September 2012

My name is Carissa Harrison and I am currently a sophomore here at Embry-Riddle studying Computational Mathematics. Why am I here? Well, it’s for my absolute love for the skies and space. Ever since I was a little kid I would read and watch anything there was about space or planes. You could pretty much say I’ve always kept my head in the skies.

Being back at school this fall has been extremely stressful but thrilling at the same time. I am so excited to begin my core classes in my major, and seeing old friends and making new. It’s so exhilarating; I love the start of a new school year.

So far between my involvement with Alpha Xi Delta, my off campus job at Best Buy and my classes, I’ve been so busy and absolutely love it! Right from the start, my year started off with promoting Alpha Xi Delta when the class of 2016 started their orientation. From helping them move into their new rooms in the dorms to the Friday night BBQ and pool party it’s been crazy fun seeing all the new faces joining the Embry-Riddle community!

The time leading up to our official recruitment event has been pretty fantastic as well. It is so different being sister this time and on the other side of recruitment. I really can’t believe it was only a year ago I was in these young women’s shoes, nervously going to through the recruitment process. Our recruitment parties consisted of three events. Our first night, “Letters Today, Leaders Tomorrow” involved getting to know the sisters of Alpha Xi Delta, which included an ice breaker, time to mingle, and a Q&A with the sisters. Our goal was to educate the girls who came out as to how they can realize their potential with Alpha Xi Delta! Following such a successful night was our philanthropic party, “Piece it Together.” During this event, my sisters and I taught the women about our partnership with Autism Speaks! Supporting our national philanthropy is such an important aspect of chapter life, and we wanted each and every girl to experience a little about it by creating sensory boxes to hand out at the annual “Volusia County Walk Now for Autism” in November. Finally, our last event, “Own It, Work It, Live It, Love It,” taught the women how being a part of Alpha Xi Delta has affected our lives as well as how it can change theirs as well. Additionally, we had cupcake decorating and a fruity drink bar to go along with the conversation!

Through all this hard work Alpha Xi Delta would like to announce that we officially accepted 9 new young women to realize their potential with us this Fall 2012 semester!

What’s even better about this year is that, through all the busy recruiting, I was approached by a professor of mine and asked if I would be willing to work along side of him with his research! What an amazing opportunity! I am so excited to actually be applying what I am learning in the classroom to real life applications. From what he has told me, his focus has been on fluid mechanics with a focus particularly on wave dynamics. Currently I am to be applying tools from asymptotic analysis to explore nonlinear wave phenomena in a variety of physical settings. I am so excited!

P.S: Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have–whether you’re a girl seeking a friend, or you’re just seeking unbiased advice from a sophomore. My e-mail is up top (

September 23, 2008

I realize my first blog was kind of a throw in your face, so I figured I would back track a bit and let you know who that person was telling you what to do. I am Heather Owen, a nearly-graduated senior in the Communications Department with a specialty in International Relations. Following my December graduation, I plan on applying to the State Department to begin work towards becoming a U.S. diplomat.

Wait…did I say Communications? Do they even have that at Riddle? News flash: Riddle isn’t just airplanes. I have been in the program for four and a half years.

I am always asked “why Embry-Riddle for the Communications Department?” Well, I have always loved to write. I love giving speeches. Oh, and I kind of enjoy airplanes. However, though I knew I liked these topics, I didn’t quite know what I “wanted to be when I grew up.” I quickly found the Communications Department had plenty to offer. Along with the typical public relations/marketing/journalism curriculum of any other collegiate communications department, Riddle offers an aviation specialty, a niche with many openings, yet few applicants.

Even though I graduate in seventy-six days (not like I am counting), I am not nervous. Graduates from the program have gone into broadcast journalism, aviation-related journalism, public relations, and even law school. None of which is my career path, but the diversity of our program is what makes me a strong post-graduate applicant.

A diploma from the “Harvard of the Sky” alone will open doors, but it has been the experiences I have had that will get my name on the corner office door. Internships and co-ops are the best and easiest way to gain first-hand knowledge. In addition to Career Services, I found my internships thanks to help within my department. The student-to-faculty ratio in the Communications Department is very small, so I quickly got to know all of my professors. As it turned out, I have had that handful of professors for all four years. It was these same instructors who were instrumental in finding me internships and helping me find my career path.

Because I was still on the fence about careers up until my senior year, I took two internships to better acquaint myself with the communications career field. For my first internship, I spent my 2006 summer working for WESH 2 News, located in Daytona Beach. I was on the call with the reporters, riding shotgun in the news van on the way to fires, robberies and homicides. I sat in on court cases, interviewed city officials and visited such fine institutions such as the Volusia County Jail to interview fine, law-abiding residents. I admit the fast-paced dramatics, and getting to “know all the dirt” truly interested me. However, I wasn’t ready to acquire the stigma of a TV news reporter. My second internship this past spring had me working in the Embry-Riddle Athletics Department with the Sports Information Department. I had been in the Athletics Department for four years as a cheerleader, so I was very appreciative to work with those who also supported the Eagles. As a sports marketing intern, I updated statistics, wrote biographies on the players and taped important games. I enjoyed the press passes to games, setting up early morning track meets, and cheering on the Eagles, but I had one big issue. Although I have been a cheerleader for eleven years, I just don’t like sports. I don’t understand them, like to watch them or even care to talk about them. Despite striking out on potential future careers, I learned a lot from the two internships. I found the positives and negatives about the communications field so when I do land a job, I will know what to look for.

So now my senior year. I was set to graduate with a prominent degree, had two internships, had participated in a few activities here and there and gained a few future job insights. However, I wasn’t content with the content of my resume. So, in an utterly rash move which I thoroughly rejoiced about later, I decided to do study abroad and push off graduation. I spent five weeks of my summer in China, speaking Chinese, learning about Chinese culture and just enjoying a culture shock. I continued my education with another three weeks in Prescott studying Chinese.

From the moment I got back to Daytona, I had a path. I want to travel the world. I want to speak foreign languages. I want to play a part in international relations. I want to know the scoop. Oh, and I want a press pass to a non-sport activity (just one of my job insights). Diplomacy is my answer and the State Department will receive my newly minted resume in December. Along with the study abroad on my resume, I also added that I am a sister in the Theta Omicron chapter of Alpha Xi Delta, sweetheart to the Eta Iota chapter of Sigma Chi, cheered for three and a half years at Riddle and am now a devoted student. I am conversant in German and I like to think my English is decent too. Better than a list of do’s and don’ts from a lowly Communications major, huh?