First Students Graduate from Embry-Riddle’s Ph.D. Programs in Aviation and Engineering Physics

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The graduate with a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics conducted research into the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to protect endangered animals, and the graduate with a Ph.D. in Aviation studied aircraft accident-prevention technology for airport runways.

Jaime Rubio Hervas worked on a UAV used to deter poachers near the Galapagos Islands.

Embry-Riddle plans to launch two more Ph.D. programs, in aerospace engineering and human factors.

In a milestone for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, its first students have completed the research-based Ph.D. degree programs the university launched in 2010 – Jaime Rubio Hervas with a Ph.D. in engineering physics and Robert "Buck" Joslin with a Ph.D. in aviation.

During his studies at Embry-Riddle, Rubio Hervas helped develop an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) used in the Galapagos Islands to deter poachers from mutilating sharks for shark fin soup. He also worked on a project in South Africa employing UAVs to monitor great white sharks. His productive research resulted in 20 peer-reviewed papers.

Rubio Hervas completed his dissertation research under the supervision of his Ph.D. advisor Dr. Mahmut Reyhanoglu, a Professor of Engineering Physics at Embry-Riddle. Joined by Dr. Reyhanoglu, Rubio Hervas will next work as a Research Fellow on a project titled “Automatic Landing System for UAVs” at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Joslin, the university's first Ph.D. in aviation graduate from its premier College of Aviation Ph.D. program, finished his dissertation research under the supervision of Dr. Alan Stolzer, Professor and Chair of the Doctoral Studies Department.

Joslin is a chief scientist with the Federal Aviation Administration who used his studies at Embry-Riddle to evaluate technology for preventing aircraft accidents on runways. He will take his findings – that even the latest technology alerting pilots when two planes are on the same runway could stand improvement – back to the FAA to influence the development of future technology.

In an additional role, Joslin will soon become an adjunct professor for one of Embry-Riddle's worldwide campuses in California and may teach full time after retiring from the FAA.

Nearly 60 other students are currently enrolled in the aviation and engineering physics Ph.D. programs at Embry-Riddle. More students will come on board when the university launches a Ph.D. program in aerospace engineering this August and a Ph.D. program in human factors in 2014.

“The high level of research being conducted by our Ph.D. students will attract companies to our new Aerospace Research & Technology Park to take advantage of their expertise – and vice versa,” said Dr. Richard Heist, chief academic officer at the university’s Daytona Beach Campus. “The mutual benefit will only increase over time.”

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 40 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business and Engineering. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., and through the Worldwide Campus with more than 150 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at

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Mary Van Buren, Asst. Dir., Internal Communications
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