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Two Palomar College students invited to National Technology Conference

Palomar College drone technology student Mikela Garza was among approximately 50 students nationwide selected to exhibit their work during a NSF-sponsored conference next month.

Mikela Garza and Gerardo Perez, who are both pursuing degrees in Drone Technology at Palomar College, have been invited to attend the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) summit hosted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in Washington, D.C.

Known as the ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference, the event on Oct. 24-26 will give Garza and Perez an opportunity to share their work with other students from around the country while learning about the latest in careers and development from the nation’s foremost innovators. The theme of the conference is “Leading the Development of America’s Technological Workforce.”

“The fact that Mikela and Gerardo are among a small group of students selected to present at this conference is a significant accomplishment, and it also reflects the country’s curiosity and excitement around the emerging field of drone technology,” said Wing Cheung, a Geographic Information Science (GIS) professor at Palomar and co-founder of the college’s drone program.

Garza and Perez have participated in Palomar’s pioneering Drone Technology program for several semesters, completing the drone digital imaging courses GCIP 168 and 268, and are currently studying with the college’s Geography department. They recently gathered and processed drone images of Palomar College, and their results will be presented at the ATE conference to demonstrate how drone data can be used for mapping, vegetation analysis, and 3-D modeling, according to Cheung.

In Washington, they will also have an opportunity to talk to members of the National Science Board (NSB), which serves as an apolitical advisor to the President and Congress on STEM policy issues.

The conference will bring together approximately 850 people to focus on the critical issues related to advanced technological education. Key people working on ATE projects across the country participate in the conference. Conference attendees represent community colleges, business and industry, secondary school systems, and four-year colleges covering projects in a wide variety of areas such as: information technology, engineering technology, micro- and nanotechnologies, chemical technology, biotechnology, and others.

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