About Carolyn

Senior

Human Factors Psychology

Hometown: Spring Hill, Florida
Why I Chose Embry-Riddle: It is the best aviation school in THE WORLD! Also, it allowed me the opportunity to work closely with professors, start research early, and get involved with a lot of campus activities. I had my first conference presentation when I was 19, so the research opportunities make you look good for college.
Internship: Office of Naval Research
Activities: President of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society student chapter, Vice-president Human Performance in Extreme Environments club, involved with First Generation Club and play with the Orlando Concert Band.

Leaving on a Jet Airliner

Before I started the final week, I used my last work weekend to see the San Diego Symphony. A friend of my roommates came with me since the music theme was Fantasia. How can you resist that? I really wanted to see the Firebird Suite by Stravinsky, AND I DID! They played it and I was almost going to cry. The performance was outside in this park on the bay. It started at sunset and the buildings of downtown were so beautiful behind the stage. In the sky, the moon was the brightest it had been in months. I wish I could bring that back home with me.

The view of downtown

The view of downtown

The Symphony & Crowds

The Symphony & Crowds

A few days later I had to say goodbye to one of my best friends in San Diego, Christian. He has been featured in my posts regularly. He was heading to Florida to see his family, and so I had to say goodbye to him before everyone else. To make matters worse, his girlfriend, Desiree, left a few days after that. She was going to see family in Michigan. And so my list of goodbyes began to be checked off. The night before we left, she and I walked down the street to the 50’s themed diner. I had a blast just talking to her, which made saying goodbye even more depressing.

Shakes come and go but friends are forever!

Shakes come and go but friends are forever!

Thankfully, I went to a burger joint on the beach for lunch the next day with co-workers. Hodad’s is famous for it’s delicious, gigantic burgers and scrumptious onion rings. It is so popular that every morning at 11 am when it opens, there is a line down the street of people waiting for food. It was a good thing I filled up because later that day I found out the refrigerator at home was broken. For a few days the entire house smelled a little raw, like pure death. There was no opening up the garage door unless we were absolutely desperate. The good news is that it gave us all an excuse to go out every meal to eat. That got expensive real fast.

The line. wasn't even open yet

The line. wasn’t even open yet

The beautiful interior

The beautiful interior

My boss bought dinner for me and the other intern one of those nights. She brought along a friend from work. Lorraine has been working with my boss for years. She is an expert in what she does and has a firm grasp on the order or operations at SPAWAR where I work. So essentially, my boss is doing everything she can to get us rehired. And that’s why I adore her!! I am so incredibly lucky to have a mentor that truly cares about my development as a professional no matter where I will be.

On my second to last day at work I was surrounded by every intern. We were all presenting our posters to the crowds of employees at SPAWAR. I even got to keep it and bring the poster home so I could display my work in my lab at school. I have had two weeks to practice, so my conversations were not odd or rocky. Well they were little, but that’s not out of the norm. On my last day, I turned in my badge and said goodbye to everyone. I HATED IT! But when I got home, my roommates knew how to cheer me up.

Me, Deborah (my mentor), and Brittany (the other intern)

Me, Deborah (my mentor), and Brittany (the other intern)

My last bike ride to work

My last bike ride to work

They had held a party at our apartment with all of our friends. It was my last chance to hang out with everyone before I left. It was incredibly sweet for everyone to come over and spend time with me one last night. We had some games set up and food ordered. I had a blast and had a mini cry as each person left. The next day my roommates and I did something more. We all got dressed up and went to a restaurant called Solare. That night they had a jazz band play. We were the only ones that danced. But that’s ok the band decided to dance with us. I’m not saying we were the cool kids, but we were the cool kids.

Half of the game fun

Half of the game fun

The most popular one at the party

The most popular one at the party

Jazz band at Solare

Jazz band at Solare

The dancing continued the next night. Sharelle, Laura, Robert, and I went to a class on the other side of town. It was a class where they teach you the basics to Bachata and Salsa dancing. The girls all stand in a circle while the guys move from partner to partner. I basically did nothing. Just kidding I worked my butt off. I thought Bachata was easier, but Laura and Robert disagreed. They are of Mexican descent and are pros at Salsa dancing! After the class Laura was asked to dance immediately. She has all the skills. Robert helped me out a little and showed me a few cool spins that made me look like I knew what I was doing. People still avoided me, though, but it was a good attempt.

I spent the next few days relaxing and getting ready to leave. I said goodbye to my roommate Laura and my other roommate, Sharelle, drove me to the airport. It was so sad to say so-long. I never say goodbye because I always try to see all of my old friends. It is hard moving to different places, meeting new people, loving them as family, and having to say goodbye. So, I will always be a traveling body in order to see them all. I gave Sharelle my last “see you later” hug took off that night at 10:30. I’m not sure if I have complained enough about the awfully loud noise the planes make flying over my apartment out in San Diego. This time I was the problem. And I’m sure the entire city could hear me complaining as I flew over. I could see the lights from my apartment as I flew over and felt miserable. I loved everyone and miss them dearly. It was incredibly bittersweet. I was so sad to leave my new family, but excited to see my real one. My nieces and ERAU friends are waiting for me in Florida. No matter where I go, there is a warm welcome guaranteed. I have to see my nieces now that they’ve learned to walk and get ready to move to my new home in Daytona.

My empty room, just like when I moved in

My empty room, just like when I moved in

 

Got my bags packed

Got my bags packed

A new plane on the way home

A new plane on the way home

Took over 5 hours! Left San Diego at 10:30 and woke up in Miami at 6 am. Think about it for a minute

Took over 5 hours! Left San Diego at 10:30 and woke up in Miami at 6 am. Think about it for a minute

Newton signing off 🙂

Another Week in Sunny California

2 WEEKS LEFT! I can’t believe my first internship is already coming to an end. It feels like it was short and long at the same time. The projects I worked on were iterative, and therefore, required me to work on them continuously throughout my time at SPAWAR. At the same time, each day went by very quickly. I keep looking at the clock around 3 and find myself wondering what I did in the past 8 hours. Time goes by even more quickly on the weekends, unfortunately. On Monday I was working on something called a quad chart that shows everything I have been working on and what I have accomplished during my internship. It is amazing how much I managed to work on in the past 12 weeks. I was lucky enough to get recruited in some shape or form on half a dozen projects at my branch!

In one of my projects, I worked with a team of individuals whose work was based close to home in Florida. It’s always comforting to work with people from your neck of the woods, even if you’ve lived so many places that your neck of the woods is the entire forest. So we collaborated on the initial design of a system used to stop the trafficking of illegal drugs, weapons, and people. Working on something like this was very rewarding and is a great way to close out my internship. It is fulfilling to work on something that will help keep people safe, but also design a program more efficiently to keep the warfighter out of harm’s way on the job. Even if you end up doing something like data input, look at the bigger picture and take pride in your contributions that will help keep someone safe.

On Wednesday I met with a very inspiring individual at my job. Chris is a division head, in other words, my boss’ boss’ boss. I know what you’re thinking, big deal… someone’s got to have that job. Well the other thing is that he’s in his VERY early thirties. He started out as an intern, then was hired as a normal employee, moved up once or twice more, and is now overseeing 150 people and millions of dollars in projects. My advisor here arranged for another intern and I to meet with him for an hour and talk about anything we were curious about. For someone at this level with this limited amount of time to dedicate an hour to a few interns is unheard of! I felt comfortable asking him the questions I had, and he genuinely cared about our concerns and how to make our internship a better experience in the future. I adore the people I work with!

I was a little nervous for our get together because I did not want to make a bad impression, but I also did not want to present to him. As part of the meeting, the other intern and I pulled up our poster on the display screen so he could see what projects we would be talking about in our poster session next week. I was so nervous, but when it came time to talk I felt relaxed and on the level of an expert in what I would be talking about. Thankfully, my advisor had practiced the poster with me at least three times. She also said she would like to practice the poster with me a little bit everyday until the session next Friday. By then I won’t be so nervous…. and sweaty.

By the end of this week, I needed to create a quad chart showcasing everything I have done during my 13 weeks as an intern. I basically used my essay as an outline, and was done in 30 minutes. Internships are easy! …when you only have a week left. Since we had a fairly dead week, my boss took the interns out to lunch. It was to my favorite place in town! We ate at Slater’s 50/50 where they have 5 different kinds of macaroni and cheese crusted in bits of Cheez-its! Hold on, let me clean up my drool. Ok, I’m good. Of course you know what I got, and when we went back to work I fell asleep at my desk in a stuffed stupor.

On the weekend I met up with my roommate, Laura, and her brother, Robert. We went up the coast to Robert’s neighborhood and had brunch. We walked around his neighborhood until our giant stomachs shrunk back down to normal. He lives in a great neighborhood! Behind his apartment is a giant bay filled with sailboats and people on paddleboards. Across the bay is a little peninsula covered in beach shops, and wonderfully unhealthy restaurants. Past that is the Pacific! I would tell you what’s in there, but I’m not too sure about it.

Robert's view

Robert’s view

Laura and I went on to a market. Robert met us there later with a friend and an adorable Basset Hound. I wanted to steal it. The market celebrated the culture of Mexico, so I was blinded by every shade of every color… and loved it all! There were different types of pottery, jewelry, food, and artwork. It felt like the first 10 minutes of Aladdin. I used this awesomely cheap market to buy a bunch of gifts for my family and friends I made in San Diego. It’s ok, I don’t think they read this blog.

Some Mexican Artwork

Some Mexican Artwork

The adorable doggie, Ladybird

The adorable doggie, Ladybird

On Thursday, the other intern and I were taken out to a wine pub by the welcoming people at our workplace. We were given a few small gifts to remind us of San Diego. I was surprised we had not done this earlier in the summer. After a few hours my co-worker, Christian, and I walked down the street to a pub and played trivia. Because the questions covered sports and pop culture, I did not even understand what they were referring to in the questions. So we left and I fell asleep early enough to get up early enough the next morning for a swap meet. It kind of reminded me of a flea market, so I assume it was the same idea only under a different name. I saw antiques, cheap jewelry, and video tapes. They still exist.

The co-worker get together

The co-worker get together

The end of the week was the best, though. My roommates and a few of their friends met up with us at my friend, Robert’s house. He has an apartment with a full view of the bay just north of where I live. You just need to walk downstairs and you will be on the beach. He also has a pool which I used to force people to play childish games with me. I told them to play “swim like  mermaid” with me to which they responded with confused looks. But I know they were anxious to play. We walked around the bay and played football and volleyball. I hate volleyball. I always have red, sore wrists afterward. But I wanted to reenact the scene from Top Gun, so I manned up and put myself through pain. At the end of the night, we built a small fire (it was contained) and roasted some marshmallows for s’mores. It was Robert and Laura’s first time having a s’more. Can you believe that?! Those poor souls have not fully lived yet. I loved creepily staring at them as they ate it, though. The addiction has begun.

The BBQ with roommates & friends

The BBQ with roommates & friends

The pool <3

The pool <3

Campfire on the bay

Campfire on the bay

Stay tuned next week for my last post!

Closing Things Up

This week I felt very close to home with the technical seminar we had this week at work. The guy presenting talked about using gloves to communicate in extreme environments. My research at ERAU has to do with testing usability of space suit gloves. On top of that, I am the president of the Human Performance in Extreme Environments club on campus. It is amazing that I saw a presentation combining both of those areas from work they are doing here at SPAWAR. Since this project was ongoing, it leaves me with a desire to come back and work with this team. So, I talked to the guy presenting and gave him my information. Hopefully, this leads to some cool work opportunities in the future.

I was welcomed this weekend by some other Embry-Riddle students. There was a competition this week at SPAWAR for robot submarine vehicles. There is a giant pool-like structure that can be used for testing these vehicles. High school and college students from all over came to test and compete with their vehicle designs. There was an EMBRY-RIDDLE TEAM! They were from the Daytona Beach campus, too! I was very proud to see my university being represented at a competition with other highly respected schools. You go ERAU RoboSub Team!

I am moving to the end of my internship. Only 3 more weeks until I fly back to Florida and begin my final semester at ERAU. I can’t believe that I was walking down Doolittle hall to my dorm room 3 years ago. I remember everything very clearly. My first impression of ERAU was vastly different from how I see it today. At first, I felt out of place and insecure living with people I had never met before. It didn’t take long for that to change, and now I feel more at home here than anywhere else I have lived. Living on this planet for 21 years, and having moved to many different places, that is saying something!

I wrote the final paper for my internship and turned it in early this week. I cannot believe I was coming in for landing 4 months ago wondering what my internship would be like, where I’d be living, and who I would meet. Now I am summing that all up into 5 pages and handing it back to school. I wouldn’t say this internship went by fast, but I definitely made the most of my time here. The internship gave me a chance to learn a lot and explore my field, but outside of it, I was exploring a new city and trying things I may never have the chance to do again. It’s important to say yes to as much as you can, because in the end you will see your experience as a successful one.

My final paper almost finished

My final paper almost finished

One of the first people I met at my internship is Christian. Although he annoys me like there is no tomorrow and is essentially my adopted, pesky brother, he is one of the most important people I met here. He has helped me with my work and guided me through a major project, introduced me to a great program for new employees, and has invited me to every get together he hosts. He introduced me to his girlfriend, Desiree, who also became a great friend. We actually went on a “girl date night” this Thursday. She invited her friend and I invited my fellow intern, Brittany. We all went out and painted pottery. It was so much fun that Brittany and I went out the next night to do it again. It is relaxing, but it also gave us the chance to make going away gifts for the people we have grown to adore here. I made a cup for my mentor and a plate for Christian and Desiree.

Desiree, Brittany, and me

Desiree, Brittany, and me

For my boss :)

For my boss 🙂

She likes flamingos!

She likes flamingos!

A llama painting for my friends.. that's not weird at all

A llama painting for my friends.. that’s not weird at all

This week was Brittany’s birthday. She turned 21 on Sunday and I definitely had to make a fun day for her. On Friday, I baked cupcakes for work since we were having a branch meeting. The night before I had made the discovery that we did not have a muffin pan. So I poured the batter into cake cups and laid them out on a flat pan. I was assuming they would hold up ok. I assumed wrong. The cups spread out making the cupcakes shape into this weird oblong figure that looked like the elliptical path the Earth makes around the Sun. So I told my coworkers it was this new style or that I got them from the bakery and they bought cool, new pans. They all picked up a cupcake, gave me a dirty look, and walked away. It doesn’t matter how it looks, because everyone loved them and they tasted great! Brittany was happy someone remembered her birthday, especially someone like me!

We celebrated her birthday by taking a tour of a brewery up north, drinking her first beer, and taking her first sip of wine. She hated it. Not really surprised there. Stone Brewery is famous in San Diego. During Comic Con, they had Wil Wheaton, Drew Curtis, and Stone creator Greg Koch get together to brew their own beer creation. If you are just turning 21, it would be the best place to try your first taste of beer. But you will hate it the first time you taste it. Afterwards, I took her and her fiancé, Jeff to Outback so she could eat and try a mixed drink. That was not very tasty to her either, though. For many people, a 21st birthday is both the best and worst day of their life. Be warned, and be careful!

First time getting ID'ed. She was very excited

First time getting ID’ed. She was very excited

Trying out horrible tasting drinks :)

Trying out horrible tasting drinks 🙂

How they brew

How they brew

The end of the tour.. it was hot!

The end of the tour.. it was hot!

The extra fluff gets poured out into this big bucket

The extra fluff gets poured out into this big bucket

This weekend I had brunch with my roommate and her brother. We got to see the area he just recently moved to and planned out a fun night for us to use the amenities. He moved to an apartment with a pool, fire pits, and a view of the bay. So we will have the roommates and friends get together before I leave for Florida for s’mores and fireworks. I also went with them to shop in an area close by called Old Town. There was a Mexican market going on this weekend, so I was able to pick up a few gifts for my siblings and mom. Everything there was so colorful and hand-crafted. It’s much nicer than sending them a “Wish you were here” postcard.

Old Town

Old Town

An old hotel bar

An old hotel bar

After that I went to my friend, Christian’s barbecue. It was supposed to be a fun picnic outside, but the clouds that day decided they would rain for the first time in 4 months. What good timing; thank you sky, you are so considerate. That’s the only thing that bugs me about San Diego. On the days I have to push my bike up a mountain to get to work, it is sunny and in the high 70’s. On the weekends when I would like to be outside, it is cold and cloudy… or raining apparently. That didn’t bother us because we just packed all of us into his small apartment and played games. And the food was glorious! There were bacon wrapped peppers and sliced peaches. I made mini cupcakes which were gone 5 minutes after being on the counter. At least they were better than the orbit cupcakes I made earlier this week.

RAIN?!!?

RAIN?!!?

Corgi! I almost stole it

Corgi! I almost stole it

Playing games at the Barbecue

Playing games at the Barbecue

 

#SDCC

Taco Tuesday was my favorite day this week. Although I normally hate Tuesdays, on this particular one I happened to find the best fish tacos in all of San Diego. I was delighted to eat lunch with my coworkers and network with some fascinating people before I leave for Florida. But anybody who really knows me, knows that my brain orders everything in a hierarchy. At the top of the list is food, next comes sleep, after that is Foo Fighters, which is followed by maintaining healthy social interactions with the people around me. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ve probably noticed that a large portion of them are dedicated to what I ate that week. So instead of talking to these incredibly intelligent co-workers at this lunch, I ignored them and stuffed my face with tacos and hot sauce.

I would like to mention another important accomplishment this week. I paid for my last semester of classes! Yes, I saved up some money from my internship and used it to pay off classes for the upcoming semester this fall. I am expecting to graduate this December, a whole semester early because taking this internship knocked off 6 credits I would normally have to take. I feel like an adult! I actually refrained from blowing all of my money, and used it toward something productive. Coming from me that is a huge deal. This also means I will not have to take out loans to cover what my scholarships and grants did not. That means lower payments in my future. I will use that money to buy a Corgi.

This week also had an exciting event from my internship. In order to keep the interns coming back, the people running the program arranged for all interns to get a ship tour. Since there are about 100 students interning this summer, we signed up to go on different days. I was supposed to go with my friends last week, but I had another meeting to attend at that time. So, I essentially knew nobody on this tour, but made friends with another intern who was a San Diego local! So not only was I not bored the entire time, but he told me all the best places to go in the area. Even if I had no one to talk to, the tour would have been just as enjoyable.

The ship we toured was called the USS Harpers Ferry and has an amphibious transport dock. This means that the back half of the ship can sink below the ocean surface, as the water moves to the back of the ship it picks up the vehicles or packages in the lower deck of the ship As the ship proceeds forward, the payload is carried out by the water. It was fascinating to see how it all worked. We went on the deck where they were doing some kind of test along the side and were told we needed to back up. We saw the room they use for planning missions, the equipment they work with, and where the crew eats. So we walked around all of the main areas of the ship and even up to the bridge. It was amazing to see how many people can work there to operate this ship. As the tour guide talked about all of the equipment and procedures, my only friend who happened to be a gear head asked if he could take us to the engine room. Normally, he would not run everyone to this part of the ship, but we were a lucky bunch of people.

I remember climbing through at least 8 portholes to get all the way down to the engine room. It was beautiful! I wish I had been able to take pictures of this giant engine. I know my fellow Riddle gear heads and I could stare at it for hours. This engine had 16 giant cylinders and was two stories high! One of the guys working down there opened up the cover so we could see inside the 4 stroke cylinder. AND THEY HAD 4 OF THEM!! The engines were not in use, but the room was still hot and so loud we had to wear ear plugs. I was so excited to see this ship, but was even more excited that I was on the same military base used to test the new Orion capsule. If I wasn’t on a bus with all of the other interns I would have stayed behind to see it. The good news is, I can get on the base using my cards from work, I just need to find a ride there!

Although I had a very exciting week, the weekend was the best part. On Friday my roommate, Sharelle, invited her friends over for a game night. We stayed up until 2 in the morning playing card games. The best part was the food we had out… of course. I tried a famous Hawaiian dish called musubis. Sharelle is a born and raised Hawaiian, so she is obsessed with Spam. I know, right? Spam? I had no idea people loved it so much. Well they basically cut Spam into slices, put it on a seaweed wrap, top with rice, seasoning, and soy sauce. And when you wrap it all together it’s like heaven in your tummy. Try it, you’re welcome.

This get-together was really meant to plan the big event this weekend. San Diego Comic Con is biggest event of the year! It is the most famous Comic Convention, and is held just 10 minutes down the road. It is incredibly hard to get tickets to go to the actual event itself (if you watch Big Bang Theory you know what I’m talking about), but there are plenty of things going on downtown. So I essentially spent all day, everyday in downtown San Diego people-watching. There were so many detailed, realistic costumes. People work on what they will wear all year long, and this work pays off! #SDCC

The crowds waiting to cross the street

The crowds waiting to cross the street

Assassin's Creed course, similar to Ninja Warrior

Assassin’s Creed course, similar to Ninja Warrior

The "playground" of Comic Con

The “playground” of Comic Con

Found him!

Found him!

Aside from the 100,000+ people visiting for the convention, there is a lot going on around town. There was an Assassin’s Creed obstacle course, free laser tag, and zombie displays all around town. There was even a section for food trucks, panels, and carnival rides. The entire city was a playground. There were people outside of hotels with pens and paper waiting for cast members to come out. When I was walking along the sidewalk in front of the convention center, I did notice a face I thought looked familiar. So, as soon as I realized who it was I ran back to find him. It was Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters. Nobody else was noticing him, I guess because he wasn’t wearing a beret. I asked if I could take a picture, and he kindly said “of course!” It was so cool to meet someone I learned so much from as a kid. I told him, “Thank you for all you did. You taught me the scientific method. I’m a huge scientist now!” Jeez, what a doof I am! Oh well, I was happy to see him, and was even more happy to be in a great city at the perfect time of year! Stay tuned for more goofy stories next week!

Maleficent

Maleficent

I got them to pose with me!

I got them to pose with me!

Close enough

Close enough

Transformers.. They didn't want to take pictures with me because I made them look short.

Transformers.. They didn’t want to take pictures with me because I made them look short.

JAMIE HYNEMAN!!

JAMIE HYNEMAN!!

My first 5 day week in 3 weeks

I FINALLY FINISHED A PROJECT!!!! Monday I felt incredible. I was productive and finally saw an endpoint to something I had been working on for weeks. That is a great feeling. So, as a result I was trying to finish up many projects. Some people are good at multi-tasking. This person is not. Amongst the many projects I have needed to complete, I have also needed to start finishing things up for the end of my internship. Not to mention I have a big move coming up that will take me across the country. So things are starting to close out for this internship, and they seem to be coming together at the same time. Next week I have a final paper do explaining everything I have done for my internship. Oh my God! I just wrote do instead of due. What is happening to me? Didn’t I tell you to not to multi-task?

 

On top of the many things coming together at once, my boss also came back this week. Most people would see this as a stressful, terrifying situation, but this is not the case. My boss is way cooler than the average boss, mostly because she is not the average boss. She is older, but her sense of humor is much greater than mine. Aside from her being a amazing person, I feel as though she is not giving me the experience I was expecting out of an internship. When I would hear about the experiences of students as an intern it was mostly that they were told to fetch coffee and not given the time of day from their advisor. My boss not only knows how to make her own cup of coffee, but she sets aside time everyday to talk to me. And if there is a time that she is away, she makes it a priority to set me up with things to do and responds to any questions that I have. As a branch head in the government, that is rare! So I wanted to make sure that the stereotype of internships changes. It’s not always what people make it out to be, whether in a good way or in a bad way. You can set out expectations, but you will certainly be surprised.

 

At the end of my internship I am supposed to present a poster to the commanding officers where I work. This will be a big deal! So, for my presentation, I am showcasing the projects going on at my branch. This works well because during my time here I have helped in some shape or form on a lot of the projects. If I am presenting on each of these projects I need to become an expert in what I will be talking about. So, I went to each person and asked about the details of the projects they are leading. I also gave them all a questionnaire for another project I am doing. So it looks like there is data analysis in my future! Please try to contain your excitement.

 

My roommate had a few friends come over at the end of the week. I am rarely a host and after doing it this weekend, I am pretty sure I don’t want to do it again. The reason being the fact that I am lazy and I would rather someone else clean up after me than vice versa. Oh that sounds bad, doesn’t it? Well I know you’re thinking the exact same thing. It was a good thing I didn’t have to be around the house much the next day.

 

Saturday morning we all went to the beach. Sharelle and I, as well as her co-workers played football, tossed around a volleyball, and congregated around the Pacific. We looked at the ocean, but barely went in. The beaches are covered in giant seaweed and the water I think the water is infested with ice cubes. It was FREEZING! I could barely go past my knees. Ditching the ocean was a good decision. Because what came next was a giant burrito. It was about the size of a newborn baby and filled with eggs, cheese, and bacon. I bet I know what you’re making for breakfast tomorrow. Of course this was enough to satisfy me for about, oh I don’t know.. 15 minutes. Sharelle and I walked to a store down the street to get ice cream sandwiches. You could create it yourself! Why don’t they have these stores in Florida?! They should be as common as a Starbucks.

Trying not to touch the water

Trying not to touch the water

Playing football

Playing football

Burrito baby

Burrito baby

Cookies and cream cookies surrounding cookies and cream ice cream.. did I mention cookies and cream?

Cookies and cream cookies surrounding cookies and cream ice cream.. did I mention cookies and cream?

I was dead asleep within an hour after that feast. Which I needed for the next day. It started out as a roommate date day. I went with my two roommates to a diner at the closest beach. Which is the first one I have been to in months. California doesn’t have the number of diners that Florida has. In fact, I don’t think anywhere has the same density of diners we have in the Sunshine State. Then we grabbed my roommates brother and friend and headed off to the San Diego Pride festival. There was a parade just a day before, but I was too busy eating to see it. It was the most colorful event I have been to while in San Diego, or probably ever. There were tents for food, support, information, local attractions, and many others. I paid $20 to get in, but probably made double that in the amount of free items I got from tent vendors.

The many, many, food tents

The many, many, food tents

At the Pride fair

At the Pride fair

 

The most exciting part was seeing a tent for NASA! I touched a moon rock that was over 3.5 billion years old. I also got to try on gloves and a helmet and see the food they eat in space. The best part was that this was held on the 45th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon! I had my picture taken in a EVA spacesuit model. Later on, as we were walking around a notification came up from a former student of one of the classes I was a teaching assistant for. It said “Carolyn, you’re featured here!” I figured it was something from my department at ERAU. But I was so excited when I saw what it really was. The International Space Station Facebook page had shared the picture of me in the astronaut suit! It was incredible that a friend of mine all the way in Daytona saw a picture and noticed it was me before I even looked at anything. Yay! I feel like a real astronaut now. It’s funny because I never had an interest in space until I met my advisor, Dr. Kring. His classes got me very excited in everything from moon to Mars, and now I am addicted. I have definitely become a space geek since coming to Embry-Riddle.

Touching old rocks

Touching old rocks

Astro food

Astro food

Shared by the ISS!

Shared by the ISS!

Vegas Baby!

When I started this week, I was lost. Not the good, fun kind of lost; the confusing, I need to re-adapt to my surroundings kind of lost. For the past 3 months I had been sitting in the same office with the same set-up everyday. My office was on the second floor with a stunning view of San Diego bay! It always had a nice breeze coming through the window and I had plenty of room to take secret naps behind a closed door. Today, was not the same. I was ALL THE WAY on the other side of the hallway. No I don’t mean a full 15 second walk down the hallway, I mean take about 4 steps and you’re in my new office. Oh no! No more view of the bay! No more naps! No more loud chewing on food all day! I have a new office mate around. And folks, when that happens you need to act like a normal human being… apparently. This was not the case, though. I was moving in with the other intern from Embry-Riddle, Brittany. Ever since moving in I have been as happy as a hippo (not sure how that analogy works).

Everyday we get to chat back and forth and show each other funny pictures or videos. I love having her desk right behind mine. Aside from the awesome office mate, I get an even better breeze and kept my same comfy chair. Not to mention I don’t have to hear those pesky otters in the bay barking all day when I actually try to get work done. This new office is also a lot darker than my old one, so taking naps is easy and less obvious. Not that I’m promoting to interns that you should nap at work! Because, you know, that’s bad.

It is better getting work done when someone else is around you doing the same. Having an office mate is good to keeping me focused throughout the day. At least now, I want to seem like a professional that doesn’t get off track all day long looking up funny videos of baby polar bears or people running into trees. So, thanks to having someone around I finally got a lot of work done! Particularly on the website I have been designing at work. I had two meetings this week, one to discuss a few fixes, and the other to present my website to the project lead (umm.. which is terrifying). She liked it, though, and I was given a few more tasks to do during the next week.

This week went by fast. Although it was a 4 day work week for us, it was a shorter week than usual for me. My roommate, Sharelle, and I have been planning a weekend vacation for a while now. And this weekend, we were finally going to VEGAS!!! Yayyyyy!!!! I finally got a chance to act like a childish adult. I know, saying I am going on vacation when I work in the beautiful city of San Diego entitles me to have an angry mob. I can’t complain about where I work, but when I was this close to Las Vegas at a time where I could afford to go, I certainly wasn’t going to turn it down.

Trying to get a view from the Ferris wheel

Trying to get a view from the Ferris wheel

Fountains at Bellagio

Fountains at Bellagio

So, on Thursday I left work little earlier than usual. I know I seem like a slacker, but I had been working an extra hour everyday for weeks before this weekend. So it was excused. My roommate picked me up from work, we got our suitcases, and called a taxi for the airport. Airfare was extremely cheap! We flew out and I stayed at the airport a little longer because I was waiting for another friend’s flight to come in. My friend Antoine had just recently graduated from the ERAU Human Factors Masters program. He is now working at Honeywell in Phoenix. Since he was also so close, he decided to meet us for the weekend in Las Vegas, as well. It was so nice to have friends, new and old, together for a long weekend in a great city.

Gambling at penny slots

Gambling at penny slots

Both of my companions had been to Vegas previously, so I was the only newbie. I did not know what to expect, but boy was I surprised. What I had known about Vegas was what I had seen in movies like Ocean’s 11 or Vegas Vacation. And this was one of the few times, where I could honestly say it was much more incredible in person than what you see in movies or pictures. With the amount of money this city takes in, it actually has the ability to keep their attractions and hotels looking brand new. The night I got there, I was squinting at the intensity of lights. It was probably more bright at night than it was during the day, and that is saying a lot for the desert.

 

We walked around the strip, and stopped to get dinner in this playful restaurant that had the most extravagant deserts you would ever find. There was a sundae priced at $1,000!! Why? Because there was shavings of gold sprinkled on top! If you want to eat gold, this is the place to go. After that we saw a show at the fountains in front of the Bellagio hotel. This was the first of many times, because that was probably my favorite part of Las Vegas.

I love food, but not that much!

I love food, but not that much!

I also gambled for the first time, and successfully lost all of it. Over the next few days we saw everything! The Venetian hotel had a river inside with gondola rides. The ceiling was painted to look like the sky, and it even rained in one section of the aisle. There were shops, clubs, casinos, or buffets in every hotel. I saw a mock-up of the Eiffel Tower and a bar that was inside of a chandelier. I ate crepes, gelato, and the best macaroni and cheese in the world. There was so much to see and do I could have spent a week there.

The giant chandelier

The giant chandelier

The pool at our hotel

The pool at our hotel

Gondola rides at the Venetian

Gondola rides at the Venetian

To see the entire city was impossible, but I did just that. The world’s tallest Ferris Wheel was right across the street from my hotel. It took a little over 30 minutes to go all the way around. It was beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Since we did it at night, the lights looked spectacular. Since we were staying at The Mirage, we were able to see a show they did every night at the entrance. It had a “volcano,” so basically had water flowing from a mini-mountain surrounded by giant explosives. The giant balls of fire did not help the nearly 100 degree days. The pool downstairs did, though. It was a giant pool, and had an even bigger waterfall on the side. I actually sat in the water with a cool drink and soaked in the intense heat. So, let’s just say I was not ready to go back to work that week. This looks like a good place to stop writing as well, seeing as how I am sitting at work daydreaming about another vacation.

I met "overly attached girlfriend" if you have any idea what I'm talking about

I met “overly attached girlfriend” if you have any idea what I’m talking about

July 4th with America

Well, I did it. I am now an adult! That’s right, I was approved for a credit card. So I guess it’s time I recognize my impulse to buy chicken wings and illegal zoo animals, and buy them anyway! Just kidding government, I don’t do that. I just sell them. Just kidding again.

Also kids, apparently it’s not good to buy whatever you want with credit cards. That’s your lesson for the day. The rest of this post will be pure nonsense.

I didn’t do much on Monday. I continued working on all of the pages of the website I am helping design for military training. Tuesday, I made the website look stunning. By the time I was done with it, you could switch between different pages of the website and interact with all buttons and icons that were on the display. I may not be programming, but I am getting the same result. I also made a survey on surveymonkey to send out to the project leads at my branch asking about what they were working on.

On Wednesday, I presented the progress I made on a website to a very scary person on the opposite side of my workplace. He is the type that is about 5’3”, but incredibly intimidating. Coming in to the branch where there are many computer scientists, it was very hard to prove to my co-workers that I was capable of creating something. And this computer scientist in particular was very anti-human factors. In other words, he didn’t quite understand what I could offer to the project, and was a skeptic to the importance of human factors input.

As one of my mentors and I walked down to give the presentation on what I had created since our last meeting, I was a little nervous. We walked through the giant, heavily locked doors in the basement of the building and I got my computer ready to present. He sat down, looked at the home page, and said, “You guys did this?” My mentor replied, “No, Carolyn did this.” He looked at me surprised, and said “This looks very nice, great work!” He went through the rest of the website I had created and picked a few things on each page that should be fixed. At the end, I had a list of little details that needed adjustment, but overall he was impressed with the quality and the number of pages within the website I had created in the previous week. The feeling you get when you prove someone wrong is comparable to that awesome feeling you get when you sneeze or when you punch a shark. It’s the best feeling in the world.

The weekend started early because of the fourth of July. My roommate, Sharelle, and I went to two malls that were really close to our apartment. We had to go shopping for some shoes and clothes since we will be spending next weekend in… VEGAS! That’s right! I had to spend Friday morning shopping for new shoes and a nice shirt, or two. What a bummer!

When we came home I dropped off my 57 shopping bags and ran over to the park across the street. It is a long, dog/human park that runs along the bay, and had tons of people flying kites, playing games, and talking with friends. Some of my co-workers were there along with all of their friends. They were having a barbeque, so I hung out for a while eating watermelon and throwing water balloons at people I don’t know. Then the other intern (Brittany), her fiancé, and I went to the San Diego fair. It was not that far away, but it took us an hour and 15 minutes to get there. There were so many people there that we were stuck in traffic on the exit for an hour. Yes we went 1 MILE AN HOUR! The line to get tickets was even longer, but when we finally got in to the fair we went crazy with food. I got a giant turkey leg and was the happiest kid in the world.

Co-intern/ERAU master Brittany Swigert with her dog, Shae.

Co-intern/ERAU master Brittany Swigert with her dog, Shae.

Fun at the park across the street

Fun at the park across the street

This cute little kiddo who wanted to pet Shae. Looking very American!

This cute little kiddo who wanted to pet Shae. Looking very American!

ME WITH MY TURKEY LEG! As big as my face

ME WITH MY TURKEY LEG! As big as my face

A goat standing on a table. Not sure what else to say about this...

A goat standing on a table. Not sure what else to say about this…

The real reason I went to the fair on the fourth of July was for the band that was playing that night. They are called AMERICA; can you think of a better band to play on independence day? On top of them perfectly fitting the celebration, I love the band itself. I have been watching videos of them for years and listening to their music for as long as I can remember. They are really old, were popular in the 70’s, but people still know the songs they wrote today. “Horse With No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair” are some of their bigger hits. Ohhh, now you know who I’m talking about, right? No? Alright, I have an old person’s taste in music. Anyways, they were PHENOMENAL! These guys have been singing for 40 years and can still sing higher than I can! It was an incredible show with incredible fireworks and an incredible turkey leg. When everyone was putting their hands up during the songs, I was putting my turkey leg up. So, I think it’s safe to say they definitely saw me in the crowd. Even if it was as the crazy girl dancing with a giant stick of meat.

The awesome band America at the Fab Fair in San Diego. Playing the awesome song, "Sister Golden Hair."

The awesome band America at the Fab Fair in San Diego. Playing the awesome song, “Sister Golden Hair.”

Me, with Brittany Swigert, and her famous fiance from UCF, Jeff Abrams with America behind us.

Me, with Brittany Swigert, and her famous fiance from UCF, Jeff Abrams with America behind us.

Representing turkey legs at the concert

Representing turkey legs at the concert

The next day, I stayed in to get ready for another big night my roommates and I have been planning for a few weeks now. We invited some of our friends and all got dressed up to go to this place called Café Seville. It was a dinner/show where a singer and guitar player performed older Spanish music as three people did Flamenco style dancing. I ate so much which usually makes me happy, but this particular day was not the best time to eat a lot. Towards the end of the show, the two female dancers walked around the tables and they each grabbed one person to pull up on stage. I was not paying attention, and instead thought that they were just dancing around the audience. I was wrong.

The flamenco dancers at Cafe Seville, incredibly talented and beautiful

The flamenco dancers at Cafe Seville, incredibly talented and beautiful

I turned around to smile at one of the dancers and then she told me to stand up and come with her. So, I  agreed not knowing I was being led up to the stage. Yup, I embarrassed myself. I danced on stage in front of a load of people I don’t know, and even worse, some people I do know. Well now they know me a whole lot more. I was given a flamenco dancing lesson for the entertainment on others, and boy was it entertaining. I should only be dancing in a small dark room with nobody but myself.

To finish the night we took a cab ride around town. This was not an ordinary taxi, though. In San Diego, they have pedicabs where 1 person pulls up to 5 or 6 people on a bike! And here I am complaining about riding up hills to work. The people who drive them decorate them in all kinds of lights, fabrics and sometimes put roofs on them. I got to pick the music as we drove along the “Gaslamp District.” When you play the right music, people walking along the sidewalks will sing along with you as you go by. We got a tour of the party district without having to walk (which is great when you’re wearing heels). Even though I was very lazy and paid some poor guy to pull me along on his bike, I still slept for a good 12 hours when I got home that night. I think that’s only necessary for what’s coming next week.

Pedicab ride around town with some fantastic ladies

Pedicab ride around town with some fantastic ladies

Taking selfies with the pedicab driver while driving... causing accidents and stuff

Taking selfies with the pedicab driver while driving… causing accidents and stuff

California’s Got Board Meetings.. Lots of Board Meetings

Hello Again! Thank you for coming back to listen to me ramble. This week I continued to work on the splash page for the military training website. At the beginning of this project, I was designing the website using very low fidelity mock-ups. And by low fidelity mock-ups, I mean drawing some pictures of a website on a sheet of paper or toilet paper or Kleenex. I did pretty well; my advisor said my drawings could pass for an advanced 8 year old, so I moved on to creating a more high fidelity mock-up. For people who claim to design websites, but don’t have the knowledge or talent to carry it out, there is a program called Axure RP (rapid prototyping). This is a very simple, intuitive program that allows people to show a website design without writing the code for it. You can also create links for other pages within the site and can “preview” how the entire website would work for the user. So, I’m very happy to have this skill because now I won’t get picked last for teams in my classes anymore!

My next project looked into designing a system for planning missions on aquatic vehicles. The systems used to do this are mostly paper-based. So, the branch I work for is giving the government an upgrade. It’s very deep work. HA! Get it? Deep, you know like deep water? Alright I’ll stop.

This Tuesday was my advisor’s last day at work for three weeks. She is taking time off to go on vacation in her hometown back in Colorado. So, she gave me a list of tasks to get done before she comes back. Oh! And she calls me a smurf, too. It’s probably because I’m shorter than the average 7th grader. I was also approached recently by a friend of a friend who said, “You are so cute! I just want to put you in my pocket!” Do you have any idea how scary it is for a stranger to tell you they want to take you and put you in a pocket? I’m getting off task, here.

On Tuesday, my boss invited me to participate in this event called CX SIG (Customer Experience Special Interest Group). There is an intern at my branch who is actually a graduate student in the Human Factors program at Embry-Riddle, so I invited her to come along. At this Customer Experience event, Human Factors specialists from all over San Diego come together for 1 night each month and evaluate an interface or product from a company. At this particular event, we evaluated the website for a company called “Personal Creations.” This is similar to the “Things Remembered” company, in that it allows customers to order products that can be personally customized before delivery. At this meeting I was instructed to act like someone who was trying to make an order and criticize any part of the website that needed fixing. At first, it is kind of weird to tell the programmers and representatives of the company how horrible their website looked, but as I continued, the arrogance in me began to bloom. Ha! Just kidding my arrogance was there all along.

After this event my boss and a few of my co-workers went to dinner at an Italian restaurant close-by. When we sat down, a friend of my boss and one of the participants of the CX SIG event decided to join us. I found out that he is actually an author of a very successful book used in the Human Factors world that I have been looking through over the past few weeks. He was also featured on NPR (National Public Radio)…a dream for most people! As we were heading out, he gave me and my co-workers his card and offered his help and advisement if we ever needed it. On the way back, I had to drive with my friend, Christian, because his apartment is across the street from mine. Since he brought his motorcycle, I had to hop on the back. Oh! And it was my FIRST TIME riding one!! We were about half an hour away from our apartments and took a highway almost the entire way home. I actually wasn’t scared for having the ground go below my feet at 70 mph. Now I have the itch to get a motorcycle, though. Which is a very expensive itch.

There were some other firsts this week in California. I also got my first Jack in the Box food. Oh boy Florida needs to get one of those. Although, I don’t know if my 5’2” frame can handle another 100 pounds. My other first happened on Saturday, when I attempted to paddleboard and surf. I met with some of the interns at SPAWAR who were trying to make friends while here for the next few months. We rented paddleboards and took them to this large bay where a lot of sailboats were kept. I didn’t fall! I can’t say the same for the people I went with. We also rented surfboards and took turns holding them in the water on the Pacific side of the peninsula. I say holding because that’s all we could do successfully (and unsuccessfully a few times). On the ocean, the water was choppy, and the waves were huge. I could not even stand without one side of the board sinking into the water. So the next time I go, I’ll start off in a puddle.

*Drools

*Drools

Boarding, Surfing, and Falling

Boarding, Surfing, and Falling

Paddleboarding on Mission Bay

Paddleboarding on Mission Bay

It was a really long day, and I had to get some food to wash down all of the seawater. I ate half a chicken at a restaurant called Phil’s BBQ. HALF A CHICKEN!! I’m well on my way to winning a food eating contest. On Saturday, I went with my co-workers and a few other friends to a fair by the closest shoreline called Ocean Beach. I got to ride a motorcycle again to get there! The main street had vendors of all kinds lined up and bands playing blues and rock. There were rides and carnival games at the end of the street set-up for children, but my friend decided they were there for everyone. It was fun watching him fall, but overall I enjoyed seeing the different things for sale. I brought a funnel cake.. and ate all of it! Stay tuned next week when I gain 14 pounds.

Eating Half a Chicken. Good thing I had a bib.

Eating Half a Chicken. Good thing I had a bib.

Cheap masquerade masks, shark fins you can buy for your dog, a shark (you know, like riding a bull), and some dancing fools

Cheap masquerade masks, shark fins you can buy for your dog, a shark (you know, like riding a bull), and some dancing fools

My co-worker trying to show up some kids

My co-worker trying to show up some kids

Procrastinati… oh, I’ll finish that later

On Sunday night, my roommate and I had dinner and watched “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” It was a pretty good way to start off the week, because inspiring movies tend to leave you more productive. However, I woke up that Monday just as lazy and cranky as every other day. That attitude changed when I heard news that my favorite formula 1 driver, Michael Schumacher, had come out of a coma. This past December, Schumacher was put into a medically induced coma after a skiing accident. He remained in that state for 6 months. About a week ago I was checking up on him only to find news stories that people “should not expect a recovery” or that “there is no way he would come back if he hadn’t already.” I was so happy to find that he was awake and being transferred to a therapy hospital.

What a great way to start off the week! I was very productive at work, only in the mornings, though. This week I organized and designed a website. I had never done something like this in my classes at Embry-Riddle. I was told exactly how to design it by the engineer. Naturally, as a Human Factors engineer, I ignored everything he said and designed it the way I thought would make sense to the users. This was a hard task as I was never clearly told who the users would be. This past semester, I had a professor who would assign projects and would never really tell us what the end deliverable should be or look like. I could not stand that! That was my least favorite instructor because I was never quite sure what I was supposed to be doing. I have a newfound appreciation for that professor, though. I finally understand that technique because it seems to be the same way the government assigns work. So, an annoying class ended up preparing me the most for the real-world.

I showed one of my advisors the designs for the website and he said it looked good. The next step is to send it to the computer engineers and have them do the programming. Luckily, I am friends with the person that will be writing the code, and he can deal with my obsessive-compulsive nature. That’s why it’s important to be nice to absolutely everyone you meet! Because you may, and will probably, end up asking them for favors somewhere down the road. So the projects for this week at my internship went well… once I worked up the motivation to start moving! I just need someone to throw a bucket of cold water on me in the afternoons and remind me to stop procrastinating.

During my free time at work, I was helping a fellow student and professor in selecting people for a research project. For the past two years I have been involved with a club on campus called Human Performance in Extreme Environments. I was recently elected as the president of the club and have been coming up with activities for the members to do. The purpose of this club is to study how people live and work in extreme environments, like: space, underwater, or in extreme heat/cold. This allows the club members to do really cool things and create studies about it. For example, some of the upcoming events for the fall include: learning to surf, going to the Kennedy Space Center, and swimming at Blue Springs. We are looking to raise money to give some of our team members a chance to go skydiving. However, some of our members were just selected to do something much more extreme.

Sometime in the next year, our members will live and do research at a place called the Mars Desert Research Station in the Utah desert. Here, a crew of 7 undergraduate students will live in a confined habitat about the size of a living space that would be on the first rocket to Mars. For these two weeks they do behavioral research seeing how different people are affected by the confinement and isolation from society. This living space is about 30 minutes from any sign of civilization. This gives them plenty of room to do something called EVAs where they dress in a full spacesuit mock-up and walk around outside to collect rocks and other samples from the land. Everything here is very limited, just like it would be on Mars. So, the water tank inside needs to be constantly filled up, leaving each person to take a 1-2 minute shower every 3-4 days. There is limited cell phone service, and the only contact you have is with a team of individuals called “mission support” through e-mail.

Walking out on the Extravehicular Activities (EVAs)

Walking out on the Extravehicular Activities (EVAs)

Walking on "EVAs" in the full suit

Walking on “EVAs” in the full suit

The first ERAU crew to go to the Mars Desert Research Station.. oh! and their advisor Dr. Jason Kring

The first ERAU crew to go to the Mars Desert Research Station.. oh! and their advisor Dr. Jason Kring

So, I spent a few days this week helping select the members that will go on this trip. I went on the very first Embry-Riddle team to go, and was supposed to go on again this past December, but I got very sick a few days before we were scheduled to leave. This new team has never been to this research station before, so there is a lot of planning and training to be done. I am very excited to see what kind of research they will be doing there.

The MDRS living habitat in the middle of nowhere

The MDRS living habitat in the middle of nowhere

On the way to the isolated habitat

On the way to the isolated habitat

After planning a few things for that team, I was basically done with all the work for projects at my internship and at ERAU. It was a very long, but rewarding week. I spent Friday night at a baseball game with my roommate and some friends from work. We drove downtown to Petco Stadium to see the Los Angeles Dodgers play the San Diego Padres. I loved watching the game, but I’m not entirely sure who won. Yes, I am awful with sports. I couldn’t even read the score board properly. The only thing that matters to me is if the guys playing are handsome. Which they were, hence why I don’t know the final score. The rest of the weekend I stayed home and wrote up a few papers for home. It was generally uneventful, but that was needed since next week is going to be horrific!!!

Padres vs. Dodgers game

Padres vs. Dodgers game

When Life Hands You Lemons.. Ignore Them and Make Fried Chicken

This week began with a rough start. While I stopped at a store, my bicycle was stolen. I was actually getting a new pair of sneakers so I could be more comfortable on my ride in to work. What a happy coincidence! I contacted everyone I could, asked around the neighborhood, and filed a report. So, with my fingers crossed, I will keep on keeping on. On the bright side, I work with some incredibly kind and giving people. My roommate, Sharelle, and a co-worker, Christian, have offered to give me a ride whenever I need. I  have been treated so kindly by everyone that I work with, and although I was not feeling the best about having my primary mode of transportation taken away, I was awfully happy and appreciative of everyone around me for their help. I never thought I would get a chance to work with such kind people!

Although I may have started the week in the wrong gear, I certainly wasn’t going to continue on without changing it up. So the next morning I went on a 2-hour cruise with my roommate and our friends. Working for the military has its perks, and apparently one of them is getting on boat tours for $7. It was fun going around the bay and main island. There were all kinds of military ships at dock and fighter jets skipping along the main island’s airport. After that, we got delicious fish tacos and walked around the beach area. California has pretty beaches, but the water is not as clean or warm as it is in Daytona. So, I’m Embry-Riddle homesick, but I’m sure I will be missing San Diego when I head home in 10 weeks.

On the boat tour of San Diego

An actual ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean Film

Want this job!

USS Midway

What a Life!

Titanic has forever ruined the view of ship captains

Monday morning, I got to work and immediately started working on my project to create Human Factors professional classes and workshops. My mentor will be in charge of presenting and organizing these events for other professionals at our company. The goal is to teach professionals in other fields the proper user and usability test methods. I also worked on making a final report about the research I did last week on visually impaired people using a company-wide website. I am so incredibly sleepy from writing the 11 pages it took for me to get my points across to the designers and programmers. But boy do I love bossing around engineers and telling them that they’re wrong! I had it finished just in time for the weekly meeting. My boss said that I have good time management skills. That poor lady knows nothing about me, either that or I am very talented at making things seem more incredible than they really are.

I stepped up for another project at work. This time, I will be working on designing a website for a training group. I will be doing something called wire-framing. This is a process of sketching out design ideas and continually changing them until you reach the final design which will be coded by the programmers. You start this process by drawing out the design using a pen and paper (or towel or toilet paper). You will need a more high fidelity wire-frame to accurately test with people. This can be designed on PowerPoint or other design software. For now I am taking the list of activities someone can do using this website and grouping them into a logical pattern. In user-centered design, people call that designing the information architecture.

At my workplace there’s something called the New Professional Program that allows newly graduated students to try different projects going on with the different branches at our company. It’s a great program because it allows the student going through it to explore the options in order to find work that they enjoy doing. This week I was assigned writing up the projects at my branch to make us sound, “young, hip, and cool.” Which would be a somewhat accurate feel for my branch, aside from the whole young part. Most of the people I work with are 50 years old and up, so a majority of time they are worrying about their hips going out or complaining that they are too cold. No, I’m just kidding. But not really because they are very old. That gives me an advantage, though. If I can take in all of their advice and experiences, it will help me greatly in my career one day. Always take hand-me-down wisdom!

On Thursday, I learned how to shoot a gun… or 6. Since this week was only 4 days long for me, I went out with a few friends to a shooting range for my first time shooting a gun. I am not a huge fan, but I had to try it once just to say I tried it. It was very cool, but I had horrible aim and have the arm strength of a fetus. So, the shooting range was an unsuccessful success… if that makes any sense. And I realized it’s about time I start working out. So keeping to this thought, I went out with those same friends and ate half a pizza. The next few days were used catching up on a few Riddle-based projects.. and by Riddle-based projects, what I really mean is sleep. Sleep was greatly needed.

I think I look cool!

I ended this week at the Corvette Diner, a 50’s themed restaurant. I had a root beer milkshake with fried chicken (oh I miss the South) and watched the waitresses shamefully dance with their co-workers. I was appalled and felt slightly uncomfortable as our waitress came up to our table and started spinning my hair around in a twist. I began to growl at her little when she started putting straws in my hair to keep the twist in place. Thankfully, my roommate, Sharelle, who had joined me said that was part of the “act” at that restaurant. I ignored Sharelle the first few times she said it was ok, but she got my attention when she sprayed water in my face and yelled, “Bad Carolyn!” My hair did look pretty lovely. I will definitely be coming back so that she can style my hair with straws for my wedding.

Milkshakes

A bow-tie out of straws!

Keep coming by!