Danielle

About Danielle

Senior

Communication w/ minors in business & space studies

Hometown: College Park, Maryland Campus Involvement: Sigma, Sigma, Sigma and Caribbean Students' Association Internship: Communication intern with Space Tango, Lexington, Kentucky

Goodbye, Kentucky and Hello, Florida!

In two weeks, my Spring internship with Space Tango is over. This was sad news for me. I’ve grown attached the this company and their mission. Like I said though, I was sad. Space Tango has asked me to join them AGAIN in the Summer. Now I can’t stop smiling.

I’ll be working part-time in Florida for Space Tango continuing on as their Communication and Marketing intern, but with a  perk – launches! As the company continues to grow, they will have more customer payloads to launch from Cape Canaveral. So although I’ll be doing most of my work online, I’ll only be an hour away from the Space Coast.

I’m certainly excited about this perk, but as their intern this is extremely ideal. I’ll have more access to Florida sources. I’ll also be present for the more intensive mission preparations prior to launch. They also have a location at the Space Life Sciences Lab in Exploration Park which is a great source for new photos and media content to advance their public image as the growing entity they are.

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My time with Space Tango has been rewarding. I’ve taken a strong liking to this start-up company, and I’m excited to still be a part of their growth in (sometimes) sunny Florida!

⋆ Dani

I Began my Morning with a Little Bit of Gardening

I’m a Communication major and I hope to be a public relations specialist for the aerospace industry. Somehow though, I’ve gotten into a little bit of hydroponic gardening at Space Tango.

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Each glass cup was filled with mulch pebbles surrounding a pod of seeds. Connecting each cup a tubing system that will cycle the water from one cup to the next until it returns back to the water tank. (That’s my hand by the way, doing science things instead of writing.)

This morning the Space Tango biomedical engineer and her intern asked for a little help with a prototype hydroponic system. I had no idea how to even begin such a system, but with a little guidance I soon found myself placing pebbled mulch, seeds, and burlap. A decent amount of duct tape later and we had a fully-functioning hydroponic system. As water flowed from cup to cup, I couldn’t believe I was “just ” a Communication major. I think our positions are what we make of them, but they aren’t meant to be boundaries.

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To the right you’ll see our water tank accompanied by a small pump. Attached to the pump is one end of the tubing. After cycling through each glass cup, the final tubing flows water back into the tank to begin the process again.

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To help contain the mulch and soon-to-be plants, burlap was taped to the surface of each cup. Believe it or not, this was the hardest part for us.

I spent my time here at Space Tango on a computer working on press releases, networking, websites, and social media. Just for today, I spent it in the lab. I got to get a first-hand try of what I report. It’s just a prototype, but it’s a step in the scientific process. It was exciting to be a part of it! As a writer, it’s great to be able to try the things you only get to write about.

⋆ Dani

 

Escaping the Comfort Zone

I am skilled at writing, marketing, project management, and graphic design. I have ZERO experience in website design.  I can now say that I have experience in website design thanks to a little push from Space Tango.

What was once a daunting task has become an everyday skill I tend to. The Space Tango website didn’t correlate with their desires and needs. The overall sitemap was confusing and it didn’t reflect the simple and sleek design of their CubeLabs and other manufactured products.

Granted, I have a background in design,  but it doesn’t compare to leading websites within the aerospace industry.

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It’s not perfect, but it’s new to me and a change for them. It’s a skill I really overlooked and, quite honestly, never attempted. Now I not only have something to add to my resume, but I feel more comfortable trying different things within my field that make me more desirable in the market.

screenshot-www.spacetango.com-2017-03-29-15-16-39I had to conduct a series of interviews with employees and partners to make sure I was effectively communicating the company mission. I embedded videos and reorganized the site in its entirety. I’m most proud of how clean the design looks. We used a professional photographer at the CRS-10 launch to take photos of payloads and customers. Now we have quality content.; This makes all the difference in design.

Now I’m working on the company’s brand. This includes the logo, slogan, theme, mission statement, etc. I have some more great ideas, but I’ve decided to take on HTML coding to give me a little boost. I mean, why not?

⋆ Dani

 

The Queen City

My internship has given me a serious case of wanderlust. Lexington is new to me. It’s different from my hometown in Maryland and it’s a big change compared to Daytona Beach. I’ve taken it upon myself to truly explore the area and surrounding cities. A week ago my boyfriend visited for Spring Break, and although we indulged in all things Kentucky, we made it our mission to see as much as we could of The Queen City.

Downtown Cincinnati has several art galleries, museums, and an aquarium all close by. In two days we saw it all. The first was the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Many of their exhibits were heart-wrenching to say the least. The center not only addresses slavery and racism, but sex trafficking of all kinds throughout the world. It was difficult to walk through at times, but it was eyeopening. Their most valued exhibit right now is a slave pen from the 1800s.

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959d2dd2bcaa46d6bc69b6a92b49e947Recovered from Mason County, Kentucky, it housed slaves prior to auctions. The building was repaired and moved to the Freedom Center for display. Standing in its presence was truly haunting. The structure itself brought an eerie vibe to the room, but not as unsettling as it was to step inside. My boyfriend and I hesitantly walked inside. We were in awe. To step foot in what once housed hundreds upon hundreds of slaves, and to now be walking in and out freely, was significant.

Although it was our favorite, our visit to the Freedom Center was much more jarring than we had anticipated and decided to recover at the Cincinnati Art Museum. It was relaxing to roam among such amazing artworks. The visit was planned solely because of Undergrowth with Two Figures (1890) by Vincent Van Gogh. f6be3cfd8793427e9000661a737fa640

His artwork has always been my favorite and certainly lightened the mood after our trip to the Freedom Center. I search for him in every city and was pleased to find him in The Queen City accompanied by Georgia O’Keefe, Georges Raoualt, Arshile Gorky, and many others.60f87f4333a74c99af54c10f8c40420b

 

We planned to visit galleries and museums, but we ended up visiting a new side to ourselves. Wanderlust unexpectedly accompanies internships, and embracing that is half of the excitement.

⋆ Dani

 

 

A Little Piece of Home

I thought I would have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) this week. I’m bundled up in 20-degree weather, while my friends enjoy Spring Break and the perks of attending school in Florida. I was fortunate enough, however, to have someone bring a little bit of warmth my way.

Working at Space Tango, has been undoubtedly exciting, but sometimes I get a little homesick. This week my boyfriend, Malik, sacrificed the warm weather to spend time with me and learn more about our shared passion for the aerospace industry. Although we both miss Florida weather, he was excited to step foot in the Space Tango office.

My boyfriend Malik, and Aerospace Engineering student at ERAU, takes a picture with one of the first TangoLab facitlities.

My boyfriend Malik, an Aerospace Engineering student at ERAU, takes a picture with one of the first TangoLab facitlities.

He had an opportunity to speak with the entire team and get a walk through of our mission operations with CEO Twyman Clements. Even though it was a relatively slow day in the office, Malik was still thrilled to see firsthand what it means to work in the industry. From 3D printing to CAD, he saw everything he was studying boil down to one place.

Being away from friends and family isn’t easy, but invite someone close to you to share it with. It makes time move a little faster when you remember how unique and invaluable your opportunity is to work with a company you love.

⋆ Dani

Unforeseen Advice

I walked into the Space Tango office with my usual to-do list of intern tasks, but I didn’t know that I would be adding new goals – like starting a retirement fund.

I’m only 21 going on 22 and my mentor is 25, but she said that she’s already begun saving and there’s no reason I shouldn’t also. Before I knew it, it was the Morning Show with Ellie and I was receiving the most helpful advice since I started working at Space Tango.

Ellie, along with the occasional input from other coworkers, told me about their saving plans, credit scores, and we even talked about stocks a little. These are all things you don’t really learn unless the “right time” comes around. I just didn’t think it would be in the Space Tango office.

I’m a Communication and Marketing intern and I have 6 weeks left. I expected to gain first-hand experience on advertising, public relations, and business tactics in the aerospace industry. In the time that I have been here, I learned more than I expected. My coworkers have shown me not only the reality of the aerospace industry, but the reality of being an adult. The Space Tango team takes the time to make sure I’m adjusting well to a new environment because they understand that at one point this was all new to them as well.

CEO Twyman Clements takes a break from reorganizing the office to show me microscope glasses.

CEO Twyman Clements takes a break from reorganizing the office to show me microscope glasses.

When I began my internship, all of my questions were oriented towards my area of study, but I have to remind myself that my mentors are just people. They can provide more than just feedback on your work, but a new perspective on life. What should we really be paying attention to? Why do we work as hard as we do?

There’s so much more to take into consideration then we think, and it’s a lot easier to have the people that have gone through it tell you how it went than figuring it all out on your own. I’m not alone, and being an intern isn’t unfamiliar. We all have to start somewhere, so don’t be too serious. Ask questions outside of school and work. Learn about the people around you and it may just start to feel a little like home.

⋆ Dani

The Perks of Being an Intern

We put hours and hours into our resumes, elevator speeches, and internship applications. It’s A LOT of work, but the results are pretty sweet.

  1. Preview of Adulthood
    My number one and favorite thing about having an internship is the independence you HAVE to maintain. It’s a taste of life after college, but a little bit easier. It’s a small stepping stone towards everything you’re studying. For me personally, it’s reminded me why I’ve been working so hard. It’s helped me refocus on my goals. I have this newfound motivation I honestly can’t put into words, but I’m glad I stayed up late to get a few extra eyes on a resume and made appointments with Career Services for interview tips. Internships ease you into a the job market. It gives you a taste of what it’s really like to work for that big dream company of yours while still having the caring guidance of Embry-Riddle to let you know ‘what’ and ‘what not to do.’ It’s just enough adulthood.
  2. Work in your unexpected dream job 
    Work at your dream job if you can, but don’t overlook those other companies! The smallest company may end up being where you really belong, or maybe the company you always thought you wanted to work at isn’t what you expected either, but at least you know at the risk of nothing at all. You still get the experience from the company, and now you have a better idea of what you want out of the workplace. I always knew I wanted to work in the aerospace industry, and I had a list of top three companies. I promise you, Space Tango was not on that list until now. The people, the company, and their mission all suit my interests. Sometimes we find ourselves in the most unexpected places, but it’s where we were meant to be.
  3. Networking
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    Kris Kimel, Chairman/Co-Founder of Space Tango and President/Founder of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC)

    I’ve written about this before, so I won’t talk about it too much, but I can’t stress how valuable networking will be for you early on. While interning, you meet people from the industry that can help you open more doors. I’ve met people from all kinds of different companies in aviation and aerospace because of my intern position with Space Tango. Take the time to get to know them with lunch, coffee, or just a quick meeting if they have time to learn about them (Hint: successful people doing what they love enjoy sharing their story).

  4. Wanderlust

    This one is aside from your position and work, but wanderlust is very real. If you’re like me, you may begin to crave a change of scenery. When you land an internship, and it doesn’t matter where, take the time to really explore! Enjoy it. Lexington, Kentucky isn’t my dream destination, but I’ve made the most of it. I’ve used it as an opportunity to try new things. I go cycling with coworkers now throughout the week, my roommates and I enjoy boxing classes on the weekends, and when funds permit there are a ton of local restaurants to indulge in. I’m an art- lover and LexArtLexington has an abundance of street art sprinkled throughout Downtown, so I spend my weekends searching for painted walls. Really take the time to find the beauty in your host home.

⋆ Dani

Minors are a Major Deal

Minor courses of study don’t get enough praise. I’m currently minoring in business administration and space studies to complement my Communication degree. My initial intention was to take something I was interested in that was sensible for my field, and they certainly are, but I didn’t recognize the true value of them until working with Space Tango.

Space Tango works to scale down customers’ experiments to fit in what they call CubeLabs for microgravity research on the International Space Station. As a Communication major, it’s difficult to see how I piece into this puzzle of research and design. My minor, however, in space studies (SP) provides me with the background information to keep up with the engineers during our meetings. It’s a puzzle piece to the bigger picture.

CubeLabs waiting to be tested in a pressure chamber.

CubeLabs waiting to be tested in a pressure chamber.

SP courses that I have taken gave me an overview of mission history, rocket and propulsion systems, ISS configuration, and so much more. If it wasn’t for my SP minor, then I wouldn’t be as valuable as I am now in the aerospace industry and I wouldn’t be able to effectively market their brand to prospective customers.

My business minor ties it all together. I can keep up with our director of business operations and even devise my own marketing plans that reflect the industry and the company. It’s like being a triple threat in the job market. I have so much more to offer as an intern and, one day, as an employee.

My skills are flexible and it’s all thanks to my minors! I think finding such minors are especially beneficial for flexible degree programs such as Communication. We can fit anywhere, but if there’s an industry you want to work in then cater your education towards it. Especially during internship season and applications, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. What are your strengths? What sets you aside from others? Don’t overestimate the power of your minors. Take the time to find one or two that accommodates your interests or pieces you into your dream industry.

⋆ Dani

Adapt and Overcome

I’m nearly 7 weeks into my internship and the most valuable skill I’ve learned thus far is the ability to adapt. Not only is Space Tango a start-up, but the companies we work with expect reasonable turnover times. I myself am the current point of contact for all press and media information in-going and outgoing. I have to have all the information ready for public release and company distribution.

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Although delayed a day at the last minute, Space Tango successfully launched experiments on SpaceX CRS-10, pictured above.

However, working with launches can be unpredictable. Just as quickly as a launch date changes from week to week, I have to be able to update the press kits and all news information. Most recently, CRS-10 launch date and time was changed a week before launch. Space Tango was informed as soon as possible, and most conveniently, the day we were all to begin our travels to Cape Canaveral. The team got a chance to sleep in a little, but as soon as they arrived to the office to reevaluate their mission timeline it was calm chaos.

It sounds like a contradiction, but it was one of those “you have to be there to understand it” situations. Flights couldn’t be changed and all the equipment was packed. Some experiments that we carried had to be kept cold. Despite the finite details that all had to be kept in mind while planning around the launch change, everyone was so calm. They adapted to the situation.

In the end, things don’t always work as we may hope. We do, however, have to be ready to accommodate to changes. More so, you can’t fight the facts. Accept change as it comes and work accordingly.

Liftoff!

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SpaceX CRS-10 awaiting launch.

On February 19th I didn’t just watch a random launch off the Space Coast. I watched the SpaceX Falcon 9 liftoff along with Space Tango payloads. I was a part of the launch and I am now an even bigger part of the mission.

I think I vastly underestimated how great it would be to work for Space Tango. I genuinely thought it would be more of me shadowing someone and learning from what they accomplish. Almost 8 weeks in and it has all been hands-on. I have control, I have input, and because of this I have experience.

I got to experience first-hand the role a public relations specialist plays in an important event that can vastly affect a company’s image. I was constantly on stand-by. All of Space Tango’s social media was up on my computer ready to publish posts. Press release templates were prepped and my phone never left my possession. I had to be on call the entire weekend to ensure that we covered content accurately and effectively for the launch. It was STRESSFUL, but it was so very real.

Just a few of the payloads that were launched on February 19th. Inside these cubes are the respective companies’ experiments.

For the next few days Space Tango, and myself, are waiting for the Dragon capsule to berth with the International Space Station. At that point, I’ll get to publish another press release and begin live updates on all social media about the payloads/experiments.

It’s a time consuming internship, but it has shown me that this is definitely where I was meant to be.