The first annual Discovery Day, held under the auspices of the IGNITE Undergraduate Research Program, was a large success with many student presenters on April 3. The day began with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Alumnus Michael Durant (a Blackhawk Down survivor) delivering a speech that was sponsored by the ERAU Worldwide Campus in the Davis Learning Center (DLC). The speech, which was videotaped and then broadcast worldwide, was entitled “Leadership and Change” and Durant related many of his experiences during his capture throughout the speech.

Meanwhile, in the Hunt Student Union, various student groups presented their research findings to visitors, faculty members, and industry representatives. There were 13 student presentations in total and 24 student research groups that had posters submitted to be shown. Representatives from the group were standing by during a “poster session” in order to answer questions about their research. Among the presentations were topics such as robotics, cryptography, and digital signal processing. These presentations also included various demonstrations of hardware and software designs. One example is the software for “Autonomous Target Recognition for Unmanned Aerial Systems” which was designed by Steven Rayleigh, Donnie Dotchkov, Matthew Lyon, Devin Jensen, Alex Goodman, and Samuel Richerd.

After the Student Union presentations were over, a group from the Daytona Beach campus broadcast their presentation on a “Head’s Up Display for Wing Suit Helmet” to the Davis Learning Center, after which a student group mentored by Dr. Joe Yoel presented on “Cooperative Control of Ground and Aerial Robots for Tactical Missions.” The Keynote Address was delivered at the Daytona Beach campus and broadcast worldwide. Dr. Damiel Mote, former President of the University of Maryland, gave an address titled “Innovation” which was very well received. It was appropriate to the spirit of IGNITE when combined with a student body that has very few scientists, but many engineers.

The first annual Research Awards Reception was then held, where students and faculty were honored for their research work. This was a successful beginning to an initiative aimed at improving the level of quality at ERAU, and it will continue into future years.

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