palomar college students
Quin Smith, left, and Diana Perez were chosen to attend the Advanced Technological Education conference. Not pictured is Palomar’s third student delegate, Isaac Hernandez.

Three students from Palomar College will attend a national technology summit in Washington, D.C. from Oct. 23-25, as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant program to promote educational opportunity for students interested in technology.

The students who will attend from Palomar are Isaac Hernandez and Diana Perez, both from the college’s Drone Technology program, and Quin Smith, who is in his last semester in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program here. All three received scholarships from the NSF and American Association of Community Colleges to cover transportation, lodging and conference fees.

“It’s really exciting to have our students share their work and their experience—not only with other students from around the country, but also with the faculty and NSF program officers who will be at the conference,” said Wing Cheung, a Geography Professor at Palomar who helped launch the Drone Technology program here.

This is the second year in a row that students from Palomar have been invited to attend the Principal Investigators’ Conference of the NSF’s Advanced Technical Education (ATE) program.

While attending the conference, Hernandez, Perez and Smith will have the opportunity to share their work with other students from around the country while learning about the latest in careers and development from the nation’s foremost innovators. The theme of the conference is “Innovation and Impact.”

“This is going to help me learn how to break into the field and see what I want to do because we’ll get to see all kinds of applications (for drone technology) we wouldn’t have even thought about,” said Perez. “I feel very honored, for sure. We want to give back and represent Palomar well.”

“I’m really looking forward to networking with industry professionals and other students with similar career goals,” added Smith.

Cheung said last year’s attendees, Mikayla Garza and Gerardo Perez, have gone on to further success at Palomar and beyond. Garza now assists in the Drone Technology program at Palomar while finishing her associate’s degree, while Gerardo Perez recently completed an internship with a local company that Cheung said was “very happy” with Perez’s work and has opened more internships to Palomar students as a result.

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