Research engineering and education facility helps meet military needs
Recently named one of the country's top military-friendly schools by Military Advanced Education magazine, the University of West Florida offers innovative educational opportunities to help meet the military's needs. In addition to the UWF Emerald Coast Campus centers at Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, UWF engineering students also have the opportunity to utilize the University of Florida Research Engineering and Education Facility (REEF), located adjacent to Eglin in Shalimar.
Recently named one of the country’s top military-friendly schools by Military Advanced Education magazine, the University of West Florida offers innovative educational opportunities to help meet the military’s needs. In addition to the UWF Emerald Coast Campus centers at Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, UWF engineering students also have the opportunity to utilize the University of Florida Research Engineering and Education Facility (REEF), located adjacent to Eglin in Shalimar.
“The UWF engineering program supports the greater Eglin Air Force Base community and has the ability to respond to Air Force research needs” said Thomas Gilbar, program coordinator, Electrical and Computer Engineering, UWF Emerald Coast Campus, REEF.
Made possible through a partnership between UWF’s engineering program and UF, UWF faculty and students are able to immerse themselves in an engineering and research environment and work collaboratively with UF faculty and students on research projects. Once UWF students complete the undergraduate program, eligible students can continue their education at the graduate level with UF at the REEF.
“From my perspective, inviting UWF to share the UF-REEF facility has been a fabulous success,” said John “Row” Rogacki, professor and director, UF-REEF. “Because of our partnership, we’ve been able to engage a number of very talented UWF engineering students in our cutting edge research and they’ve performed admirably. By providing hands-on experience on real research projects, we hope to motivate students to pursue graduate education and a career in research.”
The REEF serves as an ideal environment to conduct technical research critical to the advancement of national defense and security capabilities. Students join colleagues from both military and civilian occupations under the guidance of a world-class cadre of industrial experts and academicians in areas such as micro aerial vehicles; vision-based guidance; navigation and control; biologically inspired flight; computational mechanics; energetics; aerodynamics; data-mining; optimization; and navigation in GPS-deprived environments.
“Students gain valuable experience while working with world-class researchers from UWF/UF and the Air Force on a wide range of relevant and challenging research topics,” said Gilbar.
With more access to graduate research and state-of-the-art facilities, UWF engineering students have numerous opportunities to supplement their education.
“We have several military students currently enrolled in our programs at REEF,” said Gilbar. “Some of them are part of various military programs, such as the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Officer Program and Air Force ROTC Enlisted Commissioning Program, while others are military personnel/retirees (or their dependents) who are just benefitting from our location.”
John Burleson is one UWF engineering student who is taking advantage of the REEF Center. “The engineering program at the REEF makes it convenient for military members to work towards a degree by offering classes in the evening,” said Burleson. “It employs dedicated instructors who are willing to put in the extra time to ensure all students have the proper understanding of the material to succeed.”
For more information on the REEF Center, visit reef.ufl.edu. To learn more about UWF’s engineering program, visit uwf.edu/ece or contact Gilbar at (850) 833.9184 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about UWF being a military-friendly school, visit uwf.edu/uwfMain/press/annualreleases/2009/Feb09.cfm?emailID=18974.
Written by Lauren Smith, University Marketing Communications