Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Starek Named to Nationally-renowned Committee

Published: April 13, 2017

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Starek Named to Nationally-renowned Committee

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s efforts in unmanned flight in maritime airspace are highlighted via an appointment to a highly respected national organization with international influence. Dr. Michael Starek, Assistant Professor of Geospatial Surveying Engineering and Geographic Information Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has been appointed to the Scientific Committee of Oceanographic Aircraft Research (SCOAR). This body, established in 2004, provides advice and recommendations to national oceanographic aircraft facility managers and supports federal entities on various aspects of operating manned and unmanned crafts such as helicopters and drones in maritime airspace. Representing various disciplines related to oceanography, SCOAR is part of the larger University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), which entails 58 member institutions, including A&M-Corpus Christi, that operate seagoing vessels and facilities while maintaining academic programs in marine science.  

“It is an honor for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to be at the table making recommendations on how to best use aircraft, and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in particular, in oceanographic studies,” said Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for the Division of Research, Commercialization and Outreach. “Dr. Starek, an expert on the use of UAS to study coastal environments, will represent us and the marine science community well.”

Starek’s expertise at the intersection of geospatial computing, civil engineering, unmanned aerial systems and research into coastal-environmental problems makes him the ideal fit for this two-year position. As a guest invited to speak at the yearly SCOAR meeting in June, 2016, Starek addressed ongoing activities related to unmanned drones for coastal reconnaissance, projects operating under the auspices of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation and the College of Science and Engineering.

“By serving on SCOAR, it will connect me with leading researchers and institutions in the use of aircraft for coastal and marine sensing,” said Starek. “My primary emphasis will be to provide guidance on the integration of UAS into their scientific missions. Given TAMU-CC’s growing reputation in UAS and a well-recognized coastal and marine science program, this opportunity should provide excellent collaborative synergism for research and development.”