Hello everyone and welcome aboard! My name is Stephan Wlodarczyk and I am a first year transfer student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Originally, I was studying Information Technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology for two years. Growing up, I’ve always had a knack for computers but I didn’t have any leads as to what type of career I wanted to pursue with them. Majoring in Information Technology was the best choice as it would allow me to expand my interests into a variety fields.
At the conclusion of my freshmen year, I discovered a passion that completely flipped my world upside down. I was taking a liberal arts core requirement in U.S. History, wondering to myself why do I have to relearn all of this. After all, our nation’s history is a subject that we begin learning about upon the first day of elementary school. As the old saying goes, “What you put in is what you get out.”, so I kept an open mind when going to class. The day my professor lectured about the space race, I became overly indulged and inspired. The whole idea of people riding a top of a converted ballistic missile venturing out into the unknown completely fascinated me. I fell right into a daydream, thinking what it must have been like to see our planet from a distance, to see it hovering in the black void of what we call space.
From that day forward, I made it a goal to establish a career with NASA and furthermore, fulfill my lifelong ambition of becoming an astronaut. I eventually found out that in order to become an astronaut, one must pursue math and/or science related degree. Information Technology was out of the question, but I didn’t want to switch majors into something I had no interest for. I didn’t want to create a checklist of how to become an astronaut. It was important for me to make sure I found a career path that I would enjoy. I stayed at RIT for one more year, seeking out areas of how I can be involved with our space program as an IT professional. However, my degree wasn’t supporting my passion.
I was recommended by a colleague about Embry-Riddle. He mentioned that the institute has the number one aerospace engineering program in the nation. He proceeded to say the degree is right up my alley and he certainly couldn’t have been more right. By the end of my sophomore year, I made the decision to apply. During the summer break, I toured the campus with my family and met with a few advisors. Upon being acquainted with them, I was greatly affected by their positive influence and complete faith of stating that I have what it takes to succeed here and live my dream. It’s a tremendous feeling to know that the faculty, staff, and professors are 110% behind you. I know now that I’m headed on the right track to chase down my dream and I couldn’t have made a better decision than to choose Embry-Riddle!
I have already started a blog titled, Working My Way into Space, that is devoted to keeping track of my progress, commission, studies, and the tasks I am performing to get involved with our nation’s space program. You can follow along at: http://www.stephanwlodarczyk.blogspot.com.