End of the Semester Review

Hello again! I’m so sorry about the long period of radio silence. Things here have been a bit hectic, but I have so many things to talk about so hopefully this might make up for the lack of blog posts. I guess I’ll have to start back way, way back in March right before Spring Break.

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Shortly before flying back home to New Jersey to start what would be a moderately eventful Spring Break, I bought myself a DJI Mavic Pro! Eagle eyed readers might remember that I bought a drone my freshmen year, and they would be correct. Ultimately I regret to admit that that drone was a waste of money, but the lessons I’ve learned about drone operation and aerial imagery have long stuck with me.

Once I got home to New Jersey, I spent most of my Spring Break helping my parents out at their nail salon, mostly working as a receptionist and interpreter/translator. Whenever I had some down time, I’d fly my drone at the park by my house. It was really fun to get back into the hobby of aerial photography, but I just wish it wasn’t so cold during break.

I love the snow and it was one of the many reasons why I was super excited to fly back home, but I realized that it takes a lot of time, energy, and planning to fly out in the cold. Not to mention, you’re kinda at the mercy of the weather. Thanks to “Winter Storm Stella,” which turned out to be a bust by the way, the weather was pretty lame since it rained and sleeted a lot. Oh well I guess.

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It wasn’t until towards the end of the week that the weather got better so on Friday I spent a day in New York City and spent Saturday packing up my things for my flight back to Orlando on Sunday. And just like that, on that cold Sunday afternoon, I found myself on a train headed back to Newark International Airport so I could start class the next day.

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School for the most part has been pretty challenging as always. I think on the week I came back, or the next week, I had three tests scheduled in a row. Definitely not super ideal, but at this point, this has happened about two times so far this semester so I was kinda used to it. I did ok on one of the tests, while I did a lot better on the other two. However, I didn’t have time to contemplate my test scores because the following Sunday I had to shoot a wedding.

I’ve never done wedding photography before and wedding videography is a whole different animal. I will admit I was super nervous because with weddings, you only get one shot so if you blow it, well you’re out of luck. If I had to do it all over again, I’d definitely hire someone else to shoot video with me because one camera man is definitely not enough to cover everything.

Once I recovered from the wedding, I was handed another project: Completely rebuild the Digital Studio website in four-five days. Thankfully, the time-frame was extended for a total time of about two weeks. Now, before starting this huge undertaking, I was pretty good with WordPress and HTML coding. But, the more time I spent working on the website and trying out different design methods, I felt a lot better about my coding background and attitude towards coding.

A lot of people, like myself, complained that ERG115, the class where you first learn how to code in MATLAB, basically made them hate coding. I totally understand where everyone is coming from, but as I started branching out into other programs and coding languages, I rediscovered my love for coding and problem solving. I guess I needed some time off after doing fprintf(‘Hello world.’); so many times.

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Somewhere along the way, I was invited by my friend to join him at Sun ‘n’ Fun. For those of you who don’t know, Sun ‘n’ Fun is this huge airshow out in Lakeland, Florida. Many people have compared it to Oshkosh, but I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, it’s much smaller. Regardless though, I had a lot of fun, but I do wish I’d gone earlier. I went on Sunday with my friend which was the last day of the week-long event, and a majority of the static aircraft, mostly military aircraft, and airshow performers had left. That was ok because I got to see the Blue Angels perform for the first time in my life. After seeing the Thunderbirds perform for three years, this was definitely a welcomed change.

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I also got to go to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for the first time. I’ve been to Kennedy Space Center and the launch pads, but surprisingly never actually went to the Visitor Complex.

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With my sixth, wow has it really been six?, semester now coming to a close, I’m definitely looking forward to going home for the summer for some R&R. I look forward to taking Thermodynamics at Rutgers and flying my drone a lot more since New Jersey’s airspace isn’t as dense as Daytona Beach’s. I look forward to working either with my family or at a supermarket since I was already offered a job starting when I come home. But, most importantly, I look forward to summer and what it has to offer. Four months is a long time and I look forward to sharing everything when I see you all in August.

For now, good luck, and if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.

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

 

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

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.

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

 

Break-ception with Astrophotography

I think with all the breaks we’ve been having and have had so far in the month of November, we might as well just take the whole month off right? Not quite.

With the semester nearing its end, the classes, assignments, tests, and projects are certainly upping their level of difficulty. In addition to school, juggling three jobs has also been quite difficult. Time management is key and I’m still working on it. Hopefully Thanksgiving break will give me some time to catch up with all my classes since things have been getting a bit cluttered in my schedule.

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Day & Age – The Killers

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ITS SO PRETTY.

Thankfully, the breaks we’ve had so far allowed me the opportunity to travel deep into the Floridian wilderness for some stellar astrophotography! Ocala National Forest is definitely one of my new favorite places in Florida just because of how beautiful it is at night. I mean, sure you have to drive like one hour and thirty minutes out of your way to get there, but you’re greeted by breath-taking views of our vast galaxy.

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Stars and constellations make themselves known while the Milky Way comes out of hiding where you can see it with the naked-eye: I almost broke down and cried because of how beautiful it was. Because I was so far away from civilization, I had to be careful with my surroundings…which can be hard to do as you’re admiring the scenery around you.

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That’s not my truck.

I recommend traveling with a few friends, bring some snacks, and the proper photography gear if you decide on traveling to the vast expanse of Ocala National Forest. Keep checking the weather days in advance to make sure the weather will be clear and not cloudy. The first time I went, I drove so far that I somehow drove past the clear weather and found myself surrounded by fog: Not cool.

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Shutter Speed: 30 seconds, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO 2500 & Focal Length: 16mm

In the realm of photography, a camera that allows for manual control and a tripod are pretty much what you need shoot photos with. In your settings, try the following exposure settings:

  • Shutter Speed: Between 20-30 seconds.There’s a thing called the “500/600 Rule” which basically involves taking either 500 or 600 and dividing it by your focal length, which is how wide you’re currently shooting (i.e. 16mm). The resulting number is the shutter speed you need to shoot at/below to stop the stars from “moving/streaking” in your image.
  • Aperture: Try to open up your aperture to its widest setting. Most lenses can do f/3.5, while other lenses can do f/2.8. In the world of photography, 2.8 is wider than 3.5.
  • ISO: This is your sensor’s sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more light it captures. Keep in mind, the higher the ISO, the more likely you are to get noise in your images. Because my 5D Mark III can handle noise fairly well, I shot at ISO 2500.

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If your photos turn out too dark, try increasing your ISO. Likewise, if your photos are too bright, consider decreasing your ISO to lower the amount of noise in your photo. Most importantly, set a 2 second delay after you press the shutter button. This will allow you to take the photo without having the camera move after you’ve touched it.

With that said, go out and have fun. That’s the most important thing!

What are the “Hippity Haps” for this week?

Hello, hello! Back at it again with the biweekly updates. With another two weeks under my belt, I cut right to the chase.

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You can catch me on the air with my good friends Lonnie and Ella Wednesday mornings on WIKD!

As usual, classes are starting to get more and more challenging as the semester progresses. And with my time management getting slightly better, I am definitely looking forward to using Spring Break as a period of time to catch up.

Yeah so you can actually see a rocket launch from campus which is legit.

Yeah so you can actually see a rocket launch from campus which is legit.

Speaking of Spring Break, I was selected to represent The Avion Newspaper at this years CMA conference in New York City. The College Media Association (CMA) is an organization that offers resources for news organizations on college campus nationally, and every year, they host a media conference where students from different colleges can meet and get feedback on their material.

Even though I’ve been to New York City many times, I am still excited for the trip. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a vacation and I’m looking forward to meeting people across the nation to gain insight and knowledge that would help benefit the newspaper.

Cue the CSI Miami music.

Cue the CSI Miami music.

It snowed in Daytona Beach.

It snowed in Daytona Beach.

In other news, Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) recently held their tri-annual safety drill. The drill, which involved the FAA, FBI, DHS, and the Red Cross, simulated an aircraft that over-ran the runway. It was nice that DAB had a reserved section for Riddle students to view the training exercise.

Ah, the new residence hall.

Ah, the new residence hall.

That’s pretty much it for now so I’ll see you all in another two weeks!