More fun!

At the expense of my procrastination, I bring to you all another blog post. With 2 weeks passed, let’s reflect on the many things that happened since February 4th.


I love name tags. Makes a you feel official.


My day was made when someone handed me a flower as I played piano while on break.

I was gonna be like “Woah, I can’t believe I got hired by the IT Department bro,” but then I realized I said that last week; so I won’t. I will, however, discuss the aspects of my job, and hopefully not bore you all to tears in the process.

In addition to golf cart driving privileges (finally) and fancy name tags, I’m a part of a 30+ person strong team that, well, fixes computers. Originally, I had the intention of wanting to work for ResNet, which is the Geek Squad equivalent of tech support for students here at Embry-Riddle, but I wound up being placed in desktop support. I really like the job, granted I work weekends and Thursdays. I mostly look at tickets that have been placed in our system and check to see which ones I can handle with my 4 hour shift on Thursday. Once the weekend comes, I’m off with a 2-3 person team that inventories, replaces, and recycles computers. It’s not a bad gig, and I’ve meet some really cool people through the job. I can’t wait to see where this job takes me.

With Spring Break rapidly approaching (4 weeks and counting) I booked my airline tickets for NJ. Normally I would fly out of Orlando to Newark, but after talking it over with my father, we both agreed that flying out of Daytona would be better. And you know what? With my last class on the 13th ending at 11:30AM with a 2:00PM flight putting me in NJ at 7PM, you can’t beat it! (Well I guess you can, if you fly out of Orlando with the 2.5 hour flight but I digress.) Anyway, I’m so excited to come home. I started making plans with old friends and will be looking forward to some R&R.

I don’t talk about it a lot, but I am a part of Embry-Riddle’s Solar Decathlon team. The Solar Decathlon is a contest set-forth by the United State Department of Energy (DoE), and it challenges schools from around the world to design and build a solar-efficient home. In years past, schools like Stevens Institute of Technology and Arizona State have competed along with schools from Italy and China. If I remember correctly, and I tend to be wrong often, this is Embry-Riddle’s first year competing so there’s a lot on the line. I’m on the architecture team and we believe that we have a design that may work. At this point, all we need to do is to finalize all of the details and submit it to the DoE by October; plenty of time right? Once that’s done, we start building the home and ship it to California in 2017 which is where and when we’ll be participating.

I flew my quadcopter again today and I was pleasantly surprised with how well it flew. I feel like if I practice just a few more times, I can start mounting cameras to it. Speaking of, as we speak, I set up my GoPro to shoot a time-lapse so I might as well go check on it. So on that bombshell, not really, I’ll see you all later!


The Final Stretch of Spring Semester

Hello hello!

I left my last entry on a “will Lynsey get a summer internship?” cliffhanger, so I think I’ll address that first… I will officially be spending my summer in Mountain View, California (AKA the most awesome city in the country – look it up) with an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates – the science version of an internship) at The SETI Institute! (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) I’ll be working with one of their scientists to study the formation of planets around different types of stars, and investigate how these planets could form to support life. I’m very excited for this opportunity, and pleased to announce that I will be blogging again this summer, so you’ll get to hear all about it!

The beach near Ft. Lauderdale. Beautiful, turquoise waters.

The beach near Ft. Lauderdale. Beautiful, turquoise waters.

Spring break came and went, and it was really awesome. Being at Riddle is great, because all of the major spring break destinations are really just a few hours away by car. I cruised down to Ft. Lauderdale at 90 mph down I-95 and spent the week there, where my boyfriend is doing an internship with Spirit Airlines this semester. He spent the days at work, and I spent them swimming, sleeping, relaxing… oh, and gambling. Ft. Lauderdale is on the Seminole Indian Reservation, so there are lots of casinos! One of my guilty pleasures is blackjack; in Minnesota the gambling age is 18, so I used to go down to the casino every couple weeks, and I usually had a pretty good turn out. Over the break I went to a couple different casinos (mostly in search of a good $5 blackjack table, which are not as common here as they are back home), and over four trips I ended up winning twice, losing once, and breaking even the last time. It’s dangerous to my finances that the casino was only 20 minutes from where I was staying – probably a good thing we don’t have any up here in Daytona.

Ville Valo of HIM at their concert in Ft. Lauderdale - we had a great view of the stage, this is an iPhone picture!

Ville Valo of HIM at their concert in Ft. Lauderdale – we had a great view of the stage, this is an iPhone picture!

While in Ft Lauderdale, one of my favorite bands, HIM, had a concert at a club downtown (a great coincidence!), so we got to see them. They’re the first band I’ve seen three times, and in three different states for each tour, and they put on a really great show – a very long set, and a good mix of some of their really old music and their newest album. This was also my first concert as a 21-year-old, and let me tell you, it ain’t cheap.

On another music-related note, The Pretty Reckless launched their new album a couple weeks ago and it’s great. That is all.

Picture of some reef fishes taken with my underwater camera in Key Largo!

Picture of some reef fishes taken with my underwater camera in Key Largo!

One of the highlights of the break was snorkeling down in Key Largo. They take you out into the ocean about 30 min by boat – to the point that you really can’t see any land – and toss you in the water, equipped with a wet suit, mask, snorkel, and fins. And the water was so nice. There is a shallow reef of the coast of Key Largo, so you swim out to the reef and get to see all sorts of really cool corals, fish, and even some jelly fish and stuff. It was an awesome experience, and I highly recommend it if you ever have the opportunity. The coolest part was having an underwater camera – pictures below! I’m doing everything I can to do “Florida things” while I’m living in Florida. Overall, this was definitely the best spring break in my three years of college. It was a great escape, and just what I needed to get back into the swing of the whole school thing, after feeling pretty burnt out the last few weeks.

10 25 24

There’s less than a month left of Spring semester, and frankly I can’t wait for it to be over. I mentioned a couple times that this semester had earned the title “semester of death,” and I think I have to agree. So I wanted to pass along a lesson that I’ve learned to any and all of you reading this, especially those of you sitting in high school having never gotten anything below a B+: college will test you. You, most likely, won’t get out of an engineering degree with a 4.0; not to discourage you from trying of course, because I certainly have been, and I’m, of course, not giving up. But I’ve had a bit of a mid-life crisis (well, quarter-life, I suppose) about my grades this semester, and I’m finally starting to learn some things:

  1. Always give your best, and realize that you can’t give more than that.
  2. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t get the A.

I’m a huge perfectionist/over-achiever/etc., and I focus so much on grades. I remember when I got my first few B’s in high school, and it felt like the end of the world – I was convinced that I wouldn’t get into the colleges I wanted to. Well, I love my college, and now I don’t even remember what my GPA was in high school. So my words of wisdom are: grades aren’t everything. Put in your best effort, learn as much as your brain can hold, and that is what makes you successful, regardless of the number on your transcript. Don’t have a mental breakdown over a poor exam grade – take that as a lesson, and improve on it in the future. Stress never helps.

Speaking of the future, I’m beginning to figure out mine. Every EP student has to complete a senior design capstone project, which you start planning during the second semester of junior year and then work on throughout your senior year. Well, I was asked to be the Guinea pig for a “senior thesis” option, aimed at students looking to go to grad school, in lieu of a group design project. I’m really excited about it, and I even have a topic, as of last week. I’ll be developing a one-dimensional atmospheric acoustics model in FORTRAN and MATLAB with flexible atmospheric parameters, which means that the model will be able to run for any planet. Then for my master’s thesis, I’ll use this model to do some scientific investigation into the propagation of atmospheric acoustic waves in the atmospheres of Venus, Earth, and Mars – three very different planets. This project will be a good mixture of planetary science, atmospheric physics, and development of a scientific tool.

Doing some homework with Sally the Space Hamster

Doing some homework with Sally the Space Hamster

That’s about it for this entry. Lots of cool stuff on the horizon, and still a lot to do before this semester comes to a close. I have three final projects and a thesis proposal to do, as well as third midterms, final exams, and standard weekly homework assignments before I’m free to go hunt aliens all summer. I’m also looking forward to having a nice long visit home before I start at SETI mid-June. And because I only needed a one-way ticket between here and home (since I’ll fly right from Minneapolis to San Francisco on SETI’s dime), and because the tickets were surprisingly cheap, I get to fly first class! That’s one to cross off the bucket list.

Oh, one more thing. ERAU does some really cool events, especially with all the different student organizations on campus. The week before spring break one of the fraternities hosted a fundraiser where you could pay $5 to sit in a pen full of puppies for 30 minutes. Who doesn’t like being climbed on by adorable puppies?



Excuse the extreme Florida-ness of my hair in this picture.

Puppy selfie! Excuse the extreme Florida-ness of my hair in this picture.

A Riddle Student’s Spring Break!

Spring Break 2014 is a wrap from all of us here at ERAU!  I just wanted to have a short “photo” blog on what an “ERAU Student Spring Break” might look like…

Inflight meal service via Biscoff cookies is a must on ANY flight!

Inflight meal service via Biscoff cookies is a must on ANY flight!  Enroute to Sebring, Florida for the 12 Hour race night practice to kick off spring break.

Flying with my dad and girlfriend is always a great time!  Here we are enroute to Muncie, Indiana from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Flying with my dad and girlfriend is always a great time! Here we are enroute to Muncie, Indiana from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I had a few chances to go flying over break and my dad's 1950 Piper PA20 Pacer was exercised quite a bit!
I had a few chances to go flying over break and my dad’s 1950 Piper PA20 Pacer was exercised quite a bit!

Descending into ATL from IND on a Delta A320.

Descending into ATL from IND on a Delta A320.


Spring Break 2013

Spring Break is here! This fact means a couple of things. First off, it means that my fellow classmates and I will be able to use this week off to catch up on some much needed sleep and relaxation. Neither of which I have been able to get much of these past few weeks. Spring break also means that the end is near! After we get back from break we have about five weeks before final examinations begin. We are getting close to the end and it is truly hard to believe I am also almost done with my first full year away at college.

The past weeks have been relatively uneventful; midterms came and went without too much stress. My parents were actually in town a couple weeks ago and it was really nice to be able to see them and spend time together. Highlights of the week included watching a spring training with my dad and having dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack.

spring training, baseball

Soaking up the rays while watching some baseball

The Daytona 500 came to town back in February and yes, it was crazy. This town was inundated with race fans and it looked completely different. Over 200,000 people were in attendance at that race and I happened to be one of them. I was able to score a free ticket since I had previously volunteered at the speedway, so me and a few of my buddies went to check it out. I have to say, I have never been a NASCAR fan, and I’m still not, but now I see what it’s all about. It was definitely a pretty cool experience to be there at the most prestigious race in the world.

Daytona 500, daytona international speeadway

On the sidelines at the Daytona 500

More Daytona 500 fun

Air Force ROTC is still going well. I wish I could tell you that you get used to waking up at 5:45 every other morning but it always seems to be a struggle to get out of that nice cozy bed. For our midterm evaluations we had to defend a “base” against the upperclassmen. It was actually pretty fun as each Squadron was assigned a specific task and we were able to apply what we have been learning this semester. Also, we had our Beach Run PT (physical training) a couple weeks back which is always a nice change of scenery. Watching the sunrise isn’t bad either.

Air Force, Daytona Beach

AFROTC Detachment 157 on the beach after PT

Spring break (especially in Florida) should be indicative of warmer weather and nicer days. That hasn’t necessarily been the case here in Daytona Beach up until now. Virtually ever since the spring semester began back in January, the temperatures have been well below average, with the exception of a few days that have made the mercury rise. Believe it or not, this morning was a chilly 39 degrees. However, cooler weather generally means better flying. Which I have not been doing much of recently since I have been preparing for my checkride (funny how that works right?). I have actually spent most of my time doing orals and studying, studying. There is a lot of knowledge, procedures and regulations that you have to be proficient with in order to pass your checkride (especially your Private Pilot checkride). However, I am done with my flight training and ready to go. My plan was to take it before spring break but bad weather, scheduling conflicts and a high workload in my other classes means I will have to wait until after we get back from spring break.

That’s all I’ve got for now, more to come in a week or so.

NASCAR, Parent Weekend, Fantasy of Flight and more


Hi everyone. February is now coming to a close and what a February it was! During the time since my last entry, Parent Weekend came and went. Other events I’ve attended were a Giant scale RC Fly-In in Deland, Fantasy of Flight air museum and the Daytona 500.

NASCAR, Daytona 500

Daytona 500

On the weekend of February 10th, my parents flew down from Vermont for Parent Weekend. During that time, parents are encouraged to attend classes with their son/daughter, and attend different programs throughout the weekend. On Saturday I was able to take my dad flying around the north practice area in preparation for my private check ride. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so much so that he took a nap on the way back in to Daytona Beach. Guess I must have done a good job in giving him a smooth ride.

On Sunday, the 10th, we went to Disney World and spent the day in Epcot. This was the first time since I was five that I was able to go to Disney. I enjoyed spending a day with my parents in Epcot and I’m sure they did as well.

The next weekend was President’s day weekend, which the student body enjoyed a three day weekend. I spent one day during that weekend attending the Deland Giant-Scale RC Fly-In. I was only a spectator since I didn’t have an airplane big enough to fly there. I was incredibly impressed at the aerobatics some of these pilots were doing. Having only flown Control-line for the past six years, I’ve gotten out of touch with the RC world and forgot just how insane the aerobatics can get.

Low knife edge pass at full throttle

During that weekend, I also attended the Sprint Unlimited, a no points winner take all NASCAR race in Daytona International Speedway. After watching NASCAR racing at Daytona for years, I never thought I would be 3 feet from the fence watching them race by at 200mph.
This past weekend I went to Fantasy of Flight with the Sport Aviation Club. Fantasy of Flight is an air museum owned by Kermit Weeks. He owns all the airplanes that are there, and the ones that are on display in the museum are ready to fly. We took multiple tours of different areas of the museum, and I was amazed at all the engines and planes that he owns. In one hangar across the street from the museum, he had the fuselage to a B-29 lying there, along with more airplanes than you count. Hopefully Kermit will restore the B-29 to flying condition and fly it since there is only one flying at this current time.

A beautiful example of a P-51B Mustang at Fantasy of Flight

The next day was the Daytona 500. After hearing about the wreck in the nationwide race the day before where the engine ended up in the stands, we were expecting a good race! Once again, watching the race in person was more entertaining than watching it on TV. Jimmie Johnson became a two-time winner of The Great American Race that day.

Kasey Kahne gets loose causing a 9 car pile-up

On the academic side of these past few weeks, everything has been going well. I’ve had very little homework which is not what I would consider normal for college. I am enjoying the lack of homework since it gives me more free time to be doing what I have been doing during the weekends. I am also very close to my private check ride, which I am hoping I will have before spring break. Progress has slowed down to a crawl since we had a bad day with weather, and waiting for my turn. The instructor I was with today said one more flight and I will be ready for my check ride, which I am really excited about.
If anyone has any questions they have regarding campus life, flying at Embry-Riddle, feel free to email me at You can also follow me on Twitter, mcolan94 or subscribe to my Youtube account, flycl756355.
‘Till next time, fair skies and light winds!
Matthew Colan

March 28, 2011

Spring break has ended. I know I should be a little bit saddened, but I am not too sad. This break (even though I live in Daytona so I didn’t travel), I had the opportunity to rest and relax as much as I could throughout the day. I’ll admit it was ended a little early seeing as I had a take-home test to do. I decided I’d do it at the end in order to get myself back into the school mood. And because I was procrastinating till the last minute to actually do the test. It took me a long time to finish but in the end I feel more accomplished for better understanding the material. School let out on a Friday, I only had one class that day but stayed there pretty late. I stayed up late (like usual but a little longer than normal and enjoyed the benefits of not having to wake up early the next day. I normally don’t go to bed early at all but getting up early by the latest 7am I could definitely enjoy sleeping in till the time of my choosing. My parents were happy to have me home (or so I think). And I was more than happy to have the benefits of not having to “buy my meal” every day.

Yes this Spring break was definitely something to remember and appreciate. I may not have gone all around where I wanted to go, but, I had the chance to be with the people I love and sleep a little more than I’m use to. Sure I returned back to school kind of early but I don’t regret it. Just know that tomorrow (Monday) when I wake up from having 4-5 hours of sleep around 6:45am-7am, I can breathe a sigh of relief because not only did I ave a beautiful spring break but I am one step closer to the summer break….that’s five weeks to be more specific.

Beautiful ending to a beautiful day! (Photo taken by me: Hannah Langhorn)

March 22, 2010

Oh my goodness, here we are at the end of Spring Break! Now it’s time to get back to the books and finish out the semester! Spring Break was wonderful and I love when my sister comes to visit me. She likes being down here in Florida with me so much that she has decided to move down here in May. I can’t wait to be roommates with my sister! Originally, we had wanted to go to the same college my freshman year and live together then, but other events occurred that prevented our plan. While she was here over the break, we went apartment hunting and found one that we both fell in love with. We found out the day before she left that we got the apartment and we were relieved to have found a place. Now comes the fun part, planning how we are going to decorate!

After apartment hunting, we spent the rest of our time relaxing and discovering Daytona. The weather still hasn’t warmed up to the original temperatures, so we only spent one day at the beach and we didn’t dare get in the water. I just barely placed my toe in the surf and it felt like an ice cube was touching my toe! We wanted to go parasailing but we decided to wait until May when it’s warmer. One day after discovering that it was too cold to sunbathe at the beach, we decided to take a drive along the Ormond Beach Scenic Highway. In some spots, the water was so high that it almost came up to the edge of the road. I thought the whole drive had gorgeous scenery and think it would be even prettier when there are flowers in bloom and everything is green.

Do you believe in ghosts? My sister and I were looking for something interesting to do and found the Haunts of Daytona Tour. I had never gone on a ghost tour before, but always thought that it would be really fun. We’re hoping to see some ghosts on the tour and we weren’t disappointed. In the pictures are white circles called orbs.

The tour guide asked us at one point if we could hear any noise. I didn’t know what she was talking about at first. Then I heard a  ting-ting noise along the fence around the cemetery.Apparently, they have investigated where the noise could be originating from and there is no logical explanation. There are no trees near the fence or chains to make the clinking noise. The ghost making the noise is a little boy who runs along the fence hitting it. This part of the tour was pretty creepy because the noise wasn’t just in one spot but it could be heard from one end of the fence to the other end. The picture here is of the black fence above the cement wall.

The last picture here is zoomed in to get a closer look at the orb. I would recommend the Haunts of Daytona Tour. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, a lot of history of Daytona Beach and people who have lived there was covered in the tour. The tour lasted about two hours and costs $10. The money goes to preserving and taking care of cemeteries.

Now that Spring Break is over, I’m looking forward to traveling to New York City for three days next week. The Alumni Center at school is taking me along with some other students to have a luncheon with aviation industry leaders. I’m looking forward to the trip because I’ve never been to New York before. I’ll be sure to take my camera and capture lots of pictures to share with you all in my next entry. After that trip, my birthday will be right around the corner and then before I know it—graduation!

Until next time,


March 2010

Traveling has become a regular part of my life at Embry-Riddle. The school’s students travel from all over the world to learn about every facet of aviation. While my travels to home are not as far as others, it’s still a plane ride to get home to the Philadelphia area. This past week, Embry-Riddle went on spring break, and I was able to catch up with friends, travel, and go to a conference on emerging technologies.

Flying in and out of Daytona, I was fortunate enough to have a few friends travel with me. Even in Philadelphia, I met with a good friend in the terminal who was heading back to Embry-Riddle on another airline. At Embry-Riddle, students meet people from all over the country and all over the world. The school is a melting pot of aviation enthusiasts, which provides unique perspectives. I have been fortunate enough to make friends with a few students from the Northeast, and they frequently fly through Philadelphia to get back to Daytona – it works out great!

Fellow students have been pushing me to finally get my pilot’s license. While I am not an aeronautical science major, I did decide to pursue a private pilot’s license at a young age. With about 50 hours logged in a Diamond Eclipse, I am more than ready to take the written exam, but… I just need to study more – I spent a good chunk of my spring break studying.

On Friday, I attended The Wharton School’s “Emerging Technologies Update Day.” During the past three summers, I have worked as a summer research assistant for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School’s Mack Center for Technological Innovation, one of Wharton’s 25 research centers. Fortunately, one of this years conferences fell on a date I was home, and I was able to go and listen to presentations from senior executives from Intel, IBM, NBC / GE, Nokia, and Teradata – just to name a few. It was great to see familiar faces and people I have worked with the past three years. I plan on working there this summer.

Overall, spring break as productive and relaxing. It was great to catch up on sleep after a long week of midterms and a few tests the week preceding spring break. I have about a month and a half before I go home again, and by then I will have completed my first year of college!

Be sure to check back in two weeks for another post.

Until then,


March 2010

Spring Break! Here’s a recap of what I did during my week off from classes…

I ventured down to Orlando with a few friends and we went to Universal Studios for a few days! What a blast! I always wanted to go to Disney World and Universal Studios since I was a kid. My family and I went to Disney when I was about three but I do not remember the experience all that well. It was only two years ago when both my parents and my sister could all have the time off from work and me from college (RIT) to go to Disney. And now, this past week I was finally able to go to Universal Studios. I have always been a big fan of amusement parks as they take you away from all your worries in the world and they make you to feel like a kid again.

I tend to forget that I am 1200 miles away from home, soaking it up in the sun, going to the beach, and I have only an hour’s drive to Universal Studios. It’s a whole new atmosphere down here in Florida and my mind sometimes forgets where I am really at…

To my family, I wish you all could have been here!

When I was not relaxing outside, I spent the rest of my time working on my NASA competition projects and created a few digital space art images. Here is just one picture I designed over the break.

Now being that Spring Break has come to an end, I must begin reorganizing myself for classes and complete some homework that I purposely disregarded :o)

Until then… See you out there!

March 23, 2009

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful spring break!

Whew! What a long two weeks. My simulator class, FA 420, started two weeks ago. It is amazing, but a lot of work. I am learning everything there is to know about the CRJ-200 aircraft; how it works, why it works, and how to fly it. I love learning the technical side of a jet aircraft; however, it definitely takes up a lot of your time. I had my first test last Monday and I got 91! It was the highest grade in the class; however I studied 12 hours for it. My second test was this morning and I got a 95 after studying for 15 hours. Let’s just say, the last two weeks I have been nose deep in an aircraft manual. But, even though it sounds painful, it actually isn’t. When you enjoy learning something, it goes by extremely fast. I would much rather study an aircraft systems book than a history book. I find it much more fascinating. Over the next few weeks, I will be getting into the good stuff, especially learning just how to fly this incredible aircraft. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Now on the topic of spring break. That is where the location of Embry-Riddle is extremely awesome! Why leave when spring break comes to you? I just chilled at the beach most of the week and then got caught up on all of my homework. It was a well needed break.

Other than that, I have just been flying across Florida with my students, getting ready to graduate, and enjoying my last 5 weeks as a student. I hope everyone has a great week! I’m off to class.