A team of Fullerton College students earned a prestigious spot in the top 10 teams who competed in the nationwide Minority University Research & Education Project Innovation (MUREP) and Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC) at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Students Patrick Babb II, Ali Malik, and Chloe A. Salas, under the advisement of Professor Gary Graves, excelled in the entrepreneurship challenge designed to develop ideas for commercialization NASA technologies.
The FC team joined nearly 50 students and professors from five states and one U.S. territory for the inaugural competition. MITTIC is a spinoff challenge, established by participating NASA centers and programs, to develop ideas for commercialization by seeking concept papers from multi-disciplinary students enrolled at a minority-serving institution.
“We were really very excited when we found out that we were picked as one of the top 10 teams to go to NASA Johnson Space Center. There were literally hundreds of applicants, and we made it,” Babb II said.
To qualify for competition, their team nicknamed DroneOut developed a proposal to commercialize one of NASA’s intellectual properties from a provided list. Having put the concept on paper and after undergoing a competitive process, the team of DroneOut was successful in landing a spot in top 10 which entitled them for a journey to the popular NASA Johnson Space Center earlier this spring for the immersive on-site experience.
The Fullerton College team’s proposal adapted NASA’s unified threat management (UTM) technology. Their proposal offers a new use of providing self-regulation to the emerging drone industry in hopes to preventing unauthorized flights in dangerous areas such as near airports or wildfires in California.
“We knew that if you can somehow successfully connect drone manufacturers to a new network frequency, we could help save lives by allowing safety personnel to do their jobs without an interface. That was a real motivating factor for us,” said student Ali Malik.
“I feel really privileged that we got to see first-hand equipment, development processes and meet NASA engineers who were working on projects that send equipment to the International Space Station. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget,” said student Chloe A. Salas.
Professor Graves added, “This was an awesome experience for the students. With over 120 different areas being taught on the Fullerton College campus, NASA has the room and invites students from ALL our disciplines to participate. This is a great initiative and an even greater opportunity for today’s students.”
The on-site competition experience helps to expose interested students to NASA’s research facilities and laboratories, start-up companies, and the opportunity to discuss further development with the NASA Technology Transfer Office.
Through the MITTIC activity, NASA is educating and engaging entrepreneurs, tomorrow’s industry leaders, about the benefits of using federal government research and development assets in commercial applications.
Get more information about MITTIC at https://go.nasa.gov/NASAMITTIC
Get more information about NASA’s STEM Engagement activities at https://www.nasa.gov/education