October 5, 2004

Hi everyone! My name is Terryel Leisan Neal, 19, from Reynoldsburg/ Blacklick, Ohio (like 15 min. away from downtown Columbus, the capitol) and I am currently a freshman majoring in Engineering Physics (EP) here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach campus!

I have wanted to become an astronaut for NASA since I had visited the Kennedy Space Center when I was nine years old. There was a display case with all of the black astronauts in it and ever since I saw that I wanted to be part of the selected few to venture into space. I would love to at least become the second black female to venture into space, along with becoming the first person to walk on Mars, which is like my favorite planet anyway!

I had heard about Embry-Riddle through my older brother when I was only in the 7th grade! My brother had gotten a pyramid in the mail from the school with the list of majors and it had airplanes and a space shuttle launching into space. After I had seen the space shuttle, I knew instantly that this would be the school for me!

So by the end of my freshman year of high school I had been doing really badly since I must have figured that I had passed the Ohio 9th grade Proficiency Test and that I was just done for the rest of the school year. Well that was not the case and I had to work even harder for the rest of high school to make a decent cumulative by the end of senior year (so work hard all of high school and don’t slack off like I did)!

But the summer after 9th grade I visited Embry-Riddle and I  just loved being there and I just didn’t want to leave! I mean I was in such awe on the day that I had just taken the tour at the campus that my family literally had to drag me away from the school! After my first visit to the campus, I had worked my ass off to make sure I had the best grades ever, especially in my math and science classes which were like my favorites anyway! Well the summer before senior year I came back to Embry-Riddle for like a final visit before I would apply here and all the same feelings of awe came back into my mind and I just could not wait to get here the following year!

And since that day I just could not wait to get into the school, I had applied for Early Decision and I literally cried when I got my acceptance letter in the mail! I mean my cumulative GPA was a 3.55, but I had only gotten a 21 on my ACT test so I was really worried about that. Plus the school gave me some scholarships, which is always a plus!

So the time came to come to Embry-Riddle, my dream school, and I was just such a nervous wreck! I had no clue what to expect since everyone kept telling me that EP is going to be a lot of work and they make a sound like it’s going to be painful or something! So I get here and finally see my roommate Marquitta and she is like really cool and we are so alike that it truly scares the both of us at times! She is also in EP and I know we’re going to be helping one another out as time goes along! I live in Woods hall and I just absolutely love it! The guys and girls are just so very cool that we truly bonded already (especially during the hurricanes because they just don’t want to go away!). Ladies, I must tell you that the guys here are just so freaking nice to look at and have great personalities, I mean you will love the whole guy/girl ratio (I think it’s like 7:1 or something like that!). I mean I figured that I wouldn’t really find anyone since you know I didn’t think that I would have any free time to actually have a relationship or something. Well to my surprise I actually found someone and his name is Mike ; ) a really cool guy that lives down the hall and we’re like “talking” right now and seeing where things go. So for all of you out there that think that you cannot get anyone now while you are in high school, just wait because college is just a totally different kind of thing!

Well, classes are going pretty good right now, I just think chemistry is worrying me the most but once I understand it I’ll be fine. I love school anyway so all I need to do is focus just a little more than what I was used to doing and all will be good. I haven’t been in classes long enough since the school kept closing and opening because of the hurricanes, but I will update you all about my progress in EP. Oh and I’ll tell you all about the Slip ‘N Slide action that happened on Woods 2nd floor during Hurricane Jeanne! It was a blast! Ok take care everyone and I hope to talk to you all soon! ¡Adiós mis amigos!

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About Terryel

**Age:** 19 **Hometown:** Reynoldsburg, OH **Favorite Movie:** The Mask of Zorro **Favorite Musical Genre:** Classical, jazz, R&B, mariachi, pretty much anything **Career Goal:** To become the second African-American female to venture into space **Interests:** Space Exploration, astronomy, Mexican culture

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