Maryam

About Maryam

Junior

Spaceflight Operations

Internship: ALPA - Brooke Owens Fellowship Program
Major: Spaceflight Operations
Minors: Flight, Aviation Safety, Human Factors
Hometown: Dubai, UAE
Campus Involvement: National Society for Collegiate Scholars, Women's Ambassador Program, Orientation Team, Women in Aviation, International Society of Air Safety Investigators, Spaceflight Sciences Policy and Operations Club, Career Services Student Ambassador
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: Because of my passion for flight and the great networking opportunities Riddle provides!

Visiting NASA 747SP Aircraft

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re doing well and your semester is going great! I’ve had a couple of events happen, and they have been so much fun! On September 27th, I got to attend Shaesta Waiz’s arrival celebration. She is the first female certified civilian pilot from Afghanistan and is the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single engine aircraft. She is also the founder of Women’s Ambassador Program at Embry Riddle, for which I am currently a coordinator.

I also got a great opportunity to meet Nicole Stott, a NASA astronaut. She was a Flight Engineer on ISS Expedition 20 and Expedition 21. She was also a Mission Specialist on STS-128 and STS-133. Ms. Stott was a mentor to one of the Brookies from the Brooke Owen Fellowship that I was a part of this summer.

Last week (October 4th), Brent and I got to visit the NASA’s SOFIA 747SP aircraft. It is a Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) modified aircraft that carries a 2.5 meter, 17-ton telescope. The purpose of it’s mission is to observe Triton, Neptune’s largest moon.

 

The Career Expo is in 2 days!!! It will be on October 12th from 9 am to 4 pm. Please don’t forget to bring your Eagle Card and also dress professionally. I would highly recommend downloading the Embry Riddle Career Fair+ App. It has really cool features like complete company listing, interactive floor plan, event details and many more! I am an Ambassador for Career Services, so if you have any questions about career-related topics, please don’t hesitate to stop by our office. It is located in the Student Center on the second floor in Room 250.

I will also be travelling this weekend to Chicago and D.C. to talk about the Women’s Ambassador Program at Riddle. Stay tuned for more details in my next blog! Good luck in internship/ job hunting!

Until next time,

Maryam

Back to School

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a great start to the Fall semester and are settling back. I am currently back to starting classes, and let me tell you, it’s not really easy getting back into my school routine after doing 9 months of internships!!! I also got my private pilot license during the summer right before classes started.

I am currently taking 15 credits, training for my instrument, and have leadership roles in multiple organizations. It’s not super easy getting back, but I do like a little challenge. It is also very nice to get back since I have a great support system from my professors, colleagues and friends!

After getting into two weeks of classes, I can’t believe we got a whole week off due to Hurricane Irma. My boyfriend and I drove to my house in Bradenton to stay with my family. We didn’t evacuate from Florida, but hunkered down and stayed through it. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We lost power for about 8 hours, but we slept through it since it was in the middle of the night. There wasn’t much damage to our house, except for trees that fell all over the place. We took down the storm shutters after it was all over and cleaned our place up. There were some trees outside our complex that were uprooted.

I hope everyone was safe during this period and have made it back safely to Daytona. Remember that if you need any help, please reach out to your professors and let them know.

Until next time,

Maryam

Wrapping up Summer 2017

Hello everyone!

I know it’s been quite some time since I blogged. I have been so busy with ending my internship and going back to flight training before classes start in fall! I ended my internship about a week ago and had 2 back-to-back conferences during my last two weeks.

The first conference was the Brooke Owens Fellowship Conference. This conference brought together 36 young women in aviation and aerospace industry in DC- from solving a Grand Challenge with 5 astonishing colleagues and JPL’s head of Mars mission to meeting Pamela Melroy, former NASA astronaut and one of two women to command a space shuttle mission, to performing spoken word poetry in honour of Dawn Brooke Owens, to partying on a pirate boat with the leading aerospace experts.

 

The second one was the ALPA Air Safety Forum held in Washington DC. This forum featured panels and discussions with aviation safety and security experts, recognition of outstanding pilot contributions and more. I was able to  interact with many of the pilots and industry stakeholders that I had met at other meetings during the course of my internship, and I also got to hear from Robert Sumwalt during the Keynote Lunch Speech. I even celebrated my 21st birthday (July 17th), which was the first day of this conference by going out for dinner with some friends!

 

Soon after my internship, I came back home to Bradenton, where my family gave me a surprise birthday cake and gifts! It was great to see them for a few days before starting my flight training.

I am currently working on my private pilot and just finished my first solo last week. I hope you all are having a great summer and are ready to start classes in a few weeks!!!

 

Until next time,

Maryam

Summer at ALPA

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re summer is going great! I have approximately two weeks left here at ALPA, and then it’s back to Florida! My internship has been a great experience so far! I got to attend the Legislative Summit that was held from June 19th to June 21st at Capitol Hill. The summit provided ALPA pilots an opportunity to enhance their advocacy and PAC leadership skills through hands-on training. I got to meet a lot of representatives and senators at the summit.

Talking about my future goals to Congressman Laren

         

On June 16th, I visited the TWA 800 aircraft and got to meet Robert Sumwalt again. We couldn’t take photos of the aircraft in order to respect the lives of the passengers that were lost in this aircraft accident.

      

We had a Basic Safety School from June 27th to June 29th. The Basic Safety School was about safety related topics in the aviation industry. Some of them included crew member self-defense initial training, security posturing, crew security resources, ALPA security priorities, legal support for Safety Representatives, SMS and safety risk assessment, CIRP, Accident/Investigation and crash site hazards. Thursday afternoon was devoted to Airport Safety Liaison training, where we discussed ASL Procedure Subject Specific Training and the program benefits.

Monday (July 3rd) and Tuesday (July 4th) were holidays for ALPA due to 4th of July. I spent this four day weekend with Brent in Atlanta, Grenada and then New Hampshire (his hometown) for his 21st birthday. We went to see Lake Winnipesaukee, which is the largest lake in New Hampshire. We also lit fireworks!!!! My favourite part is just playing around with the sparklers!

         

I hope you all had a great relaxing weekend too!

Until next time,

Maryam

#WeareALPA

Hello everyone,

I am currently on my fourth week at ALPA, and it’s been such a rewarding experience so far! I was very fortunate to attend the Pilot Assistance Forum (May 22-24). We had a banquet too, which was held at the Udvar- Hazy Air & Space Museum. I got to talk to some of my biggest role models in the aviation industry about my future career goals and their experiences- Honourable Robert Sumwalt, Acting Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Lori Garver, General Manager of ALPA, who also served as the Deputy Administrator of NASA!

Photo with Lori Garver in front of Space Shuttle Discovery

Photo with Honourable Robert Sumwalt- Acting Chairman of the NTSB

In front of the Air France Concorde at the Udvar- Hazy Air & Space Museum

Brent (my boyfriend) spent Memorial Day weekend with me. We drove to D.C., and then rented out bicycles since parking can be super hectic! We visited many memorials there, and also visited the National Archives Museum. As an international kid, it was pretty cool seeing all the actual documents (Bill of Rights, Constitution, etc.). We also visited the Udvar- Hazy Air & Space Museum (which was my second time then). It was pretty cool since his favourite aircraft is Lockheed SR- 71 aka “Blackbird”.

In front of the SR- 71

Brent and I in front of Discovery

Posing with Brent near the Franklin Roosevelt statue

 

One of my meetings last week was at Capitol Hill. It was pretty interesting. We talked with the House Aviation Subcommittee about reauthorizing and making some changes to the existing bill. I also had a great opportunity to attend a meeting with GoogleX this week to talk about their plans of incorporating UAS technology in their industry.

 

Meeting at Capitol Hill

 

Meeting at Google office in D.C.

 

I have so many more events coming up, and I’m definitely excited to be with ALPA for the rest of the summer. In addition to my internship at ALPA, I am currently doing an independent study course with Riddle. My first exam was on Tuesday, and I did great!!!

I hope you all are having a great and relaxing summer!

Until next time,

Maryam

First week at ALPA

Hello everyone!

I just finished my first week of my summer internship at Air Line Pilots Association, International. My dad and I drove from Florida to Virginia. It was a fun drive, and we made on stop for the night in South Carolina. My housing for the summer is paid by the institution, and the apartment is gorgeous! I really love it! We even got to tour the facility last Sunday, and I was super excited to start!

Driving to ALPA for the Sunday tour

Photo taken outside the ALPA office in Herndon, VA

On Monday, I had an orientation and basically completed all my paperwork. I got to meet a lot of the employees and talk to them about their careers in the industry! I also got to meet Lori Garver, who is the General Manager of ALPA and the co-founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program. Before working at ALPA, she served as the Deputy Administrator at NASA from 2009-2013. Her efforts at NASA focused on advancing U.S. aeronautics and space activities through technology development, partnerships and innovation. This was her second time serving at NASA, having previously served in a number of positions from 1996-2001. Other public roles have included being the lead civil space policy advisor to Mr. Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and the head of his transition team for NASA. She also served as the lead space policy advisor for the Hillary Clinton and John Kerry presidential campaigns (Brooke Owens).

On Tuesday, Chad Balentine, the Supervisor of Engineering and Accident Investigation, talked to me about ALPA’s policies and strategic plans. On Wednesday, we went to Washington D.C. for a meeting with some of the FAA investigators. It was very informative, and I definitely learnt a lot.

On Thursday, I got to attend the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) Executive Board meeting, where I got to network and meet a lot of aviation professionals. I learned a lot more about the ASIAS program, but also had to sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) since the information is confidential. Friday wasn’t as busy, since we had to prepare for the Pilot Assistance Forum next week from May 22nd-May 24th. I am super excited to attend this forum!

ASIAS Executive Board Meeting

I will definitely keep you all updated on how it goes in my next blog.

Until next time,

Maryam

 

Summer Internship with ALPA

Hello everyone!

As my internship with Delta Air Lines comes to an end this week, I am very happy to announce that I got selected for another internship with Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for the summer via the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program! Brooke Owens Fellowship Program is a volunteer-led program awarding internships and senior mentorship to exceptional undergraduate women seeking a career in aviation or space exploration.

Created to honor the legacy of a beloved space industry pioneer and accomplished pilot, Dawn Brooke Owens (1980 – 2016), the program is designed to serve both as an inspiration and as a career boost to capable young women. Each Fellow is placed into a paid summer internship at one of the aviation or space companies. The process was highly competitive and rigorous, and it consisted of multi-phase interviews. All the candidates were evaluated on the basis of their technical excellence, creativity, commitment to service, and career growth potential. The host institution that selected me was Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). I will be working with them in the Engineering and Air Safety Department.

In addition the work experience with ALPA, I have been paired with two hand-picked, senior aerospace professionals who will serve as my mentors. One of my mentors is Paul Shawcross and is the Chief of the Science and Space Branch in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. He lived in the United Kingdom, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Wisconsin and Boston as a child before attending MIT, where he eventually earned three degrees. After college, Paul worked at the National Research Council and at NASA. He is best known for authoring the White House response to a petition calling for the construction of a Death Star. My second mentor is Karen Lacy. She is a first officer for ExpressJet Airlines and an Executive Vice President and member of the Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association.  Karen is the first female pilot to hold this elected position in the Union’s 86 year history.  She has taken on many other roles in her union and held many positions in the aviation industry including ramp agent for Trans States Airlines, an aeronautical chart maker for a Department of Defense contractor, a revenue management analyst for Continental Airlines, a flight instructor in Sugar Land, Texas, and a first officer for Envoy (formerly American Eagle) Airlines.  She also spent several years as a computer programmer for Rice University. I am super excited to meet them both this summer!

Read the press release here for more about the competition and all the finalists.

Good luck to all those doing internships/ taking summer courses! Hope you all have a wonderful and relaxing summer!

Until next time,

Maryam

Aviation Safety InfoShare 2017

Hello everyone!

I got to attend the Aviation Safety Infoshare at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania from April 18th– April 20th. Aviation Safety InfoShare is a semi‑annual confidential industry-sponsored meeting attended by government and industry safety professionals who share their safety concerns and best practices in a protected environment. InfoShare offers a unique opportunity to advance aviation safety outside of individual air carriers and bring about improvements for the industry by sharing these experiences.Participants at Aviation Safety InfoShare include representatives from—

  • International, major, regional, and corporate operators
  • Pilot, mechanic, dispatch, cabin, ground operations, and air traffic labor groups
  • Aircraft manufacturers
  • Maintenance repair and overhaul organizations
  • Trade associations
  • University aviation departments
  • Government agencies
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Grand Ballroom

Id Badge to enter the InfoShare

Id Badge to enter the InfoShare

The host hotel was Wyndham Grand Pittsburg Downtown. I got to attend it with Delta Air Lines. I traveled on company business, and I had my own room at the hotel with a fantastic river view.

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View outside my room

View outside my room

The InfoShare was a great opportunity, and I got to talk to a lot of the other airlines. Attendees can only enter the infoshare if they work for an airline and proved it by showing their respective company ID badge. There were even guards at the door making sure no one who didn’t work for an airline entered! I am so thankful that I got to attend the InfoShare and talk to so many aviation professionals!

Until next time,

Maryam

Some Tips to be a Great Intern

Hello everyone!

Exactly one month from now, I will conclude my current internship with Delta Air Lines, so I wanted to share some tips that I’ve learned. I know many of you will be off for internships during the summer, so it will be great to keep some of the following in mind.

1. Learn about the company: 

Being offered an internship is a great boost to your resume, but it’s always great to learn more about the company before hand. Always do you homework- conduct some additional  research of the history of the company you are going to intern with and learn about their culture. This will help boost your knowledge and maybe impress your boss! I mean you could even end up scoring a letter of recommendation from your manager in the future!

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2. Mentor: 

It is important that you find a mentor while working in the company. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your manager, but someone whom you could talk to and will give you continuous support. This will also help develop relationships and connect with the employees on a personal level. At my current internship, my manager and I have set up an “intern status meeting” every Wednesday, so I would highly recommend doing something similar. It has helped me connect with my manager on a personal level, and I always learn new things about her!

3. Commitment:

Never show up late to work, unless you have an emergency . Be sure to communicate with your manager in case you know you might be late or need a day off (car trouble, stuck in traffic, sick leave, etc). It’s better that your manager knows where you are instead of wondering whether you will show up to work or not. Communication is an important key to developing your relationship with the manager. Always keep them in the loop. Don’t be afraid to talk to them in case you’re facing any problems. If necessary, stay back later in the evening as well. This will show your manager that you are committed to do your job. Prove to them that you are someone who stands out and goes the extra mile. Your internship is your time to shine. Standing out in your company could even open up job offers after your internship is over.

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4. Social Media:

AVOID AVOID AVOID! Do not be on social media unless your job requires you to be on it. The internship is your time to learn more about the industry and gain valuable experience. If you need to, you can use social media preferably on lunch break. I still avoid it, even during lunch break, since I treat my break as a bonding experience with my fellow coworkers and try to learn more about them. Always be polite and friendly when you’re talking to your employees/ employers and beware of gossiping.

5. Feedback:

Always ask for feedback when you’re working on projects assigned to you. This will shine light on your strengths, and you can always learn from your weaknesses before you leave. Everyone makes mistakes so do not be afraid to correct them. Do whatever it takes to show your employer that you are eager to do your job! Talk to your employer if you need more projects to work on or need to lessen the load.

There are definitely many other factors involved, but I just wanted to give a brief insight of some of the factors I considered while working on my current internship. I wish you the very best in all your endeavors. Be yourself, be amazing!

Until next time,

Maryam

 

Ignite Research Abroad- Cuba

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ll had a fantastic spring break! My spring break was very exciting. I got selected to attend the Ignite Research Abroad Program to Cuba along with approximately 10 other students! It was a great experience, and I got to learn a little about the Cuban culture. There were approx 14 students in total. My research topic was about the process of reopening flight operations between Delta Airlines and Havana Airport after the suspension. I got to interview Demetra Bethavas, Delta’s Station Manager in Cuba and Mayda Molina, Director of Instituto de Aeronautica Civil de Cuba (she’s basically the head of Cuban “FAA”)!!! Talk about connections though! My report will be completed by end of April so I will be sure to post the link if it gets published.

Middle: Mayda Molina, Director of IACC

Middle: Mayda Molina, Director of IACC

Cuba seemed like a different world- basically the whole world was moving forward but Cuba was stuck in time. There were antique cars, and my boyfriend and I got lucky to get a taxi back to the hotel in one of those classic cars!

This is a picture of me in one of those classic cars in Cuba!

This is a picture of me in one of the classic cars in Cuba!

My boyfriend, Brent, and I took a "classic" cab back to our hotel.

My boyfriend, Brent, and I took a “classic” cab back to our hotel.

We visited modern Havana on our first day and toured around the Vedado neighbourhoods. On the second day,  we attended a conference with a professor of University of Havana, Maria Elena Martin. She has a Doctor in Architecture. We also toured the Havana Plaza and visited Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis.

Posing in front of the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis

Posing in front of the Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis

"El Caballero de Paris" statue: Tourists touch this statue in the position displayed for good luck!

“El Caballero de Paris” statue: Tourists touch this statue in the position displayed for good luck!

The next day, we visited Finca Vigia, where North America’s literary giant Ernest Hemingway spent twenty-one of his most important and productive years penning building blocks of English literature, followed by a visit to Cojimar, a small fishing village, which was one of Hemingway’s favourite places in Cuba.

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Brent and I in front of Ernest Hemingway’s boat.

We visited Pinar del Rio tobacco region and toured around the Vinales Valley on the fourth day. It was beautiful, and everyone bought some of their famous cigars. I was lucky to get a sample cigar for free while the person was demonstrating how cigars were made!

Tobacco leaves in the factory that are hung for drying after which they are used to make cigars.

Tobacco leaves in the factory that are hung for drying after which they are used to make cigars.

Brent and I in front of a tobacco farm in Pinar del Rio.

Brent and I in front of a tobacco farm in Pinar del Rio.

On the fifth day, we visited Las Terrazas, the natural splendor of Cuba and the coffee plantations. We visited the Museum of Fine Arts and Convento de Nuestra Senora de Belen, a humanitarian health project in Old Havana. It is a home to fifty elderly people and provides physiotherapy and ophthalmological services to many more elderly in the community. Other acitivities include exercise classes, board games, cognitive rehabilitation, films and crafts workshops. The walls were filled with beautiful intricate designs.

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Convento de Nuestra Senora de Belen

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The next day were visited Matanzas, also known as Cuban Athens, which was a grand port in colonial times for the export of sugar and also explored Cuba’s tallest bridge, Bacunayagua. Then, we continued to Varadero and had a relaxing time on the beach. We headed back to the US the next day.

Bacunayagua: Cuba's tallest bridge

Bacunayagua: Cuba’s tallest bridge

I had a fantastic time in Cuba learning about their culture. I must say that I got a little homesick, but that increased my adaptability to a different lifestyle. It was a great experience and would definitely recommend people to visit.

Until next time,

Maryam