Discover Your Island

Cody Torno

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Cody Torno

Ready for Take-Off

The Island University’s unique designation as one of six FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) test sites for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is providing research opportunities for Cody Torno that he would encounter nowhere else.

Torno is earning his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

“This is not your typical mechanical engineering program. We are much more than that,” said Torno. “The Island University gave me the opportunity to combine aspects of aerospace science and mechanical engineering into my course work, which will lead me to job opportunities and specialized education in unmanned aircraft systems.”

Torno is currently working as a McNair Research Scholar in the Unmanned Systems Laboratory, which focuses on the use and improvement of the low-level autopilot capabilities of a remotely-operated aircraft.

“I'm learning how to utilize mechanical engineering principles from my degree in tandem with the control software needed to understand and improve flight characteristics,” he said.

Creating autopilot software and testing it in the lab before the plane ever takes off is just one of Torno’s many hands-on research projects.

He is currently hard at work on two other research projects around campus including renewable research and NASA Lunabotics. Torno, who wants to keep his research options open, is also using his first degree in biomedical science from the Island University by conducting renewable research. Collaborating with Dr. L.D. Chen and Dr. Paul Zimba, he is working to create a microbial fuel cell, using green algae to produce zero emission energy. He also has participated in NASA’s International Lunabotics Mining Competition for the last two years.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be building unmanned aircraft, robots for NASA, or even working on renewable resources,” said Torno. “I want to build the things that can revolutionize industries – that is why I chose engineering.”