Fall Break Fun (Plus Everything Since)

I’m running out of creative ways to start these entries. Generic greetings are so boring…

My shiny Charizard, Deimos. Named after one of Mars’ moons :)

We left off last time right before fall break, so you’re probably dying to know what I did for that long, 4-day weekend. In short, I really didn’t do anything. I caught up on sleep, played Pokemon Y (I hatched a shiny charmander – if you know what that means, I know you’re jealous), watched some Breaking Bad, and took some time to just chill and forget about school. It was glorious, apart from being sick for most of the break. But thanks to my friends orange juice and NyQuil, I was able to bounce back pretty quickly.

My new bookshelf (well, CD/DVD/Spaceship shelf) from IKEA on the left, along with my new Gravity poster :D

The only real exciting thing I did over the break was spend some time in Orlando on Saturday. After waking up at about noon, I read on Facebook that Buzz Aldrin was doing a book signing in Kissimmee at 1 PM – well it was 1 PM when I read that post! So I took the quickest shower of my life, hopped in my car, and booked it to Orlando. We called when we were at about downtown Orlando to see if it was still going on, and it wasn’t. :( I was pretty bummed about that, especially because his book is about the future of space travel (i.e. Mars). So since we were in Orlando anyways, we spent the day at IKEA, ate some cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, and ended the evening playing some games at Dave N Busters – and I won a telescope. :D I have yet to see anything interesting with it though, it’s probably worth about $20; but still.

The week after a break is never fun. Especially the first couple days when you haven’t really recovered the motivation you left behind. But somehow I found the strength to get back into school-mode. Which was good, because I had my EP 501 midterm – and boy, was that an experience. I don’t think I’ve ever studied so much for a test in my life. Grad classes are scary because you have one exam and one final, so if you mess up the midterm chances are that your grade is doomed. I managed to scrape out a 90, which I’m very proud of (I would have hung the exam on my fridge except that my professor doesn’t give them back). Not to brag, but I’m 6 for 6 on exams this semester, which means this is my best semester yet – including freshman year! I have two more exams this week, in Spaceflight Dynamics and Thermodynamics, so hopefully I’ll be able to maintain the streak… fingers crossed.

Spring semester schedule. i.e. “Death by Physics”

Spring semester registration is now upon us! At least for the honors students – that’s one of our perks: we get to register before everybody else. So that means first dibs on the good professors. (I think I might be obligated to say that every single professor at Embry-Riddle is one of the “good professors.”) Of course it doesn’t really matter for me; I think I mentioned last time that every single class I am taking next semester only has one option, so my schedule is essentially made for me. Oh well, less work required on my part. This was also the first semester since I switched majors that I’ve been able to register online without it throwing an error at me for one or more classes and having to go sort it out with records! And the timings seem to work out very nicely – it’s just the classes that are going to kill me!

The new building is almost done and it’s beautiful – and it’s all mine! And, y’know, the rest of the physics/human factors/business/etc. students and faculty.

I also mentioned last time about the new College of Arts and Sciences building. All of my classes will be in there, and the lab I work in…. I wonder if I can just live there too? I am giving the presentation about our new lab to the Board of Trustees on Friday, so you’ll hear about that in my next entry.

Speaking of presentations, this past weekend I was asked to be on a student panel at the open house – so, any prospective students reading this, if you were there you probably saw me. I felt pretty honored to have been asked, which is why I was willing to wake up so early to be there (I don’t even wake up that early for classes!) I got to tell my story about choosing Riddle (my first entry – if you haven’t read it) to a whole bunch of people, so it was pretty cool. Then I went home and went back to bed for a little bit before lending my evening to freshmen who wanted help planning out their spring semesters.

My boyfriend and I with Echosmith (we are the two in the middle – it might be hard to tell because the band is our age!) They were really flattered when I told them we were at the concert specifically to see them. I suppose as openers they don’t get that a lot.

On Sunday I got to go to another concert! We went to see the opener, Echosmith. I’m pretty sure I talked about them in my entry about Warped Tour – they are all siblings that are age 14-20. And they’re awesome. The downside about them being the opener, is that we missed most of their set! :( Orlando had some carnival or something going on so a lot of the streets downtown were closed and we couldn’t figure out how to get to the venue. But we caught their last two songs, which were really good, and then got to chat with them a bit after they played – which is the upside of them being an opener. There were three other bands playing; the second was For the Foxes, who weren’t really my cup of tea, but one or two of their songs were pretty good. Then The Downtown Fiction played, who I’ve had on my iTunes library but never really listened to aside from just shuffling the whole library. But they did play one song of theirs that I really like, along with some other I recognized. I also got to meet them, and got them to sign an album for me. The headlining band was Tonight Alive, a band from Australia. They were awesome! It turned out to be a really fun show, especially since we just went to see the opener. I got a signed copy of Tonight Alive’s album too (so I now have 9 signed CDs in total, plus 2 signed vinyls).

There is another concert I want to go to this Saturday, In This Moment, but nobody will go with me so I suppose I’ll sit this one out and save the money. But I only say that because I’ve seen them before and they haven’t released any new music since then. It’s really awesome how many bands play Orlando – I’ve been to more concerts since starting school at Riddle than the rest of my life combined. And that’s not counting the ones freshman year I would have gone to had I had a car.

One of my Bitstrips from last night. Hehe.

I discovered this super entertaining Facebook app called Bitstrips, where you make a cartoon of yourself and can put yourself in little comics with cartoon versions of your friends. There are some really funny comic templates, and my Facebook friends are probably sick of me posting them, but I don’t care because I think they’re hilarious. Although my parents and aunts started making them too, and everybody knows that parents ruin anything cool on the internet.

I think that’s about it for my life nowadays. I haven’t made too much progress on my research, mostly because I’ve been spending a good chunk of my lab time working on the poster for the Board of Trustees presentation. I have to write a major research paper about software development processes for my SE 500 class, so I plan to get working on that soon… I haven’t written a paper in about a year so I’m actually kind of looking forward to it; writing is definitely one of my strong suits (and for some reason I decided to be a physicist.)

I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but with all the prospective students who might start reading this, I’ll say it again: Ask me questions! I’m happy to answer anything about ERAU, especially about the Engineering Physics program. Or, y’know, just send me fan-mail telling me how awesome I am. Email me at schroel2@my.erau.edu, or you can probably find me on Facebook pretty easily. I don’t bite :)

Until next time….

-Lynsey

The Exciting Life of a Physics Student

Hello hello!

Time is sure flying, I can’t believe it’s been another two weeks. But I suppose I’ll pick up right where I left off in writing my life’s story. So here it goes…

A plot, similar to the one in my last entry, showing altitude above sea level and the corresponding vertical wind speed. This one is for Olympus Mons on Mars! Notice that the wind speed is about 10X higher, which makes sense because the mountain is a lot bigger.

Let me start off by pointing out the terrible error in my last post – my Mars map was upside down! I noticed it while working on my model in MATLAB. Major oops on that one. But I will say that it is now fixed, and the model is working beautifully. I was able to plot the vertical wind speed across Olympus Mons (which, as you recall from my earlier entries, is the largest volcano in the solar system at a height of about 26 km), and our next step is to implement these calculations in the atmospheric dynamics model to simulate some waves! If that sentence didn’t make sense to you, go back and read some of my past entries where I explain the basics of my research.

My CORRECT Martian topographic map generated in MATLAB. This time I used the copper color bar option, because the blue was a bit misleading. Lighter is higher elevation, and darker is lower elevation.

Speaking of physics and research and all that jazz, I’m getting pretty excited for the new College of Arts and Sciences building! They’ve named our new lab – it will be called ECLAIR:  Experimental and Computational Laboratory for Atmospheric and Ionospheric Research. Which is apparently French for “flash of lightning”, in addition to being a delicious French pastry. So for atmospheric scientists who are also partial to pastries, it seemed like a good fit. I will be presenting a poster about the new lab to the board of trustees on November 1st, which means I get to be one of the first people to stand inside the new building! Plus I get to wear a suit, and I always feel snazzy in a suit.

The new building seems like a good segway to my next topic – registering for next semester classes. Ah! It seems like this semester just started, and we’re already getting ready to register. My schedule for the spring seems pretty chill time-wise (only a couple classes on MWF, and a decent break on TTh) – I should note that, once you get to upper-level EP classes you start to lose control of making your own schedule. Every class I’m taking only has one section, and I lucked out in not having to take any 8:15s! Nonetheless, I’ll be taking five 300-level EP classes (Classical Mechanics, Optics, Microcomputers, Space Systems Engineering, and Junior Design); I saw my advisor today, and I quote… Me: “I just want to make sure next semester won’t kill me.” Him: “Oh it will.” Well then. I suppose it evens out for the fact that the classes will be really cool.

I also have to start thinking about a thesis topic, and man that feels so far off. I will probably continue to pursue my Martian atmospheric research, unless something else nifty catches my attention.

You never really get too old for Pokemon.

Now for those of you readers who are geeks like me, you’re probably wondering if I’m going to mention last weekend’s big release – Pokemon X and Y! Yes, I am, because that’s all I did this weekend. I bought a shiny new (used, but it’s new to me) 3DS – which is amazing technology might I add; I was skeptical – and picked up my copy of Y. I definitely have to give this game five stars, it’s completely revolutionized the franchise. And if you’re wondering, my entire team is named after moons, constellations, and space missions (Apollo, Aries, Triton, Phobos, Deimos, and Orion) because that’s just how I roll. I also found a shiny in the wild. If you don’t know what that means, just keep scrolling.

This weekend is fall break! Which is much needed. I’m planning to sleep, play Pokemon, sleep some more, watch Breaking Bad, and maybe plan a trip down to Kennedy Space Center if the government decides to run again. I should note that, while KSC is privately owned and operated and therefore still open during the shutdown, none of its tours run since it’s a government facility that’s being toured, and what’s the fun if you can’t see the cool space buildings?

This was posted on the Embry-Riddle Memes page the day of the career fair, with 298 “likes” and 33 “shares”. It made me lol.

Speaking of the government shut down, the career fair was last Wednesday (yes, that transition was completely relevant, just wait.) NASA wasn’t there obviously, which made me very very sad. I even stood next to their empty booth for a while hoping they’d magically appear and give me a job. They didn’t. BUT I did have a really good chat with a woman from Northrop-Grumman who seemed to really want to hire me. She had the same first name, so total ice-breaker, and asked me for two copies of my resume – one for the pile and one to take with her. So I’m expecting a phone call any day now, she practically promised -fingers crossed-. I also talked to some other small space companies that seemed really cool, and they seemed promising as well. Boeing seemed unimpressed, but they can keep their airplanes, I’m not interested.

And I almost forgot to mention Gravity! The movie, not the force. Go see it. Right now. It was so awesome. We went to the very first showing at 10 pm on Thursday night and saw it in 3D. Wow. That’s all I have to say about that. Granted the physics is a bit off in some places, but the amount of things they did right and the fact that the movie is simply incredible makes breaking physics worth it – and that’s coming from a physicist. (Plus, Sandra Bullock as an astronaut? You don’t want to miss that.)

Let’s see what else is going on… I suffered through an assignment for EP 501 that I think took 20-25 hours of work. It was four problems, and it took that long. What. I decided I don’t like grad school. Also, I had to go get a shot the other day, which, if you know me, you know is a big deal. I’m planning a trip to India this summer, so it’s probably worth it, but still – wah! Also also, the Indian restaurant here in Daytona that I go to about once a week got a new chef, and he makes my usual different and I’m sad. It’s not bad, it’s just not my usual anymore, y’know? (Have you ever noticed that the last paragraph of my blog entries are just the most random things I can think to mention?)

Will Northrop-Grumman ever call? What will happen with my Martian vertical forcing model? How much will I sleep during fall break? Get these exciting answers and more next time!

-Lynsey

October 2012

Good day, all!

As the midterm comes and goes, I’ve realized how quickly time is passing. Although I arrived on campus almost 10 weeks ago, I feel like the semester just started. It seems unreal that in a few days I will be registering for my spring classes.

As you may have heard, Embry-Riddle recently hosted the Wings and Waves airshow on the beach. I’d been to air shows before, but there was something extra special about sitting on the sand and watching the planes skim the water close to shore. As a member of the Avion, I got the privilege of interviewing two very prominent aviators, Maj. J.R. Williams, Thunderbirds pilot #5 and Cheryl Stearns, champion skydiver and parachute, both ERAU graduates. They were both really interesting to talk to, especially Cheryl Stearns, because she has broken records and gender barriers in aviation.

This is me interviewing Major Williams.

Thunderbirds planes up close.

The Snow Birds at Wings and Waves.

In addition to the exciting things I’ve done on campus lately, I also got to take my first trip to Universal Studios with the other ERRSA members for Halloween Horror nights. I am not a fan of scary movies or haunted houses or ANYTHING scary, but I still had a ton of fun. I got to ride all of the themed coasters from movies that I grew up loving like The Mummy and MIB, and it was a neat experience to see it all come to life. I hope to go again sometime so I can visit the other parks!

Now that midterms are over, I got to relax and go home over the weekend for fall break. It was nice to see my family and friends again after two months of school. However, the best part was the food. Now, the food here at ERAU is pretty good, but it is nothing compared to my family’s home cooking. Also, since I love to bake, it’s been hard not having constant access to a stove or oven here at school. I spent a whole day making two types of cupcakes, apple cinnamon and pumpkin, topped with ginger cream cheese frosting and butterscotch caramel. They were delicious!

I hope that you are all enjoying reading about my experiences. Feel free to email me with any questions or comments you have!

October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween everyone! We are now just over the halfway mark. October is [almost] now long-gone, and November is just creeping up on us. Schoolwork has been ramped up, and professors are giving tests like there’s no tomorrow. Despite all the madness (not to mention the long days of studying), I have still managed to make time for fun! Last weekend was fall break. It was a bittersweet time, considering half the population on campus went home. Since I live so far away, it was impossible for my to fly across the country and back in the span of a few days. A couple of my closest friends, among them my roommate and Jim, stayed behind. Because nothing was going on around campus, we all decided to spend the weekend in Orlando.

On Thursday night, some of McKay’s RAs planned a trip for residents to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in Orlando. A favorite among teens and young adults, HHN hosts a plethora of haunting creepy thrills, with scare zones scattered throughout the park, and, of course, haunted houses. The RAs drove us to Orlando on the university’s housing shuttles at around 6 pm. I have to be honest. I am what you would call a wimp when it comes to scary things. Especially mummies. I hate mummies. A lot. It’s probably one of the few things that really creep me out. My great friends, seeing as how much they love me, decided to go on the Revenge of the Mummy ride a few times. As a method of redemption, though, Jim and I went to see the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure show, which was a hilarious spoof of 2010’s pop culture icons and mishaps.

The next day, bright and early in the morning (much to my dislike, since we did not get back from HHN until 3 in the morning), my friends and I drove back to Orlando to spend a few days in the parks. Friday was dedicated to Islands of Adventure. Although I have an annual pass, I had never been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Trust me, it is as amazing as the media makes it sound. In fact, it was so realistic that it was almost scary!! Even the waiting line is great. I’m not big Harry Potter fan (my roommate is, though), but I was truly awestruck by the work that was put into designing the ride. The butter beer was great, too!

Saturday, we went to Universal Studios. Throughout the day, we went on as many rides as we could, along with a very interesting magic show! In the afternoon, we decided to go to Disaster!, a ride/show in which the audience is “cast” to be extras in a film director’s newest disaster movie, aptly called “Mutha Nature”. At the beginning of the show, the assistant casts some audience members to play some important roles. I was picked to be in the cast, and, although I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, I agreed, along with my friend Mary, who was cast as “an evil oil executive”. Turns out, I had to scream my lungs out while drowning in a tub full of balls….

That night, we all decided to go to Downtown Disney. Now, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am a huge Disney freak. I have probably been to the parks over 50 times (and I am not kidding). We perused the stores all night, and I, being the nerd that I am, went around looking for Hidden Mickeys. These are Mickey Mouse figures that the Imagineers (the ones responsible for designing the rides, stores, and attractions at the Resorts) hide throughout Walt Disney World. We stopped by the T-Rex restaurant, much like the Rainforest Café but with dinosaurs. I had been there before, but my roommate stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the place. We couldn’t eat there, however, since it was way too packed. Therefore, we decided on Bongo’s, a Cuban restaurant. I miss my Cuban food from Miami…I was a very happy camper when we decided on eating there!!

As the weekend came to an end, the reality of going back to class hit me. This week, I had a Physics exam, a computing test, and a while launch system project to finish. Not to mention a 6-page essay due. It all went well, nonetheless. Friday night, Touch N Go productions, which are the ones in charge of organizing the entertainment around campus, hosted Rocktober. Riddle hosted 3 rock bands from Orlando, who each played 45-minute sets. Bharvi, Jim and I were lucky enough to help set up and work security. Really a very fun experience!!

Speaking of, this week also marked a milestone for me. I finally got to fly!! Well, I didn’t pilot the plane, but I went on an observer flight. It surprises me I have been at this school so long without going up in the air!!

As always, feel free to contact me! I love talking to future eagles. Facebook is probably the best way to get a hold of me, but e-mail works as well.

October 15, 2009

It’s fall break! I believe this is the first time Embry-Riddle has had a fall break, which makes it a convenient time to come home. I left on Thursday night and will be coming home on Monday, allowing me to spend time with my family and friends. They’ve split up the calendar quite nicely, as I’ll get to come back home in another six weeks for Thanksgiving, and it will be winter break three weeks following.

These past two weeks were so much fun, but also filled with studying. Last weekend, I went with nine friends to St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city. We rented an Embry-Riddle plane, and met up with the guys in the other two aircraft at St. Augustine airport. The FBO, Galaxy Aviation, was kind enough to drive us to downtown St. Augustine, where we ate and toured historical sites (like the fort). At Embry-Riddle, there certainly isn’t a shortage of pilots with their license, and it’s easy to escape to a different city each weekend.

As for classes, I had quite a few tests and quizzes. The weekdays fly by, and the long nights of studying always pay off. Usually, I spend time at Starbucks, located in the Jack R. Hunt Memorial Library building, and get in an hour or two of studying before the test. At Embry-Riddle, it’s easy to find a common time to meet with professors and go-over material. This past week, I met with my principles of management professor, and she answered all the questions I had about the topic.

Flying home was a treat too. Daytona Beach International Airport is walking-distance away from the university, however I recommend getting a ride from a friend to the main terminal. While waiting for my flight to leave, I spotted the Dean of Aviation, Dr. Tim Brady, who I spoke with prior to boarding. Dr. Brady was very nice to talk to, and we spoke about the buildings in-progress and the Diamond Twin-Star (DA42).

It’s good to be home in Pennsylvania, but I look forward to returning to the warm weather in Florida.

I’ll have another post up in two weeks.

Until then,

Jonathan