July 4, 2011

Hi everyone,

I have now been working for the Naval Surface Warfare Center for two whole weeks! Things are going great and I am really enjoying my internship. There has still been quite a bit of paperwork and training that I had to complete as a new government employee. Now that I work for the United States Navy, I feel an incredible sense of pride and patriotism. There’s a banner in the stairwell that I walk by multiple times a day that has a quote from Calvin Coolidge, “Patriotism in America is easy to understand; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.” If the choices I make have the best interest of my country in mind, then I will inherently be looking out for myself.

For the past two weeks, I have still been helping my classmate run participants for her thesis. I’m glad I have been able to assist her with this process because it has given me insight into what all goes into conducting a scientific experiment. We often talk about the research process in class, but actually setting up the experiment, running participants and analyzing the data yourself is a different ballgame. There can be pitfalls along the way. My classmate had run half of the participants she needed the first week, but had to make a change to the design of the study and was forced to start over. I believe she is on her fourth week of data collecting now. She’s doing great and should be able to defend her thesis by the end of July.

The most exciting thing I have done so far on my internship is take a tour of a Global Response Cutter 43m. A group of people from our Human Systems Integration (HSI) department traveled up to Washington DC to experience the cutting-edge technology and innovation of this boat built by Westport Shipyard, Inc. We were able to get underway (which means we left the dock and traveled through the water) and observe the operators demonstrate its capabilities. Being a young, eager Human Factors student, my fellow interns and I explored the boat and were able to make suggestions and recommendations for improvement.

I have never really known what I want to do for a career, but I want it to be something where other people will think, “Wow, that’s cool!” This job definitely has that ‘wow’ factor.

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About Rachel

**Graduate:** MS Human Factors & Systems **Undergraduate:** Engineering Physics **Minor:** Mathematics **Career Goals:** To work in the field of Human Factors, studying human performance in extreme environments. **Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** I wanted to become an astronaut after attending space camp as a kid. Science and sports were my strengths in high school. My senior year, I received a pamphlet in the mail about Embry-Riddle and was immediately intrigued. I flew in from IL to tryout with the soccer team, toured the campus, went to the beach and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I wanted to make Embry-Riddle my new home!

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