USC-STC is honoured to support Canada’s rising stars contributing to the future of Unmanned Vehicle Systems 

Mark_Cuss_ImageIn December 2006, a young, gifted unmanned vehicles engineer working with CDL Systems named Mark Cuss passed away after a courageous 22-month battle with cancer.

At the time of his death, Mark was only 27 years old. However, during his short time Mark made significant accomplishments both in his personal life and in his professional life.

Mark grew up near Spy Hill, Saskatchewan and spent his early years growing up on a farm, developing the exemplary work ethic that he carried through his life. Mark was very dedicated to his family, helping them farm 1200 acres, calving 100 head of purebred Simmental cows and feeding feedlot cattle. Indeed, in later years, he even took some vacations from his job as an engineer to go back home to help his parents with the harvest. Even in his early years, Mark showed a strong interest in finding out how machinery worked, anticipating his later career as an engineer.

Mark applied the same work ethic he demonstrated on the farm to his studies, especially in the math and science courses for which he had a particular aptitude. His hard work resulted in his winning a placement in the Shad Valley program in 1996; Mark received a scholarship to the DeVry Technical Institute in Calgary in 1997.

Mark thrived at DeVry, quickly becoming top of his class and it was here that he first became interested in the development of unmanned vehicles.

For his final project, Mark joined a team that developed, tested and demonstrated a fuzzy logic control system for an unmanned tractor. Combined with rudimentary obstacle avoidance, his project won the top prize in the 2000 DeVry Project Expo which was subsequently spun off into a commercialized product.

After graduation, Mark used his good grades, his obvious can-do attitude and his experience with unmanned vehicles to obtain a position as a junior engineer with CDL Systems.

In a short time, it was clear that he was talented well beyond the norm for someone so junior. Mark became a key member of the CDL Systems team, taking over and overhauling the corporate network, as well as working on the software development for and heading up much of the hardware integration for the Remote Viewing Terminal (RVT), a receive-only control station that allows soldiers to direct access to the video of a UAV being flown in their area. This system has been fielded in Iraq and accumulated many thousands of combat hours, safeguarding soldiers and civilians by ensuring that accurate information is received in a timely manner.

In 2005, Mark was diagnosed with Stage 3 testicular cancer. Despite a long and hard fight, Mark passed away on December 3rd, 2006.

In response to the untimely death of this talented young engineer, a scholarship fund has been established in his name, administered by Unmanned Systems Canada in his memory.

The Scholarship

Mark Cuss

The Mark Cuss Memorial Scholarship has been set up to:

  • Honour the memory of Mark Cuss by encouraging the interest of those in the field of unmanned vehicles and furthering future innovations.
  • Help those interested in unmanned vehicle technology reduce the financial burden of post-secondary education;
  • Encourage and facilitate students to develop and communicate concepts related to unmanned systems technology.

The USC-STC Mark Cuss Memorial Scholarship is open to undergraduate studies at any recognized Canadian University or DeVry Institute located within Canada. The scholarship consists of a $2500 cash payment awarded annually to student winners of an essay writing competition upon proof of enrolment in a qualifying institution.

The tenure of this scholarship is for a period of one year. Should the scholarship not be able to be applied towards tuition during the year in which it was awarded, then an application for deferment may be made. It will be the decision of USC-STC’s Awards and Honours Committee to allow deferment or to award the scholarship to the second place applicant.

Scholarship Application Requirements

To qualify as an applicant, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Be registered full-time in a post-secondary Canadian institution.
  • Provide proof of academic accomplishment in the previous school year by maintaining a minimum of 75% average (or 85% average if the previous year’s enrolment was in a high school or secondary school).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the unmanned systems industry by writing an essay describing their ‘vision for the unmanned systems industry’ (For details, see below).

To apply for the scholarship, applicants must:

  • Submit the USC-STC Scholarship Application Form to Unmanned Systems Canada/Systèms Télécommandés Canada by the application deadline announced each year.
  • Submit transcripts of the previous school year from a recognized Canadian high school/secondary school, university or college located within Canada;
  • Submit proof of enrolment in a recognized Canadian University, college within Canada;
  • Submit an essay on any unmanned systems-related topic outlining their ‘Vision for the unmanned systems industry’. Essays have no minimum length, but a cannot exceed 6 pages.

Student Awards Selection Process 

All applications will be reviewed and considered by USC’s Awards Scholarship Committee appointed by the Board of Unmanned Systems Canada. The evaluation process shall treat academic marks, the esssay/technical paper and job performance (if applicable) with equal weight to determine the successful applicant.

To apply for the Mark Cuss Memorial Scholarship, please
fill in the application form linked below. 

Please be sure to supply all supporting documents by emailing: Unmanned Systems Canada/Systèms Télécommandés Awards and Honours Committee at: [email protected]

The USC-STC Mark Cuss Memorial Scholarship winner will be informed within one month, and will receive:

  • A $2500 cash contribution
  • A discounted rate to attend the annual Unmanned Systems Canada Conference and Trade Show to receive their Award
  • A profile in the USC-STC National Industry directory

Application Form

Note: Important Dates for 2020

  • The deadline for students to apply is September 30th, 2020.
  • The 18th Annual Unmanned Canada 2020 Conference and Trade Show is being held virtually online and remotely this year, with all events taking place the week of November 2-6, 2020.
  • All applicants to the Mark Cuss Scholarship will receive the discounted student rate.