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
    kimel

    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

Casual Science

I spent the last three years networking. I met everyone I could. Hell, I even looked into fields that had nothing to do with my interest in space. If I could at least develop a connection with a representative, then I would have a source, an ‘in.’ This year, that ‘in’ paid off.

Walking into the Space Tango office was unreal. I'm excited to be taking my first real steps towards accomplishing my goals.

Walking into the Space Tango office was unreal. I’m excited to be taking my first real steps towards accomplishing my goals.

I’m now an intern at Space Tango, Inc. in Lexington, Kentucky. I work reasonable hours for solid pay. The environment is amazing, and my coworkers are helpful. I’m also getting credit hours for this and we all know that’s a great bonus. It’s science, but it’s casual.

As a communication major at an aeronautical university, everyone wonders “how do those even fit together?” Honestly, I asked myself the same thing before I switched my major. Communication is more than writing a few technical reports or manuals. I personally would like to do public relations for an aerospace company. Ha. How often do you hear of that? Well that’s the thing; you don’t hear about it at all. Being the stubborn woman that I am, I made it an option before someone could tell me otherwise.

I knew nothing about pursuing such a career in science, so I found someone that did. The communication department is flooded with individuals that specialize in writing, speech, behavior, etc. Never forget that they were all somewhere before Riddle. My advisor helped shape my classes for my desired career path and another amazing professor shared her experience in the competitive field of public relations. This was just step 1.

Step 2 was maintaining a focus in science. I picked up a major in space studies to expand my understanding of anything aerospace (satellites, orbital paths, rocket history, propulsion, and more) and to keep me up-to-date on current events. From there, it all happened on its own. I attended open lectures, forums, anything that would provide me an opportunity for one-on-one interaction with professionals in the aerospace industry.

This was really my last “planned” step, step 3. Even if they weren’t always successful, I familiarized myself with other fields. I learned from people I didn’t think I would. This is how I met Michelle Lucas, an Embry-Riddle alumna and CEO of Higher Orbits.I made it my mission to have her remember me. I emailed her, and when I didn’t hear from her in two weeks, I emailed her again. She finally responded and the conversation flowed from there. She invited me to be a member on the Higher Orbits advisory board as she developed her nonprofit “Go For Launch” program, but I wasn’t beating myself up that I didn’t get a high end co-op as yet. I was building my resources.

I continued to casually work towards my goals as a COM major. I maintained relationships with people that I met over the last few years (astronauts, professors, research scientists, NASA employees, people those of us at Embry-Riddle dream of meeting). I expanded my extracurricular experience ranging from Greek Life to the Caribbean Students’ Association. I got a couple of on-campus jobs that dabbled in marketing. I gained leadership experience and focused on my studies. This was all while my network was growing on its own in the background. My casual encounters and skills that I continuously developed were being now discussed by aerospace professionals. I was commended for my hard work, for my creativity,and my goals. Just as I was getting a little impatient, an opportunity finally arose.

Michelle Lucas informed my advisor of an internship opportunity with a micro-gravity research company in search of a communication student to handle their marketing and public relations. I underwent an interview process and shared the portfolio of my work that I built from all my extracurricular activities. A couple of weeks later, I was invited to join the Space Tango team for the spring semester.

Twitter is one of the digital mediums I handle on a day-to-day basis. I update followers on experiments and launches.

Twitter is one of the digital mediums I handle on a day-to-day basis. I update followers on experiments and launches.

My networking paid off. I’m spending my spring semester surrounded by engineers, live feeds from the ISS, and constant news and updates on the SpaceX launches. I’m currently working on media coverage for Space Tango’s payload for CRS-10. I not only control their social media, but I develop media alerts and press releases.

My name is Danielle Rosales. I’m a senior communication major with minors in business administration and space studies. I don’t have an outstanding 3.0 GPA, but I’ve held several jobs on campus in marketing, media relations, and graphic design. I’ve developed a reliable network and have been mentored by Embry-Riddle faculty members.

I’m right where I wanted to be doing something people didn’t even think was possible. The best part of it all? Getting here was all so casual.

⋆ Dani

 

Thanksgiving Break in Argentina

Instead of heading home for Thanksgiving like most students did, I decided to visit Argentina with my brother. As a former airline intern with Air Canada, I was offered two roundtrip tickets to go to any destination in the world the air carrier serves. The Thanksgiving break was the perfect time of the semester to use those tickets since they expire next January and there were blackouts dates in December for Christmas and the New Year. Because of Thanksgiving, I had five days of holiday including the weekend. Missing the first two days of the week made the trip possible since I now benefited of a full week of vacation.

Since we had to fly Air Canada, we had to go through Canada to fly to Argentina. I drove to Orlando and then I flew to Boston on Friday to join my brother. On Saturday evening, we boarded an Air Canada flight to Toronto where we connected to catch another flight to Buenos Aires. My brother and I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina the next day on Sunday after a long day of traveling.

After getting settled in our hotel, we went out for dinner where we met our friend from high school who is studying abroad in Buenos Aires. After our dinner we walked around Palermo Soho, a popular neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.

A street in Buenos Aires

A street in Buenos Aires.

The next day we visited the city since it was our last day in Buenos Aires. We visited La Recoleta Cemetery (Cementerio de la Recoleta) which is one of the most visited site in Buenos Aires. We also visited the Floralis Genérica, a big metal flower. The six petals of the flower close in the evening during sunset.

Cementerio de la Recoleta

Cementerio de la Recoleta

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Floralis Genérica

The next morning (Tuesday), we all flew from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia. Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city. We spent the rest of the week over there doing some fun activities. Stay tuned to learn more about the city with the nickname of The End of the World! In the meantime, you can enjoy some fun facts about Argentina below:

Interesting Facts About Argentina

  • While I was on the taxi going from the airport to the hotel, I noticed that drivers drive very close to other cars. Cars in Argentina are quite small. It is rare to see an F150 on the road. Most vehicles in AR are manual and not automatic.
  • Did you know that Argentina has the widest street in the world? You’d be surprised how long it takes to cross Avenida 9 de Julio.
  • When you go to restaurants, the waiter will usually not bring glasses of water to your table. You will have to order a bottle of agua if you are thirsty.
  • Argentines apparently do not use black pepper in their recipes. You will only find salt on the table.
  • Unlike North America, Argentines eat dinner pretty late. You will probably be the only customer in the restaurant if you go eat at 7PM.
  • When two people greet each other, they kiss on the cheek. Even men.
  • The seasons are the opposite. When it is winter here, it is summer over there and vice-versa.

Until next time!

Nicolas

Preparing for the Industry/Career Expo

Are you interested at an internship, co-op, or full-time job opportunity? If yes, you should definitely attend this year’s Industry/Career Expo! The event will take place on Thursday October 6, 2016 between 09:00 and 16:00 at the ICI Center. The Industry/Career Expo is open to all Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students and alumni.

Delta Air Lines MD90 on takeoff roll at Daytona Beach International Airport. (Credits: Nicolas Bernier)

A Delta Air Lines MD90 on takeoff roll at Daytona Beach International Airport. (Credits: Nicolas Bernier)

All major airlines of the United States will be there including Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. Many aircraft manufacturers will attend the event such as The Boeing Company, Embraer, Gulfstream, Piper, and Textron. There will also be various flight schools, aircraft suppliers, and government organizations. Click here for the complete list of registered companies.

How to prepare?

  • Do some research about the employers you are interested in working for. Go and visit their websites to learn more about what they do and what types of candidates they are looking for.
  • Get your resume reviewed a few weeks before by the Career Services Office. Don’t wait until the last minute as they are very busy. Click here for resume tips!
  • Practice your elevator speech that you will use to introduce yourself to the employers. You should briefly describe yourself by saying your name and major and also your strengths, past achievements, and career interests related to the organization.
  • Practice interviewing before you come to the event. The Career Services Office offers mock interviews for current students and alumni within one year of graduation who are interested on working on their interview skills. Click here for interviewing tips and sample questions!
  • During the event, you should look professional. You should wear clean, pressed business attire and be properly groomed.
  • You should bring your EagleCard, a notepad/portfolio to take notes and to hold copies of your resumes, a list of the companies you are interested in, and business cards.
  • Following the event, you should send thank you notes to the employers you had significant interaction with or whom you interviewed with.

For more information about the event and how to successfully prepare for it, please visit the Career Services webpage.

Until next time!

Nicolas

Visiting Virgin America

Some of you may have heard about the planned merger of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America that was announced in April. When the merger was announced, I was actually at the Alaska Airlines headquarters in Seattle for an interview. I remember the excitement that I felt while I was there; everyone was nervous and curious about the next steps.

Well, a few months into the merger, I can say it is still a very exciting time at Alaska Airlines. It couldn’t have been a better summer to be an intern at Alaska. As has been mentioned in the media, Alaska Airlines is trying to learn more about the Virgin America brand, and what makes people love it. One of the ways they are doing that is by visiting Virgin America in San Francisco.

I was lucky enough to have the privilege of traveling to San Francisco with the department I am working in. One day, a few weeks ago, we flew on Virgin America to San Francisco in the morning. I had never flown on VX before, so I was excited to experience it. When you walk onto the aircraft, it’s dark, and the cabin has pink and blue mood lighting. There was techno music playing while the guests were finding their seats. Once you sat down, the entertainment system in the back of the seat greeted you, and was ready for you to order drinks, play games, or watch TV. I was very impressed with the different type of atmosphere that VX had to offer, versus traditional carriers. Another thing I liked was how comfortable and wide the seats were. We flew on an A320 on the way to SFO, and I was amazed by how much room it had.

In-seat entertainment system

In-seat entertainment system

View out the window of the American flag sharklet

View out the window of the American flag sharklet

Once we arrived in San Francisco, we went to lunch at a small little Chinese dumpling place close to the airport. It was delicious! After we were done with lunch, it was time to head to the Virgin America office. I was impressed with the modern style of the offices. They really encompassed the Virgin America brand. It was also great because you could watch the planes on approach into SFO over the bay, right from the break room!

Outside of the VX Headquarters

Outside of the VX Headquarters

Shortly after our tour, we were headed back to SFO to catch a flight up to SEA. It couldn’t have been a better trip, as the weather in San Francisco was beautiful. I really enjoyed the experience of flying on an airline I had never flown before. I had also never been to SFO, and I discovered that I really like the airport. It was very modern and spacious.

Needless to say, I am very excited about the future of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America. I cannot wait to see what the West Coast’s premier airline of the future looks like.

Until next time,

Lindsey

Aircraft Programs: Post-Delivery of a B777

Last week, I started my internship at Air Canada. I am working with the Aircraft Programs team until the end of this week. Next week, I will head to the Network Planning department for the remaining of the summer.

IMG_7733

Economy cabin of Air Canada’s Boeing 777-300ER (77W) in a high density configuration of 450 passengers, which includes 28 Business, 21 Premium Economy, and 398 Economy class seats.

I spent most of my first days in the cabin of a Boeing 777-300ER. This aircraft was just delivered from Boeing a few weeks ago. It is now sitting outside on the tarmac at a maintenance facility in Mirabel, Canada, about 30 miles from the Montreal Airport. I was shadowing an Aircraft Program Manager while he was performing his duties of post delivery. The aircraft needs to be ready soon because it will enter fly its first revenue flight next week from Toronto to Vancouver.

Flight deck of the Boeing 777.

Flight deck of the Boeing 777.

The manager has to make sure the aircraft gets ready before entry into service (EIS). Many tests had to be completed to ensure all the systems work perfectly. All oxygen masks should drop from the overhead panel. Most of the resting was related to the inflight entertainment system (IFE). We played movies as well as the safety video. All the functions of the business class seat such as reclining were tested.

IMG_7771

My favorite features of this aircraft are the meal order and text messaging functionality. Passengers can order drinks and meals from their own seat. There is even an option to add ice and a lemon in your glass/cup. They can also buy duty-free products aboard the airplane. Customers are also able to message their friends and relatives or any other passenger on the flight.

Passengers can order refreshments, meals, and duty free items from their personal seat.

Passengers can order refreshments, meals, and duty free items from their personal seat.

I had the chance to pretty much explore the whole aircraft! I saw a crew rest for the first time. On the Boeing 777 there are two beds and two seats at the front of the cabin on the second floor. For the flight attendants, there are eight beds at the rear of the aircraft on the second floor.

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Door to enter the rear flight attendant rest area.

Rear flight attendant rest area.

Rear flight attendant rest area.

I am really happy and blessed to have the opportunity to do this. What can an Embry-Riddle student ask more than spending entire afternoons aboard an aircraft!?

Until next time!

Nicolas


Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu

Summer Plans

Finals are now over for Embry-Riddle students! For some, it’s finally summer and it is time to rest and relax. For others, jobs and internships are starting in the following weeks.

In my last blog, I mentioned that I would be flying on Delta’s first Airbus A321 flight on May 2. However, the airline made a last minute equipment change and postponed the inaugural  flight. I therefore cancelled my trip to Atlanta on that day.

Last week, my friend flew down from Canada and visited me in Daytona Beach. We enjoyed the beach and warm weather before leaving Florida on Saturday to drive my car up to Canada. The drive from Daytona to Montreal is about 1,400 miles and two days of driving. The first day, we drove close to 1,000 miles and stopped for the night close to Philadelphia. The second day, we drove about seven hours to see my brother in Boston. The next day, we drove the last five hours to Canada. I was exhausted after arriving home in the late afternoon!

Photo Credits: Air Canada

Photo Credits: Air Canada

Now I barely have time to rest since I am starting a summer internship at Air Canada in Network Planning on Wednesday of this week. For the first two weeks of the internship, I will be working with the Aircraft Programs team. It is the department that buys and leases aircraft for Air Canada. After that, I will be spending the rest of my internship in Network Planning. Stay tuned all summer to learn more about my internship!

I hope everyone enjoys their summer!

Nicolas


Contact the author at berniern@y.erau.edu

California’s Got Board Meetings.. Lots of Board Meetings

Hello Again! Thank you for coming back to listen to me ramble. This week I continued to work on the splash page for the military training website. At the beginning of this project, I was designing the website using very low fidelity mock-ups. And by low fidelity mock-ups, I mean drawing some pictures of a website on a sheet of paper or toilet paper or Kleenex. I did pretty well; my advisor said my drawings could pass for an advanced 8 year old, so I moved on to creating a more high fidelity mock-up. For people who claim to design websites, but don’t have the knowledge or talent to carry it out, there is a program called Axure RP (rapid prototyping). This is a very simple, intuitive program that allows people to show a website design without writing the code for it. You can also create links for other pages within the site and can “preview” how the entire website would work for the user. So, I’m very happy to have this skill because now I won’t get picked last for teams in my classes anymore!

My next project looked into designing a system for planning missions on aquatic vehicles. The systems used to do this are mostly paper-based. So, the branch I work for is giving the government an upgrade. It’s very deep work. HA! Get it? Deep, you know like deep water? Alright I’ll stop.

This Tuesday was my advisor’s last day at work for three weeks. She is taking time off to go on vacation in her hometown back in Colorado. So, she gave me a list of tasks to get done before she comes back. Oh! And she calls me a smurf, too. It’s probably because I’m shorter than the average 7th grader. I was also approached recently by a friend of a friend who said, “You are so cute! I just want to put you in my pocket!” Do you have any idea how scary it is for a stranger to tell you they want to take you and put you in a pocket? I’m getting off task, here.

On Tuesday, my boss invited me to participate in this event called CX SIG (Customer Experience Special Interest Group). There is an intern at my branch who is actually a graduate student in the Human Factors program at Embry-Riddle, so I invited her to come along. At this Customer Experience event, Human Factors specialists from all over San Diego come together for 1 night each month and evaluate an interface or product from a company. At this particular event, we evaluated the website for a company called “Personal Creations.” This is similar to the “Things Remembered” company, in that it allows customers to order products that can be personally customized before delivery. At this meeting I was instructed to act like someone who was trying to make an order and criticize any part of the website that needed fixing. At first, it is kind of weird to tell the programmers and representatives of the company how horrible their website looked, but as I continued, the arrogance in me began to bloom. Ha! Just kidding my arrogance was there all along.

After this event my boss and a few of my co-workers went to dinner at an Italian restaurant close-by. When we sat down, a friend of my boss and one of the participants of the CX SIG event decided to join us. I found out that he is actually an author of a very successful book used in the Human Factors world that I have been looking through over the past few weeks. He was also featured on NPR (National Public Radio)…a dream for most people! As we were heading out, he gave me and my co-workers his card and offered his help and advisement if we ever needed it. On the way back, I had to drive with my friend, Christian, because his apartment is across the street from mine. Since he brought his motorcycle, I had to hop on the back. Oh! And it was my FIRST TIME riding one!! We were about half an hour away from our apartments and took a highway almost the entire way home. I actually wasn’t scared for having the ground go below my feet at 70 mph. Now I have the itch to get a motorcycle, though. Which is a very expensive itch.

There were some other firsts this week in California. I also got my first Jack in the Box food. Oh boy Florida needs to get one of those. Although, I don’t know if my 5’2” frame can handle another 100 pounds. My other first happened on Saturday, when I attempted to paddleboard and surf. I met with some of the interns at SPAWAR who were trying to make friends while here for the next few months. We rented paddleboards and took them to this large bay where a lot of sailboats were kept. I didn’t fall! I can’t say the same for the people I went with. We also rented surfboards and took turns holding them in the water on the Pacific side of the peninsula. I say holding because that’s all we could do successfully (and unsuccessfully a few times). On the ocean, the water was choppy, and the waves were huge. I could not even stand without one side of the board sinking into the water. So the next time I go, I’ll start off in a puddle.

*Drools

*Drools

Boarding, Surfing, and Falling

Boarding, Surfing, and Falling

Paddleboarding on Mission Bay

Paddleboarding on Mission Bay

It was a really long day, and I had to get some food to wash down all of the seawater. I ate half a chicken at a restaurant called Phil’s BBQ. HALF A CHICKEN!! I’m well on my way to winning a food eating contest. On Saturday, I went with my co-workers and a few other friends to a fair by the closest shoreline called Ocean Beach. I got to ride a motorcycle again to get there! The main street had vendors of all kinds lined up and bands playing blues and rock. There were rides and carnival games at the end of the street set-up for children, but my friend decided they were there for everyone. It was fun watching him fall, but overall I enjoyed seeing the different things for sale. I brought a funnel cake.. and ate all of it! Stay tuned next week when I gain 14 pounds.

Eating Half a Chicken. Good thing I had a bib.

Eating Half a Chicken. Good thing I had a bib.

Cheap masquerade masks, shark fins you can buy for your dog, a shark (you know, like riding a bull), and some dancing fools

Cheap masquerade masks, shark fins you can buy for your dog, a shark (you know, like riding a bull), and some dancing fools

My co-worker trying to show up some kids

My co-worker trying to show up some kids