College Hosts Mayor Newton in Monthly Lecture Series

Mayor Rett Newton with droneMorehead City, N.C. (February 15, 2021) – Carteret Community College is hosting its monthly lecture series on Feb. 26, 2021, at 12 p.m. Beaufort Mayor and Duke University PhD candidate Rett Newton will present information about his research: Using Robotics to Keep Coastal Waters Clean.  The presentation is open to the public via Zoom. To access the Zoom link, visit

Many eastern NC coastal ecosystems are increasingly stressed by toxins like marine debris, storm water, black water/grey water, failed septic systems, agricultural run-off, and over-development. This presentation will highlight how autonomous aircraft and autonomous vessels are being used to measure toxins in these ecosystems and how the products from these emerging technologies can be used to drive policy.

“Carteret Community College is excited to host Mayor Newton as part of our monthly lecture series. The water surrounding Carteret County is essential to the health of the County’s economy,” stated Dr. Tracy Mancini, President of Carteret Community College. “This presentation shows how important drone technology is to help keep the Crystal Coast’s water clean and safe.”

Newton retired as a Colonel from the US Air Force in 2011 following a 28-year career that included leading-edge engineering, F-15E Strike Eagle leadership, and assignments as an Arabic foreign area officer. He has continued his passion for engineering by designing, building, operating, and maintaining autonomous aircraft, terrestrial vehicles, and surface vessel systems with autopilot, datalink, and advanced payloads. Newton joined the Duke University Marine Laboratory team in June 2015, serving as the initial cadre for the Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing (MaRRS) Lab. He is also a 5th-year Duke University PhD candidate studying Marine Science and Conservation, and he serves as the Chair of the NC Sea Grant Advisory Board. In 2017, Newton was elected as the Mayor of the Town of Beaufort, NC, and he is currently serving his second term.

To sign up for the lecture visit