David Gerrish, an undergraduate physics major at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), will be the first SMCM student to undertake a summer internship at the new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site located at the St. Mary’s Airport in California, MD. Under the mentorship of Dr. Troy Townsend, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science at SMCM, David will be using Computer Aided Design (CAD) to build 3-D printed unmanned aircraft and test their performance at the University of Maryland UAS Test Site. This full-time 11-week internship is traditionally awarded to students attending the University of Maryland, College Park Engineering Program or the College of Southern Maryland Engineering or Computer Science Programs.
According to the UAS website, “UAS Test Site summer internships give students an opportunity to work hands-on with researchers and staff on the modeling, design, analysis, simulation, assembly, and experimentation of UAS. As members of the test site team, summer interns work full-time from offices in California, MD and … [conclude the internship] with a briefing to advisors and UAS Test Site staff on project outcomes. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site at the University of Maryland stands at the forefront of UAS rulemaking, commercialization, and national airspace integration. Formed in 2014, Test Site experts leverage their approximately 150 years of combined experience in military and civilian aviation, engineering, and project management to accelerate the safe, responsible application of UAS in public and private industries.”
St. Mary’s College of Maryland is Maryland’s Public Honors College and is heralded as one of the nation’s top public liberal arts colleges. David’s internship award is a testament to the quality of the applied science component of the SMCM student liberal arts experience. Dr. Townsend says, “One of St. Mary’s greatest values is student research. Every student is required to complete a senior capstone project to culminate their interdisciplinary studies, and I have a team of students who start in lab with directed research in their first two years of college. The applied nature of our research has initiated partnerships with the Navy and commercial partners, where our undergraduate students are conducting PhD level research. Projects like David’s are super cool and could lead to exciting opportunities with new discoveries in technology.”