Derek is a PhD Student in the Mechanical Engineering program at UC Merced that is advised by Dr. YangQuan Chen. Derek's research is focused on the use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), both multirotors and fixed wing aircrafts, as scientific data instruments to solve search and localization related issues of fugitive methane which can impact the environment and public safety. He is interested in the use of sUAS swarms, fractional calculus and exploring how to make collective systems such as swarms more adaptive for these search problems. Derek started his interest in sUAS through the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) helping to pioneer UC Merced's first two appearances in the AIAA Design Build Fly event. He is also a lab manager for Mechatronics, Embedded Systems, and Automation (MESA) Lab.