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To prepare students for rewarding careers, Harrisburg University’s Center for Applied Environmental and Geospatial Technology provides undergraduates with hands-on experience on a multitude of projects involving concepts and technology they will harness in the workplace.

During the past year, the center has employed 14 undergraduate students majoring in HU’s Geospatial Technology, Environmental Science and Sustainability, and Advanced Manufacturing Bachelor of Science degree programs. These students were critical in the completion of a variety of projects, including the development of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) training course in 2021.

Supported by HU’s Presidential Research Grant Program, students, staff, and Professors Albert Sarvis, Dr. Michael Meyer, Center Manager Craig Lewis, and Geospatial Technician Charles Shearrow collaborated to design the FAA Part 107 (commercial drone license exam) Prep Course as a “train-the-trainer’ style class high school instructors completed in August of 2021. Teachers from three school districts took the preparatory course that stands out among already existing FAA Part 107 exam prep courses.

While many other exam prep courses already exist, what sets HU’s apart is the “train-the-trainer” style of the course that allows high school instructors to take the curriculum back to their classrooms to teach to their students.

And, in addition to including the basics that are required to pass the Part 107 Exam, the course provides other useful information required to launch a meaningful career in the field of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).

The bulk of the exam content was prepared by center students and staff in modules that can be taught in online and in-person formats. And the project was so successful, that it paved the way for a FAA Workforce Development Grant of $135,000 to educate the next generation of pilots and other aviation professionals.

Professor Sarvis noted that the benefits of these courses are designed to grow exponentially. Plans call for more teachers to take the course to obtain their FAA Part 107 Certification. From those teachers, assuming a class size of 10 high school students, 200 more individual high school students would be able to obtain the same credentials and valuable knowledge to jump-start a career in the UAS, and potentially even manned, aviation industry.

Additionally, offerings to future participants are going to increase the exposure to a growing aerospace technology. All Participants taking the course will be provided everything required to be successful, including supplies and equipment, to seamlessly implement this offering in their own classrooms.

“Through this Workforce Development Grant, our aim is to design and administer a course that will allow students from all backgrounds the ability to begin their journey to a career using unmanned aerial systems,” Professor Sarvis said.

For more information about HU’s Center for Applied Environmental and Geospatial Technology, visit this link. To learn about the University’s Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Technology program, click here.


Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private nonprofit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields to a diverse student body. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email,

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