Michael

About Michael

Freshman

Homeland Security

Minor: Business, International Relations, Industrial Safety
Career Goals: Law Enforcement
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: Location, Teacher/Student Ratio, Size, Major

August 10, 2010

Welcome back! Hope everyone’s summer is going well. For all of you getting ready for orientation it will be a great time and for all coming back for classes, well you know the drill already!

My internship at the Prosecutor’s Office has really proved to be an exceptional experience! For one, I was able to take a tour of the Ocean County Jail last week. For any of you that watch the Jersey Shore television show, this is the jail that they take one of the cast members to in the first season. In addition to seeing the jail, and feeling extremely unwelcome by the inmates there, I was able to see “Pauly D” of the Jersey Shore, while on a ride-along with the Sea Side Heights Police Department. The cast member “Snookie” was also arrested the Friday night I was there. Even though I was not involved at all with these people, I still thought it was pretty cool to have “been there.” Going back to the topic of jail, I am not sure how many of you have been to jail (hopefully none), but it really is an awful place. No matter how many T.V. shows you may have seen, or stories you have heard, nothing can replicate the shear feeling of being inside a jail. Typically people avoid places of high crime where criminals live during their daily lives, but in jail, this is the home to many of those criminals. Aside from the whistling, the sneers, cursing, yelling, etc. the jail was a great educational experience.

The other major highlight of my past two weeks was being able to do a ride along with the New Jersey State Police. Thankfully my boss was able to set up the NJSP taking me out and showing me the “ropes” at Troop D, which covers the Turnpike. For a link to the NJSP Troop Map, click here. In addition here is also a picture of me standing with a State Police patrol car. I know some people may be saying, “that’s corny” or “who cares – it’s a car?” But for me, this is like being with a celebrity or famous athlete. Being a state trooper is the type of thing I dream about. It may be strange, but it’s me! I also attached an action picture for all you too see. Without going into details the trooper and I responded to a medical emergency, within his zone. After finishing up the ride along with the State Police I knew that this is the job/profession I want to be in. Unfortunately the NJSP has not been hiring, but I am willing to wait until they commence hiring again.

That’s about it for this issue. Tomorrow is the last day of my internship with the Prosecutor’s Office so this will be the last report to you all on that subject matter. Maybe the school will allow me to keep reporting and writing these journals, maybe not. The choice is yours. If you would like to hear more from me please email myself and I will forward the email onto the appropriate persons. I would like to hear from you all either way rather good, bad, or just any type of question. Until next time, stay safe.

July 26, 2010

Hello, and welcome to my… I lost track of what installment this was, but at least you’re here. As expected, I will recap my last two weeks with you so sit back, relax, and well… read my entry!

Just as any other week in my life, as if you expected any different, my schedule has been very busy with “things”! I will attempt to cover them all, but I don’t think I will be able to remember everything. Thankfully, my internship at the Prosecutors Office has kept me extremely busy. I have been able to experience some amazing things and I have to give all the credit to my boss, who is an exceptional person. If it was not for him, I am positive this internship would not be nearly as great. The format for this internship is definitely not typical. Since my boss is so tied into the Law Enforcement community, he has been able to send me out every few days on little assignments.

For instance, I have participated in three ride-alongs with three completely different law enforcement agencies. For those of you who do not know, a ride-along is when you shadow a police officer, by riding with him or her in their car, observing what they do for a shift. These ride-alongs have been invaluable for information and I have really enjoyed every minute I have spent with each officer. My appreciation goes out to each officer who allowed me to be with him or her that day. Although the three ride-alongs were great, the best one of the three was with the New Jersey State Police Marine Bureau.

Since I can remember I have always wanted to be a New Jersey State Police Trooper. As with many young boys, they dress up for Halloween as firemen and policemen. For me, every Halloween I was dressed as a policeman. In many cases, many kids grow up and realize they want to be something else. But, for whatever reason with me, I have been unable to shake the desire to be a cop.

That being said, having the privilege of being able to ride with the State Police was one of the greatest opportunities of my life. In addition to the ride-alongs, I have also been sent to a few training classes for law enforcement personnel. These classes include search warrants, emergency management, and gang recognition. These classes have been great for both educational purposes and networking. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for you, I will have to cut this journal entry short, as that I need to get some sleep for my assignment tomorrow, SWAT Training. Stay tuned and check in next week! Until then, stay safe.

July 18, 2010

Greetings! A lot has happened since my last journal entry; so be prepared to listen or read rather… Let me start out by saying that even though I may not be at school, and am officially on summer break, my schedule has been the furthest thing from empty. My trip back to New Jersey was a fun one, and although I did not drive my car (had it put on a truck), I got to spend some great quality time with my parents. One thing to remember when you go to college is that although many of us move away from family to attend ERAU, it is always great to go back and visit. My last extended visit home to my parents was Christmas break, which shows how long over due I was to see them for some length of time. As planned, my Dad, my two Uncles, my Cousin, and I, all loaded up the car for our annual fishing trip to upstate New York. Every year “the boys” saddle up and take a weekend away, where we revert back to our more primitive origins. For everyone’s sake I don’t bring a camera, sorry no pictures. In reality though, our trip is a lot of fun and is especially great for me to spend time with my Dad!

We came home from the trip just in time for July 4th weekend. As you may have expected this weekend was extremely hectic as I went from party to party talking to everyone who hasn’t seen me since I was this tall (motioning with my hands towards the floor). For any of the incoming freshman, get ready to deal with family and friends who will always remember you as an 11 year old. I have yet to meet one friend who has not had to deal with this. The holiday weekend was great, but I felt like I really hadn’t rested yet.

The next big event was my birthday on July 6th. I turned 21, and if you have been reading my last posts and know a little about me, you know I am a very conservative guy. I did manage to order a beer though with my parents and friends at dinner, along with go out to a bar afterwards. All in all I had a great time with no regrets except I wished my girlfriend was there with me, unfortunately she had to stay in Daytona Beach L. As you may have expected, my birthday did not allow me to catch up on my sleep at all.

While at home it is great to catch up with old friends, and although you might think of them as different when you see them again, you must realize you are also different. The beauty of college is that it allows you to become the freethinking individual you were destined to be. I know for myself, Embry-Riddle has really allowed to me grow both mentally and emotionally into the person I am happy to be now. The atmosphere of the university compounded with the academics really allows students to morph into beautiful individuals. That being said, I visited one of my high school friends, who vacations on Long Beach Island, and had an absolute blast! After the two days were all said and done I was extremely happy to have been able to have the opportunity to visit him.

I didn’t get any rest though, as my Mom and I decided it would be a good idea to drive down and spend the night in Washington D.C. Living only 3 hours from D.C. the drive was short. My Mom and I stayed in a hotel a few blocks from the White House. I had never stayed over night in D.C. and really enjoyed it! Only problem was…the heat wave. The humidity compounded with the heat made sightseeing difficult, but my Mom and I were determined! We fared the weather and drove back the next day. Might I suggest to anyone out there who has never visited our nation’s capital to go and do it. Washington D.C. has such great attractions and history that it is a must for any American.

You may think that I would take the weekend off to rest for my internship, which started on Monday the 12th, but I didn’t. In fact, I drove back down to D.C. to visit my other friend from Virginia Tech. Oddly enough, he was going back down to VT to move into his new apartment and I enlisted to help. We had a great time down in Blacksburg and although we were moving furniture, clothes, books, etc. I still had a great time. So where does that end up on the timeline? Sunday I drove back from Virginia and attempted to get a full nights rest for the start of my internship the next morning!

I have to admit, after my experience at DEA, I figured that any other internship could not nearly match it. After my first day at Ocean County Prosecutors Office, I knew I couldn’t have been more wrong. Although I cannot divulge much information, I can tell you that the persons working in the Homeland Security Unit are the brightest, nicest group of individuals I have met to date. Thankfully everyone in the office is extremely respectful of me and willing to help me with any questions I can come up with. Only being two days into it, they have already signed me up for many great homeland security classes, which I am looking forward to attending this and next week. I will keep you all posted on the progress of the internship!

Well, that is about as accurate of a picture of my past two weeks as I can give you. Until next time!

Sincerely,
Michael Kokes

June 28, 2010

Hello everyone, and welcome back. This journal entry, I am going to tell you right off the bat, is not going to be that great L. Last week was finals week, and as you may suspect, much of my time was spent studying. Thankfully I did great and I’m on to the next thing.

As I may or may not have stated in my last journal entry, June 18th was my last day at DEA, again a sad moment, but there is an upside to this all. Friday June 18 was a long day at DEA, and since I did not get back to the office until later I was unable to return my access badge. I returned, after class, on Monday June 21 to turn in my badge and got the great news, that DEA wants to have me back as an intern in the fall (woohoo)! I am very happy, as I suspect that I made a good enough impression on someone there to have them ask me to come back. Although I would be lying if I said that Monday was a complete surprise to me, as I had been working with a few people at DEA getting all my new paperwork in previously. As I have mentioned before, paperwork has become a large part of my life and I suspect it will be at least until I retire.

Aside from finals, much of my time has been spent getting ready for my trip home… ok, let me be honest. I am one of those people who packs the day, hour, minute before. It may be crazy for some people to think, but I can be ready for a month long adventure in just an hour. There was one exception though, when I went to Costa Rica on a cruise for a week and only brought 3 t-shirts (oops)! In addition to my mental preparation for home, I have been busy helping my girlfriend move into her new apartment. I think everyone can be in agreement when I say “everyone hates moving.” Although it took us 6 hours and many trips with my SUV, we did it. I sure do have compassion for people who move out of the dorms every year. Moving my girlfriend’s things really made me thankful I have one more year in my apartment!

In addition to my finals last week, we also had some great waves for June in Florida. Again, I wasn’t completely honest when I said that all I did was study, I did do a little surfing. I couldn’t resist, the waves were calling my name. The beach is a great place to relax and socialize and there is nothing cooler than driving your car on the beach. The other night my girlfriend and I visited the inlet and snapped a quick picture of the lighthouse at sunset. I have yet to actually go in the lighthouse, but it is on my to-do list. Another cool attraction at the inlet is the sea turtle refuge. In addition to turtles, the refuge also houses birds and fish. The last time I was there they had two bald eagles.

Well I better start packing, just kidding. I will talk to you all in two weeks!!!

P.S. I love taking pictures of storms etc. so I have included some pictures I took with my phone, thought some of the meteorology people might like them!

June 15, 2010

Hello everyone, and welcome to the second installment of my student journal. These past two weeks have flown by, but so much has happened. Two weeks ago my buddy, and ERAU alumni, Andrew Lashlee got married, just wanted to give him a quick shout out. Congrats Andrew and good luck!

Embry-Riddle is such a great community and when a student comes here they are sure to meet great people and make lifelong friends. In addition, the student body here is so diverse, you are guaranteed to interact with students from all around the world. A perfect example of this is my current humanities class. For Summer A I am taking both MA222 (business statistics) and HU330 (values and ethics). On a side note I recommend taking classes at ERAU during the summer. Embry-Riddle is a great place to have fun and learn, even during the summer months, and nothing beats getting the required courses done so quickly, but I digress. Although Values and Ethics typically has rich and stimulating conversations, no matter what university you attend, the mere fact that a large portion of my class is made up of international students allows for such great conversations. Hearing the perspective of an international student from Greece, United Arab Emirates (UAE), or Germany, really helps give the American student an idea of what others think. I have really had a lot of fun with the class and I recommend anyone thinking about taking it to do so.

Last summer, while at ERAU, I made it a point to try and go out and find something new every weekend. I am trying to do the same this summer, since I still have not exhausted all of the local attractions. Last weekend, after my internship in Orlando (which I will talk about later), I decided to check out two national parks on the way home from work. The first, Wekiwa Springs, is a moderate sized national park, which is home to a host of great outdoor events. They have everything from swimming to SCUBA diving to camping. I visited the park just to check it out in person and pick up any extra information. Although much of the information is listed on the website, linked above, I always like to see what they have at the ranger station. On a side note, Florida has some wonderful state parks, which are immaculately taken care. These parks are a great service to the residents and visitors of Florida. Although I didn’t have much time to spend in the park that day I am planning my next trip to go there, either this summer or in the fall. In addition to Wekiwa Springs, I also checked out Blue Spring State Park. Blue Spring State Park is known for their Spring (Who would have guessed?), which is home to the manatees during the winter months. I also picked up some information from the ranger station and am planning on spending a day or two there as well. I highly recommend for anyone who is into nature and the outdoors to browse the websites I linked above and see what else there is to offer in this area.

The past few weeks at my internship have been very slow. As with anything in the workforce, Fridays (the day I go to DEA) is usually the “easy” day. I have nothing to really report to you guys other then I have been working hard with the agents in getting paper work done. Unfortunately, life at the DEA is nothing like the show on SPIKE TV. Since February, when I started, there have been a few days with high intensity, adrenaline pumping, police work but the majority of it has been spent doing mundane paper work. Although office work is boring, you learn to enjoy it, since you are still working towards the main goal. As with anything, to quote my Dad, “you gotta work hard to play hard.” This motto really goes hand-in-hand with federal law enforcement, where as you need to really put in a lot of footwork and planning ahead of time to be able to execute a trouble free arrest. I wish I could say I was kicking down doors and slapping on hand cuffs, but the truth of the matter is I am just an intern helping out with office automation, which I am still happy about nonetheless. As I am sitting here I have one quiz to study for and another to take online, along with some other homework I need to complete, so I better get on it. As usual, please feel free to email me or contact me on facebook. I hope everyone is having a great summer and don’t forget to check back in two weeks for my next report.

Sincerely,
Michael Kokes

June 7, 2010

Hello everyone, my name is Michael Kokes and this is my first student journal entry! I have never done this before so bear with me while I learn about expressing my day-to-day experiences with you in writing. Let me first start by telling you a little about who I am, where I came from, what I am doing, and where I am heading.

My home state is New Jersey, and I grew up in Wall Township. During high school I started by attending boarding school then transferred to public school. I graduated from Wall High School in 2007. When applying for colleges, I choose 11 of the best schools I wanted to attend. From these 11, I think, I was accepted to around 7 or 8. The school I choose was… Virginia Tech. Wait…what…“how are you here?” I am sure you are asking. Well I am actually a transfer student to Embry-Riddle. When starting out at Virginia Tech I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to major in. I tried my hand at engineering, but quickly realized it wasn’t for me. During my freshman year at Virginia Tech my mother (who always has the best ideas, always listen to your mom), decided to purchase me an exploration flight at a flight school. I really enjoyed it and started flying with an instructor every chance I could. After my first semester at Virginia Tech I realized it wasn’t for me. The blistering cold/warm/rainy/snowy crazy weather at VT just wasn’t for me, and the large class sizes compounded with the school’s majors I didn’t like, pushed me to start looking at other schools. When researching colleges in Florida (it was a major criterion), I came across two schools that I liked, Florida Atlantic University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. After visiting both schools I quickly realized that ERAU was the place for me. The staff was friendly, the major (Homeland Security) fit me, and… it was 85 degrees when I visited. One thing I forgot to mention was that I am in love with surfing and the beach. For two summers in a row I was an Ocean Rescue Lifeguard at Sea Girt Beach New Jersey, sitting in the sun for 40+ hours a week is my thing.  Another revelation I had was what I wanted to pursue in life as a career. Ever since I could remember I have wanted to be in Law Enforcement, but for some reason when I applied for colleges I had never taken this into account. I always joke with my friends and say that I was a cop for Halloween every year, of course this is not true though, I was a fireman once. In all honesty, I figured “If am a going to spend four years of my life in school, it better be for something I enjoy” and that is exactly what I have done.

So, fast-forward and I have just finished my second year at ERAU (third year of college). I have one major and three minors: Business, Industrial Safety, and International Relations. I have maintained a high GPA and experienced some great things. The best part, I have one more year left! So where does that leave our relationship? Currently I am interning at the Drug Enforcement Administration in Orlando and am taking summer A classes. My internship with the DEA started  February 1 and will continue till June 18.  I will be sharing these experiences with you (at least what I am allowed to share). In addition, I will be starting another internship July 6 (my birthday) at the Ocean County Prosecutors office in New Jersey. I will keep you up-to-date on my experiences and life, as hopefully this will give you an accurate portrayal of what life as an Embry-Riddle student is like.

Please feel free to email me at Kokesm@my.erau.edu or add me on www.facebook.com. Search the name Mike Kokes and you will find me. I do not have twitter yet but if enough request it, I might start. I appreciate those who have read this whole thing, and congratulations to those who are graduating high school!

Sincerely,

Michael Kokes