the Composite Prototyping Center (CPC); a facility in Plainview, Long Island that allows organizations to design, prototype and test new innovations under one roof.  CPC has assisted professionals in fields ranging from aerospace, automotive and energy to infrastructure, transportation and consumer goods. His presentation explained CPC’s function in the industry and the importance of covering the needs of the industry in an educational setting. Poveromo gave his presentation with the help of Max Gross, director of engineering technology development at CPC.

A presentation on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), including drones, followed CPC’s panel. Dr. Maxine Lubner, chair of the management department at Vaughn moderated the UAS presentation, which covered drone regulations, expectations for the industry and how educational programs can help move the use of UASs further in the future. Among the panelists was Loretta Alkalay, an adjunct professor at Vaughn and former legal counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration. Alkalay teaches a drone law course at Vaughn; the only course of its type in the country.

The day’s presentation closed with a panel discussion on STEM education and the role it plays in students’ success in the workforce. The panel also discussed how industry professionals can provide input that would help adjust the education process and give students the most up-to-date information on the industry’s needs.

“Events like these are important, because they bridge the gap between education and industry,” said DeVivo. “By having an open discussion about how the industry is evolving, we as educators can make responsive changes to ensure that our students enter the workforce with the necessary education and skills they need to succeed.”

Vaughn College will continue to highlight UAS education during International Drone Day on Saturday, May 7. The event will feature competitions between more than 20 high school and college teams, who will fly their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) through an obstacle course in Vaughn’s hangar. Check vaughn.edu or internationaldroneday.com for further updates about the event.

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Vaughn College Adjunct Professor Loretta Alkalay, center, leads a panel discussion on drones at Vaughn College’s UAS and Composites Symposium on Friday, February 19.