A little over a week ago the Artemis I mission launched to the Moon, and it couldn’t have come at a busier time in the semester. Officially lifting off at 01:47:44 AM, I was near the Cape watching it live and in person. The two-hour launch window opened around 1 AM, so we left Daytona at 1:30 to make sure we could get down in time and find a spot- the launch was very popular.
My school schedule is a lot busier than it was last year, so I haven’t been able to go to a lot of launches. I did, however, go to a Falcon Heavy return-to-site launch where I heard two sonic booms. The launch was timed perfectly to go an hour and a half before class, so I was able to get back in time. That launch was in the morning, and this launch was my first night launch of the semester.
Of course, Artemis I was a popular launch so there were five people in the car driving down. Most people had proactively brought bug spray (I, unfortunately, didn’t) since this is Florida and there are mosquitos-a-plenty. The spot we chose was full of people, but we were still able to get a good view.
Most of the time was spent waiting on the rocket. I unfortunately didn’t get any good pictures since we were so far away, but we could see the launchpad. It was exciting since I’d seen the rocket on the pad during a trip to Kennedy Space Center, and when it launched, it lit up the whole sky. It was literally like daylight. I definitely do not regret going- I would’ve stayed up even later for the opportunity to see it.
I was pretty exhausted by the time the rocket was gone from sight, and I ended up promptly falling asleep on the drive home. Thankfully I was not driving, and after I got back to my apartment, I ended up going to bed immediately. When I arrived in class the next morning, I found out that a lot of my classmates were also tired from staying up to watch the launch.
On Wednesday afternoon, the College of Aviation hosted a forum day complete with free caramel apples, a Hungry Hippos–themed inflatable game, and a Wipeout-style red ball obstacle course. I played the Hungry Hippos game and ended up coming in last place, but it was fun nonetheless, and actually made it from one side to the other on the Wipeout game. It was definitely a much-needed break in between my classes.
After that, the week continued on through Friday and I had a weekend full of homework before ending up here- the week of Thanksgiving break. I’m excited for the break. I’m going home to Kentucky to see my family and pets, which will be fun. I’ll only be there for three days, but it’s a quick little vacation from school. Then it’s two or so weeks to finals, finals week, and then winter break- which will definitely be fun. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!
Over the past weekend, Hurricane Nicole hit the Daytona Beach area, making a very interesting four-day weekend. We originally had three days off, since Friday was Veteran’s Day, but on Tuesday the university announced that classes would be canceled on Thursday as well. As the storm loomed closer, they also canceled all classes on Wednesday after 12 PM.
I had an exam at 9 AM on Wednesday morning, which we did take, and then headed back to my apartment to participate in Boeing’s EAHI matching discussions. It had already rained in the morning, so we were seeing the outer bands of the storm. A lot of professors chose to teach online or have an online option, which was nice since I have recorded lectures to watch and reference if I need to.
This storm was calmer than the last, but the eye of the storm did not pass over the Daytona area. From what I heard, the winds were not as strong and there was not as much rainfall. I did some homework on Wednesday evening, making sure to keep an eye on the hurricane supplies I had. I had plenty of nonperishables and water when I prepared for Hurricane Ian, so I wasn’t too worried.
I ended up staying over with a friend and we baked a cake on Wednesday night, leaving it to cool before frosting it on Thursday morning. It was not a normal breakfast, but it was a delicious one nonetheless.
After eating cake for breakfast (totally healthy, I know) I ended up doing a little more homework before we drove around Daytona. The winds weren’t as strong and the ground was clearly visible, so I felt safe driving around. From what I saw, the only area that had been severely flooded was by the bridge to Daytona Beach Shores.
This was definitely different than Ian- with Ian, there were plenty of flooded areas since there was more rainfall. During Ian, the ICI parking lot was flooded; during Nicole, the pavement on the parking lot was clearly visible and the fountain had not overflowed.
We did drive by the airport and noted that the visiting Aer Lingus aircraft was still there. It’s an Airbus A330, and it landed on Tuesday night. Originally going from Orlando to Manchester, England, the pilots declared an emergency and diverted to Daytona because of smoke in the cabin. The passengers and crew deplaned and the aircraft was left on the ramp.
By Thursday night, everything had calmed down. I ended up going to Buc-ees with a friend. After that, we picked up a third friend and walked around Target, which was surprisingly open. After going to Target I ended up going back to my apartment and hanging out.
I took Friday and Saturday off since I felt like I deserved a vacation. The storm had passed and my apartment didn’t have any damage, most of the damage hit the coast and beachfront properties. That’s the one thing that I like about Embry-Riddle; it’s a few miles inland so when weaker hurricanes hit, damage is less likely to happen.
I got to play with my roommate’s kitten this weekend, and she (the kitten) is definitely growing. The apartment complex I’m in allows pets for a fee, and I’m glad I get to live with a cat. Her name is Chandelle and she’s the cutest little thing! I want to get a cat of my own someday, but maybe now isn’t the time. I’m super busy and still a student, so it’d be harder to afford one.
This week is the last full week before Thanksgiving break, and then I’m headed back to Kentucky to see my parents. After that, December will come quickly, and then it’s finals week. There’s a lot to look forward to, and I’m very excited about the holiday season. So I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!
Last week was fall break, but on the weekend before fall break, I went to my first RAP- also known as a Regional Admissions Presentation- in Dallas, followed by my second one in Houston. They’re different than the accepted student receptions in the fall (I attended five: three in March and two in April), but they’re still engaging and fun!
To get the weekend started, I headed down to the Orlando airport (MCO) around 1:30 with one of our admissions employees. If I fly out of Daytona, or DAB, I’m usually responsible for getting a ride to and from the airport (it’s literally walking distance from campus) but Orlando is much farther away. I can definitely say that Orlando’s airport is much more chaotic than Daytona’s, considering that it has many more airlines and gates. We flew Southwest Airlines on a direct flight to Dallas Love Field, which is the smaller airport in the area. On the way, we did stop over at the New Orleans airport (MSY), which was my first airline stopover in all my years of travel.
Orlando’s security lines are no joke. I was glad that we got there with plenty of time to spare since the line took me nearly an hour to get through. After that, I took the train to our terminal and arrived at the gate. I was still an hour and a half early, so I mostly watched aircraft taxi around the ramp. We boarded the aircraft and it was a short flight to New Orleans, where most of the passengers got off. Since everyone who was stopping over could stay on the plane, we were also free to switch seats, so I picked a window seat in the exit row for extra legroom.
It was a pretty view. I got to watch the sun set over New Orleans and watch aircraft come and go at the gate next to us. I took the picture of this 737 MAX as we were pushing back from the gate. The flight from New Orleans to Dallas was also pretty short, but I still managed to do some homework. While I get to travel, I don’t get extensions on my homework, so I have to be proactive when I know I have a trip coming up.
We arrived in Dallas at a decent hour, heading from the airport to the rental car place and then to the hotel. Once we dropped our things off at the hotel, we ended up going out to Burger King for dinner, since we hadn’t had anything to eat since leaving Daytona. We took it back to our hotel room, and I finished up some homework before heading to bed.
The next morning I got to sleep in. The presentation was around 1, which meant we left at 11:15 since the guest hotel was right down the street. I also got to meet our Prescott counterparts- there were two Prescott admissions representatives and a student from Prescott. She also happened to be from Kentucky, which was pretty cool!
Since I hadn’t been to a regional presentation before, I looked through the slides and was told where I would be speaking. Since I had internship experience, I could speak to that, and I also talked about my experience on campus. It was definitely a different format since information about both residential campuses as well as the Worldwide campus were presented. The application process was also discussed since it’s still early in application season and people may not have applied yet.
After that, we stuck around to answer questions and I ended up talking to a lot of people. Talking to people is my favorite part. I love meeting new people and sharing my experiences. There were about a hundred or so people in total, and a good handful stuck around to talk to all of us.
Once the reception was over, we packed up our things and it was on to Houston! I honestly didn’t realize how big Texas was. I thought Dallas and Houston were maybe two hours apart, but they were FOUR hours apart. And of course, we stopped at a Buc-ees on the way out.
We actually ended up stopping at a second Buc-ees to get gas, and then we drove the final stretch to Houston. After arriving in Houston, we checked into our hotel and set our stuff down before going to dinner as a group. We picked a place with a lot of options. It had lots of different international food options, and I chose ramen noodles for dinner. They were amazing!
After that, we headed back to the hotel to get another night’s rest, since there was another admissions presentation the next day. I did a little more homework in the evening, got a good night’s rest, and then did more homework in the morning. I had a few assignments due that day and that week since it was right before fall break, so it was a pretty stressful time.
The presentation in Houston was hosted in a larger room, which I thought was a lot fancier. The presentation was the same as the one in Dallas, and I got the same opportunities to speak to the group and then individually to families. Once the Dallas presentation was over and everyone had left, it was time to head back to the airport.
We were flying Southwest back, and flew out of the smaller airport, Houston Hobby. I liked it a lot- it was open, used natural light, and the security lines were quick. There was an abundance of flights going in and out, so I had plenty to look at while I waited. There was also a nice food court, so I grabbed dinner before the two-hour (ish) flight to Orlando. I also spotted the Freedom One aircraft, which is painted like the US flag.
We landed in Orlando around 11 PM, and I had school (and the counselor had work) the next day on Monday so we were in a hurry to leave. After grabbing our luggage, we headed to the car and made the hour-long drive back to Daytona. I was glad to be back home, but traveling is super fun. I don’t have any more regional admissions presentations to attend, but Open House is coming up. Hopefully, I’ll see you there, and if not, in the next post!
So the last time I was in a small aircraft, I went flying with a few Riddle friends. The time before that, I went along with another friend, who was preparing for his commercial checkride. However, those were both small single-engine aircraft. The Colorado aircraft was a Piper Cherokee, and the other a Cessna 172. This semester, I got to experience the Diamond DA-42, Embry-Riddle’s twin-engine training aircraft for multi-engine students.
Chris has since passed his checkride, so I convinced him to take me along for a ride. All Embry-Riddle students are eligible to ride in the back seat of the aircraft (commonly referred to as “backseating”). The only condition is that the flight instructor and student must agree. The flight I got to backseat was his cross-country, flying from Daytona Beach (KDAB) to St. Simons Island Airport (KSSI). It was pretty cool- the Diamond moves a lot faster than the Cessnas.
To backseat a flight, first you stop at the dispatch desk with the student you’re accompanying. They’ll sometimes send you up to the flight supervisor’s desk, or sometimes they’ll give you the badge at the dispatch desk. Once you have the badge, you fill out some paperwork while the flight student begins their preflight activities inside. When the student is ready to go to the aircraft, someone from the dispatch desk will escort you to the plane (or you can wait for the flight instructor to escort you).
While Chris preflighted the aircraft, I mostly stayed out of the way and looked around. I hadn’t been out on the ramp since last year when a GoJet aircraft visited and students were allowed to tour it. It took about half an hour to preflight the plane, and then we waited for the instructor to come. And that’s when the real activity began.
As one would before any sort of flight, you have to get from point A (the ramp) to point B (the runway) on the ground. To do that, pilots need to gain clearance and instructions from air traffic control. After we got to the runway, the run-up checklist was performed to make sure the aircraft was still doing okay. Since it was, we waited for our takeoff clearance, and then we were off!
The flight was pretty cool. Chris had filed an IFR (instrument flight rules) flight plan, which meant he could fly through low visibility and clouds. We ended up flying through several clouds, and I can see why instrument ratings are important. Sometimes it was hard to see the wingtip of the aircraft, which was only several feet away.
The flight was around an hour each way, so within the hour we were coming up on St. Simon’s Island. I noticed that there were some heavy crosswinds on the landing, but Chris did just fine. We didn’t come to a full stop- we ended up doing a touch and go before turning around and heading back to Daytona Beach.
The flight on the way back was the opposite on the way to Daytona. We passed through the clouds again, flying back down the coastline. It was pretty cool to see Riddle from the sky- it’s always an amazing sight to see. When standing next to the buildings, they look huge, but from the sky, they look tiny.
After we landed, we headed back to the Riddle ramp. Since people are constantly walking on the ramp, pilots must taxi slowly and be conscious of their surroundings. Once we parked, Chris filled out some paperwork telling the school how long the flight was and where the aircraft was parked, and we walked back into the building.
I was free to go, but flight students do a debrief after each activity (ground instruction, flight simulator, or flight). It’s a way for flight students to discuss how the activity went- what the student did well and what they can improve on. Flight training at ERAU is rigorous, but I can tell that the university wants its students to succeed.
See you in the next blog post… and hopefully at Riddle!
Hurricane preparation started on Friday when I first learned of Ian’s existence, then as a tropical storm. I didn’t think too much of it until the storm kept gathering strength and it was clearly going to hit parts of Florida. I started checking the National Hurricane Center’s tracker, which is updated every three hours to keep an eye on the storm (the graphic archive can be found here).
On Monday, the university sent out a few emails stating that there were no hurricane plans in place (such as canceling classes or closing down campus). The latest Monday email did state that the Emergency Operations Team would meet at 10:30 AM on Tuesday to discuss and make decisions. The next email came around noon on Tuesday, stating that classes on Wednesday through Friday would be canceled, and the university itself would close at 5 PM on Wednesday.
I only had one class on Tuesday, which was from 11:15 AM to 12:30 PM. During that class, the hurricane closure notice hit, and I watched the class split between freaking out and being excited that class was canceled. I’m from Kentucky, so I’ve never lived through a hurricane- I’ve only received the ending thunderstorms of hurricanes, and by then, they’re not bad.
After class, I started my official hurricane preparations. While the Daytona Beach area remained in the cone of uncertainty, we were usually on the edge of the cone so I didn’t do a lot of preparing beforehand. I first had to figure out if I wanted to evacuate or shelter in place. I talked to a few people- one meteorology major, a pilot with a meteorology minor, and a pilot who interned with the National Weather Service. All three predicted that it wouldn’t hit our area detrimentally and that it would be okay to stay if I prepared.
I didn’t really want to leave since my dorm room is set up nicely and I could easily stay in there. Once I had made the decision to stay, I immediately went to the local Walmart to try and buy hurricane supplies- water, nonperishable food that did not need refrigeration, and anything else I thought I might need. I also tried looking for flashlights, but the store was out of a lot of outdoorsy stuff.
The first rain associated with the very outer bands was only an hour long, and it hit while I was inside Walmart. The eye of the hurricane had just passed over Cuba, but one small detached section of the rain extended to the Daytona area. I ended up running to my car and throwing everything in the back during the rain.
Tuesday night was kind of chaotic. All of my meetings for the week were canceled, and the ERAU shuttle service was stopping at 5 PM instead of 8 PM. By then I was safely back in my dorm, continuing my hurricane preparations. I charged all of my devices and began working on homework that I had due during the week in case the power went out and I couldn’t do it otherwise.
I heard from a few friends that they evacuated the Diamond DA-42s (the multi-engine aircraft) to Dothan, AL while most of the Cessnas (single-engine) were stored in a local hangar. Unfortunately, even with them packed like sardines, there was not enough space to put all of them in the hangar, so a few remained chained down to the ramp.
I ended up staying up until the 11 PM update from the National Hurricane Center, just to see what was happening with the hurricane. It had not hit the Tampa area yet, but they had already begun seeing rain.
Wednesday came, and when I woke up, there was a strong downpour. I definitely didn’t dare venture outside, but I still had power and running water. My professors with assignments due on weeknights had all moved the due dates to next week when school was back in session, which I was thankful for. Around 11:30 AM, I did get the hurricane warning emergency alert from my phone.
I didn’t do a whole lot on Wednesday and didn’t venture outside. It was a pretty boring day, but I did keep my devices charging in case we lost power. I did keep my phone charging and emergency alerts on- hurricanes can produce tornadoes, and I wanted to make sure I was safe. Obviously, hurricanes can flood the area, but I wasn’t as worried since I live on the third floor of my building.
At around 6 AM on Thursday, my phone awoke me with a flash flood warning alert until 10 AM. I ended up going back to sleep and let the storm rage on outside. The center of the then-tropical storm didn’t pass over Daytona Beach directly, but it went over the Cape Canaveral area around 8 AM on Thursday.
Thursday was… interesting. Ian was still raging, but only at the force of a tropical storm. Volusia County was under a curfew and people weren’t supposed to leave their houses for any reason. Thursday was another slow day- I did end up doing some homework since the power was still on, but that was really it.
Friday was more laid back. I got to see the sun for the first time in a few days, and everything for me was semi-regular. I never lost power or water throughout the storm, but I know several people in the Daytona area did. I checked up on my friends, and then it was kind of back to normal for me- do homework due in the week, study for upcoming quizzes and tests, and wait for Monday.
All of my professors have been very understanding during the hurricane. Some of them lost power themselves, so they understand the struggles that we face (especially off-campus students). The professors with assignments and tests in the week have all been postponed until the second half of the week (Wednesday and on) with room for negotiation if students are severely affected. The university also sent out an email that stated students will not be penalized for traveling due to the hurricane since flights into Daytona are still sparse.
Daytona Beach is still cleaning up the hurricane’s damage, and it probably will be for a few weeks or so. I know people who lost a lot in the hurricane, and ERAU is setting up an emergency fund for those affected. I’m looking towards the future- what’s damaged is damaged, and I plan on helping those affected as much as I can. I hope that the ERAU community will be doing well by the time Open House rolls around, which is in about a month. Maybe I’ll see you there- and if not, I’ll see you in the next post!
My internship ended almost a month ago, which means now is the time to look back on it and think about what I’ve learned. Of course, I learned a lot of technical skills and gained industry experience, but non-technical things are also important. Just because a skill isn’t technical doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable- for example, communication is a great “soft” skill that is essential to every workplace. So, here’s a list of some of the major non-technical things I learned from my internship!
1. You are not going to know everything and that’s okay. What you do know will still help! That was certainly true for me. I had my ERAU education which was a good foundation. However, internships and jobs are not like the world of academia. Problems in academia are designed under certain simplifying assumptions. However, in real life, these assumptions are not always valid. Yes, you’ll likely be using in-class concepts to work on aircraft or rockets instead of, say, a baseball being thrown in a projectile motion problem. However, the aircraft or rocket problem takes more things into account than the baseball problem.
A lot of jobs have specific software that they like to use, and you might not be familiar with it. For example, ERAU uses CATIA for computer modeling, but several companies use different computer modeling software like AutoCAD or Solidworks. That doesn’t make your CATIA skills useless, it just means that you’ll have to adapt to a new software.
2. You might not use everything you’ve learned in class. That’s pretty normal- they’re not useless and unrelated, but your specific job might not use those concepts. For example, I took statics and solid mechanics at ERAU and never once used them in my internship. To be fair, I was a systems engineer and not a structural/stress engineer. I had no real reason to use those concepts when there were full-time structural and stress engineers whose entire jobs were to analyze the structure of different aircraft. My roommate was a structural engineer, and she ended up using the concepts she learned in solid mechanics and structures classes during her internship. It really depends on what type of internship you have. It’s also good to know what type of internships to look for. If you don’t like your structures classes, then don’t look for structures internships and jobs.
3. Get to know your coworkers, both full-time and your fellow interns. They’ll make a good job even better. I’m serious! If you’re having a slow day, your coworkers will make it go a lot faster. I also feel more comfortable asking questions of people I know rather than people who feel like strangers. Knowing your coworkers may also help you in your downtime- if you share similar interests, they may be able to provide recommendations. For example, some of my fellow interns were Colorado natives and suggested some hiking trails.
4. The work week is 40 hours; there are 168 hours in a week. Do fun things when you’re not at work!! In my time at SNC, on average, I worked 40-hour weeks. Sure, we got holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July off, but on a regular week, I worked 40-hour weeks. This allowed me to do fun things on the weekend and on the weeknights. I went hiking, went to the Denver cat cafe, Colorado Rockies games, Pike’s Peak, Elitch Gardens (an amusement park), the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and over to friends’ apartments. During the course of my internship, I stayed in an Airbnb, and my Airbnb host had a dog. She was more than happy to let me take him for walks, which was a good exercise for both of us!
5. If you don’t like your job, that’s okay- but try and find a job you do like! Not everyone will like their first internship- and that’s okay. I loved mine, but I have a few friends who didn’t like theirs. Instead of choosing to be miserable, I noticed that they would ask other people about their jobs and see what they were like. As I mentioned before, you likely won’t use every single class from your degree in real life. I liked my internship, but I also liked a few of my other classes and never got to see the course content used. So, I ended up asking around to see what other jobs did, and I found interest in a few other jobs. I want to keep exploring my options, so I’ll probably apply for internships like the other jobs to see if I like those, too!
That’s the last tip I have! Hopefully, you enjoyed my three-part series about obtaining an internship, what to do when you’re not working, and my concluding thoughts. I enjoyed writing the posts and definitely enjoyed the internship! I currently don’t have an internship for next summer, but the cycle is just starting and I’m excited to see what I do next. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!
“So, do you have any plans for the Fall semester?”
“I am graduating!”
I found myself talking to many friends, family, and co-workers about my plans for Fall. I told many that I currently have 4 jobs now. I told others that I am taking five classes. I told some that I am graduating in December. Many I told all 3 of those things.
I knew this was going to be a busy semester and I was looking forward to it. I am taking 5 Spaceflight Operations courses, I am currently serving as the President of SWISE (Society of Women in Space Exploration) and the Vice President of SSPOC (Spaceflight Sciences Policy and Operations Club). We have so many exciting events planned this semester and will get to go to SpaceVision 2022 in Chicago this year! SpaceVision is a conference held annually that allows students and professionals to learn, network, and grow their teams or potentially land an interview for a company! In addition to my 5 classes, I am working 4 jobs. Waitressing, office work, blogging, and being a flight controller all at the same time is hard to balance! Life is a balancing act though and to succeed, you have to find the time and focus.
I believe mental health is a huge deal, and especially this semester I have been focusing on it more than ever. Balancing life present day is hard for everyone! I always make time for myself to wind down, relax, and do something nice for me and my body. Now that the new Fitness Center that just opened on campus, I can spend some time in the mornings doing my stretches and workouts. The pool is another great feature students can use to relax and go for a morning (or evening) swim. Also, they have classes you can take that are usually held upstairs in one of the studios. The cycling class looks pretty fun to try.
These first few weeks have been great! I am currently searching for a new executive team for the SWISE to help run the club through our social media page, I already purchased my textbooks, organized my planner, mapped out my classes, and attended the first SSPOC meeting which turned out to be so fulfilling. We had about 50 members show up (new and old!).
I found time to spend outside of school the last few weeks too. I spent time with family and loved ones, had a cookout on Labor Day, and even tried a new combination of my two favorite Italian ice flavors (cotton candy and blueberry) at Jeremiah’s Italian Ice at OneDaytona! I recommend this place to any Riddle student looking to have fun, make new friends, and have some great ice cream. We always make new friends at this spot and it is always busy at night bustling with music, lights, and gelati-lovers.
Although I am graduating, this won’t be my last semester here. I am currently applying to the M.S. in Systems Engineering at the Daytona Beach campus! I am so grateful I get to continue my education here at Embry-Riddle. I can’t wait to see what else this semester brings! Until next time!
I am back on the Embry-Riddle campus and it’s definitely good to be back! The drive back from the Denver area was about 27 hours, which wasn’t super fun. I was on the Orientation Team again this year (last year was super fun too!), which meant I had to be in town on the Monday after my internship ended for training.
This year, a few of the events, unfortunately, got cancelled early or entirely cancelled because of the weather. Even so, I had a lot of fun. Over orientation week, I did a lot of walking and running around campus welcoming new students. At the end of orientation, it was still kind of rainy, so the Movie in the Hangar event got moved inside the Student Union, and we took the team picture in front of balloons spelling out ERAU.
After orientation week, just like last year, the annual Honors Mentor/Mentee social was hosted on the Sunday before classes started. I was a mentor again this year, and everyone got ice cream and got to meet their mentors and mentees. It unfortunately rained on that afternoon, so it was moved inside to the first floor of the aviation maintenance science building.
Just like last year, the orientation team wore their PFG shirts on the first day. However, this year, we also played a spotting game, taking pictures of each other as we walk around campus. It was easiest to identify us in our PFGs, but the game still continues to this day (although not as much). Someone took this photo of me heading into the union on the first day.
The rest of the week was pretty normal. My five classes kicked into gear, and I’m liking them so far. Yes, I already have homework, but I worked on it over the long weekend. The first week of school is also the Week of Welcome, geared towards new students but open for everyone to participate. The week usually has a lot of free food and giveaways- this year, there was a lemonade stand and free ice cream!
I am living off-campus this year, so I’ve started using the shuttles that the Student Government Association provides free of charge to students. It’s pretty convenient. There’s a shuttle from my off-campus apartment to the student union about every 20 minutes, from early in the morning to the beginning of the evening. The shuttle runs every scheduled school day, which meant that it didn’t run over the Labor Day weekend, but I have a car so I can easily get to campus if needed.
As many people know, Artemis I was scheduled to initially launch on the first day of school, and then postponed to Saturday. Since I had class, I couldn’t attend the Monday launch time, but it was also scrubbed and rescheduled. Saturday was also a scrub, but my friend group hadn’t gotten down to the Cape yet- we were only on the road for about 10 minutes. It was unfortunate, but I’m hoping I get to see it launch before we go home for winter break.
The only upside was that I did get to see it on the launchpad. On Sunday, I took a few of my friends down to Kennedy Space Center. I’d won free tickets from ERAU Athletics and reserved my four tickets, which meant I got to spend the whole day at KSC for free! Last semester’s trip was super fun, but it was nice to go again and see the new exhibit. It had spacefaring vehicles from a bunch of different companies, including Sierra Space’s DreamChaser and Lockheed Martin’s Orion capsule (which is actually on top of the SLS).
Overall, it was a good long weekend. I think a few of my friends went home super quickly, which is much easier if you live on the East Coast. I was happy staying in Daytona Beach, starting the homework that’s already been assigned and going out with my friends. I’ll see you in the next post… and maybe at Riddle (or KSC)!
I don’t know about you, but my summer went pretty well! I spent most of it in the Denver, Colorado area, working as a Systems Engineering Intern for Sierra Nevada Corporation. The internship was super cool and it’s an excellent way for me to make my first step into the aerospace industry, and I am grateful to everyone who helped me along the way. (If you’re interested in how I got to SNC- it’s here!)
I liked the flexibility I had on the job. I worked 40 hours per week, but the hours were flexible within a reasonable time period- some people liked to start their day at 7 AM while others preferred to start around 8 or 8:30. Some people took lunch breaks; others worked while they ate lunch. In addition, it was completely different from the retail jobs I’ve had no one was walking around the intern room making sure that we were on task. We were treated like responsible adults.
I learned a lot over the three months I was there, and I made some new friends! However, Denver is no Daytona Beach- it snowed on the second Friday in a freak snowstorm. I mostly stayed inside that weekend, since my roommate had just moved in. But the week after was Memorial Day weekend, so I had a three-day weekend.
A few of the other interns and I decided that we’d want to go hiking. It sounded fun to me- the trail was about four miles round-trip, and it was only an hour and a half away from my Airbnb.
Unfortunately, we ran into some snow and I had not yet bought proper hiking boots, so I ended up sliding down a small snowbank in my leggings and horrible hiking shoes. I didn’t end up making it to the top because of the snow- the hike was at a pretty high elevation, and my flats were not doing very well. I still found the hike worthwhile, I got to get to know my fellow interns and enjoy a walk through nature.
Over the summer I only ended up doing one other hike, this time at Red Rocks trail. By then I had adequate hiking shoes, and that hike was also during the heat of the summer. The view was breathtaking, but we had to leave after a few minutes since we heard thunder. Throughout the summer, the other interns did a lot of hikes, including a 14,000-foot mountain. That, to me, is dedication.
What else did I do? Whatever else I wanted.
For a lot of the summer, I mostly hung out around my Airbnb. I had a roommate, who I met online, and the Airbnb was fully furnished and came with dishes and utensils. It was perfect for a summer internship- it even came with a dog! We lived in a family’s basement, and it was great since they had anything we needed (such as a rice cooker), so I didn’t need to buy plastic utensils for the summer or worry about finding a three-month apartment lease.
Like a full-time employee, I was free to do whatever I wanted on my days off. For example. over the Fourth of July weekend, I ended up visiting one of my friends in Santa Barbara on a direct flight from Denver. I flew out on a Friday evening and came back on Monday, which we had off since it was the Fourth of July.
While on that visit, we ended up driving to Solvang and Buellton, which are both in the valley. Buellton is known for Ostrichland, USA, where tourists can feed a bunch of ostriches and emus. I’d never really seen an ostrich up close, but once I did, I realized just how huge they are. I know they’re flightless birds, but I hope I never see an ostrich run after me.
I also attended two Rockies games with my friends! I’m not a huge sports fan, but in my opinion, baseball games are a good place to hang out. Yes, people can actually watch the game, but people who aren’t as into the spot can walk around the stadium and explore. The Rockies stadium had three levels, and the view from the top one was breathtaking. I even spotted a few flights.
Near the end of the summer, I ended up visiting the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, which is an hour south of the Denver area. The zoo is quite literally built on a mountain, but I think it was a better choice than the Denver zoo since you get to interact with the animals a little more. I fed giraffes, watched wallabies freely run around the Australia exhibit, and saw plenty of big cats lying in the sun. It was a great experience, and I was glad I got the chance to experience it.
I loved my time in Denver with Sierra Nevada Corporation and am extremely thankful to everyone who helped me along the way. I highly recommend getting an internship. Not only does it give you the chance to experience the real engineering world, but it also gives you a chance to see what you’re doing with your degree. I’ll be honest, in some of my classes, I felt like some of the example problems weren’t directly related to my future career. However, I see how the concepts are applied to the real engineering world, even if not in my area of interning. For example, my roommate was a structural engineering intern, and the concepts I learned in solid mechanics applied to her internship. Talking to other interns was a good way to get to know everyone and learn about what disciplines would be for me.
While I miss SNC, it feels good to be home at Embry-Riddle. Classes have just started, and I’m excited to see what I’ll learn this semester. I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!
“I don’t think I will be getting an internship this summer,” is what I kept telling my boss at Embry-Riddle Admissions. “I applied to over 75 positions and over 30 different companies, and nothing came back!” I was preparing to stay at home for the summer and continue to work in the Admissions Office, despite the fact that I really needed an internship. That all changed when I decided to reach out to Sidus Space in Cape Canaveral, FL.
I remember being on the computer and stumbling across one company with a purple and black logo that had a satellite on it. I said to myself “I should look at their internship positions if they have any, this looks like a cool company!” I researched the website and watched some cool videos on the company’s goals and operations. I clicked on the “Careers” tab to look for positions. Sure enough, they did have internship positions available; however, their only position open at the time was for a finance internship. I decided to apply anyway because I would take any internship I could get at this point. I also e-mailed the company after applying to this internship just to introduce myself, attach a CSV/resume, and tell them what I am studying. Within a few hours, I received a call from one of the recruiters named Tina at Sidus Space. She told me she got my e-mail, was impressed with my resume, and sent me directly to the Vice President of the Mission Operations Department. I was so happy to hear that I had an interview with the Vice President of that department. I could finally have the chance to not only get an internship, but get an internship in the same field as my dream career is in: mission operations.
Interview day came and I was ready to talk to the company. After a short 30 minute meeting with a few company personnel, they were ready to set up a second interview as well. Things were looking great and I quickly jotted some notes down to prepare for my next meeting the following week.
Tina reached out to me to tell me that they hired a new Mission Operations Director and that I would be meeting with him now instead. I was fine with that and was open to meeting new people. The director I met with during my second interview was so knowledgeable and friendly. He worked at NASA Johnson Space Center as a Flight Director for 23 years! “I couldn’t ask for a better manager if I got this position,” I told myself. Soon after the meeting ended, they informed me that they would call me if they thought I was a good fit for the company.
After a short review of how the meeting went and a short period of time, I got the phone call: “We would like to welcome you to the Sidus Space team.”
These words rang in my head as the recruiter spoke them over the phone. I was jumping for joy at the fact I got an internship, and with weeks to spare! This internship started on June 1st, and I was told in April that I had got the position. I informed my Admissions boss that I finally found a company to intern for and that I would be back in the Fall.
Weeks leading up to the internship I had to fill out paperwork, sign agreements, and prepare for my training. I also had to set up an appointment with Career Services, and fast, to get credit for my summer experience. I didn’t know what to expect at the internship, so I went in open-minded and well-prepared. I brushed up on my math and science skills, prepared some professional outfits, and acquired some blank notebooks, as I knew I would be taking a lot of notes.
The process of securing my internship was lengthy and uncertain at first. With persistence, knowledge, and optimistic thoughts, I pursued my search even into late April, days/weeks before the spring semester ended. I recommend to other students like me not to give up. As a first-generation college student, I was also the first in my family to receive an internship like this. Nonetheless, every employee had nothing but positive things to say about me by the end of the summer. I persevered through everything that was thrown my way, defying the odds even when things looked bad.
Present day, it is the end of my internship, but Sidus Space offered me a job! I am now a Certified Flight Controller for our satellite, LizzieSat. Within the next few months, I will be working remotely while attending my fall classes at Embry-Riddle. Juggling both school and work will be a challenge, but it will prepare me for my career even more than my internship experience did. Always remember to shoot for the stars and dream big! You never know what would have happened if you didn’t.