About Natalie


Engineering Physics

**Hometown:** Arlington, Washington
**Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** I was so delighted to find a college that was all about aerospace.

December 18

Hello everyone!

It’s my birthday today (18th) and I can hardly believe I’m almost done with the teenage years. It is so wonderful being home! The last two weeks were torture just because we could all feel the semester coming to an end.

After getting through my last Calculus, Graphical Communications, and Chemistry tests on Monday, I was able to relax a bit until finals got closer. I even gave myself a haircut. It turned out pretty nice. It was fun to surprise my family with a new look. A

nother thing I was able to do before flying home was go to my first real sporting event. I went to the basketball game when we played our rivals, Flagler. It’s also the school my sister graduated from last December, so that’s another good reason to go. It was very exciting to see our guys take the win!

I also enjoyed having a free, tasty lunch for Honor’s kids and even a dodgeball tournament at church. Christian Fellowship Club had a great Christmas party with carols, games, and free stuff and food. It was a nice way to celebrate finishing my Calculus final earlier that day.

I also went to Starbucks and Target with Alex. I found a Secret Santa gift for a guy on my floor just in time. We went back and exchanged gifts. It was really fun. There were many creative gifts. The rest of the weekend involved packing, laundry, and studying for the dreaded Chemistry final.

I nearly cried when I finished and walked out of the engineering building. It had been a long semester of learning and struggles. I’ve never had to work so hard for a class in my life. I had little to no background in chemistry and there I was taking our hardest chem course. God got me through and taught me it’s ok to get a low grade on a test or two when you really study well and try your best. Dr. Cameron was generous with the extra credit and although I got two tests in the 60 range, I got an 87 overall. The final was an 82, so I’m proud of that.

The rest of my classes were all A’s, so I’m happy to say I’ve finished my first semester of college in the “hardest” major (so it’s rumored) with a 3.83. It’s bizarre to not have a 4.0 anymore, but at least I don’t have the pressure of keeping it. And there’s no reason to be ashamed of what I’ve accomplished with my Lord and Savior’s help!

Now that the drama of Chemistry was over, I could really enjoy my Christmas break. I’ve gone to a hs basketball game, Christmas concert, trip up to the snow with my dad, church college kids open house, and a class party at my best friend’s house that turned out to be a surprise party for me. How blessed I am to have such wonderful friends and family! I can’t believe how much we always take for granted and how hard people are working to take the real meaning of this celebratory month away. And so, although it is indeed a wonderful holiday season, I close by saying: Merry Christmas! Let us all rejoice together in what we have been given and the heavenly gift born on that special night in Bethlehem!

With love,
Natalie Ann

December 4

10 days  9 hours  29 minutes  18 seconds… until I’m halfway home!

…and that will be even less by the time I’m done writing this and by the time you read it! Yes, the thing on everyone’s mind here is HOME.
After all, I’ve never been away from it for more than two weeks before and I didn’t get to go home for Thanksgiving.

Things have been pretty easy going here the past few weeks. I’ve just been working in SPRL and doing little quizzes and homework assignments. We had a nice 5-day break for Thanksgiving. A friend and I went to the beach, had some Starbucks, and saw August Rush at Ocean Walk on Wednesday. I got to use Safe Ride for the first time since Kerry was able to drop us off and do Thanksgiving shopping with her grandpa’s car, but we needed a way back. It’s only $8 a ride within the zone and $1 for each extra person. So we split $11 (tip, too), which is not bad!

The next day, Thanksgiving, it was painfully slow waiting for 2:00 to arrive. Campus was so quiet and mellow it was bizarre. The buffet had great Thanksgiving food up already on nice tables and silver dishes. I introduced another friend from our floor to stuffing. He was hooked. That’s my favorite thing, too. He came with us, as well as the girl I went to the beach with the day before, who I know from Christian Fellowship Club. The last member of our party minus my roommate’s whole family was a mutual friend of Kerry’s and mine. I know him from Chem lab and she knows him from the Catholic Student Union. Phew! Now that introductions are all over (cleverly minus names! ;)) I can tell you about the rest of the day.

We stopped to get some last minute supplies and met some of Kerry’s siblings. At the house, we played Cranium and Apples to Apples and enjoyed goofing off with the kids. They were full of energy and hilarious! Our Thanksgiving feast was wonderful and I enjoyed some dishes I’d never had before.

On Black Friday instead of going shopping (I severely miss that because it’s a huge family tradition back home) we braved the crowds at Epcot. I hadn’t been to that park in several years, so it was fun to go back. We started the day by doing Fast Track and getting fastpasses for Soarin’ over California. Next, we wandered through the countries. Now that I’ve been to several more represented, it was even better. We made our way around and I became nostalgic seeing British tea, French pastries, and German bratwurst. Good stuff. For lunch I had a ham and chesse croissant and a cream puff. For dinner, my friend (Yes, the one from the beach and yesterday- sorry I have to be so
confusing!)  and I had Chinese food. Finally, it was time for Mission Space- my favorite! We both had such a great time on that one. Then we saw a huge Christmas concert and managed to get front-row seats. It was beautiful. To close the night, we ate crepes in France while watching the huge fireworks show. Lovely.

For Christian Fellowship Club, we went out to Denny’s and then Super Target. I was so excited to find that their Black Friday sale went 2 days so I got some cheap DVDs!! I also bought a cute 3-foot $10 tree for the room as well as some small glass ball ornaments. It looks so nice! I had some purple lights already and it looks so nice when I plug it in.

As for this past week, there isn’t too much to say. It’s just the same old stuff. We did have our last Calc test; I think I did well. Wednesday was crazy because at midnight, we surprised my suitemate with a cake and gifts. Some silly guys started a cake fight and two guys and two girls ended up screaming, yelling, and getting covered in cake. It was exciting to say the least.

And I’m officially finished with Chem Lab because we had our final on Thursday. I got the last one I wanted, but I managed to do ok, I think. It’s so nice that only one final is actually during finals week. That means coming home earlier! I took the birthday girl out to Chili’s later that night and we had a great time. We also wandered through Wal-Mart with some others getting a cake and gift yet again for another person on our floor whose birthday was Friday.

So now, here I am close to finishing my first semester of college!
I’ve got plenty of time to study for my few things left and to pack.
The second I get home I’m gonna enjoy the Christmas tree (It’s snowing in WA right now, too!!), bake something, and go to my favorite restaurant, where I work, Red Robin with my parents! I think I can make it…

Happy December!
Natalie Ann

November 18

Greetings from chilly Daytona!

Seriously, it has actually been quite cold lately, especially in the morning and evening when the sun goes down and a frigid breeze passes by! It makes me feel excited realizing that being home where it’s expectedly cold really isn’t too far away.

Plus, I’m already encouraged by being able to see the end of my classes. If that wasn’t perfect enough, I also had a wonderful time with my Daddy! I had been awaiting his arrival for so long, I could hardly believe it had actually come!

But, to go back a little, I had an insanely busy few days getting ready for his coming. I didn’t want to have any homework or loose ends to fix so I could fully enjoy the 4-day visit. I’ve also put a few more things into my daily schedule. I try to exercise 1-hr a day and it’s been going well so far! Doing the bike or elliptical in the comfort of Tallman Commons or the sparkling new Fitness Center is a joy. My friend Alex got me into reading while I bike. It certainly helps to pass the time and she practically brought a library down with her, so I am well-supplied. Plus, for my Honors class, we finally get to read one of my favorite stories, Pride and Prejudice. I honestly have never read the book before, but I’ve seen both the 6-hr BBC version and the new with Ms. Knightly. Sad, I know, but now I have read it, so no worries.

Drinking tea is a daily thrill. I can get some lovely English Breakfast at Einstein’s and I got Green and Bubble at a store on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. I’ve had a cold I’m just about over and it’s cold outside, so it’s just what I need! 🙂

Working in SPRL is already getting more interesting. The last 4 hours I spent in the lab were doing more secretarial things, which I love. I typed up an inventory sheet and quickly whipped up a sign-out sheet for people who wanna borrow a book, tool, or folder. My fellow EP major worker and I were also able to get a closer look at some of the instruments. A lot of the words went over my head, but I still got a general feel for it. Maybe someday I’ll be designing instruments like them! My next task will be coming up with a catalog system for all the data with one of the older workers in addition to continuing to analyze the data set I’ve been given. The graphs I look at were taken in 2003-2004 in Norway. Cool stuff!

Just as a follow-up on the STS-120 Discovery, when I was walking to Graphical Design, I heard a loud “Bo-boom!” and a guy in front of me said it was the shuttle re-entering the atmosphere. Pretty cool since I saw it go up too!

Speaking of Graphics, I’ve been enjoying it so much more now since we moved on from views. I so love the dimension/extension work we are doing now. We have an extra credit quiz on Monday, so I should be able to recover from an earlier bad quiz.

One of the exciting things on campus has been the 12 Angry Men play. I finally was able to go last night. I’d never heard of the story, but it’s apparently a very classic film. My mom says we’re watching it when I’m home! I only knew of two of my friends, but actually five of them were in the play. I was surprised that I know so many people already! Everyone did an excellent job! I hope I can get involved in Riddle Players one of my semesters here!

Another big event was the College Career Expo. I went mostly to get a feel for internships and Co-ops as well as watch the older students interact with prospective employers. I saw some of my favorite companies like Boeing, Cessna, and Piper, and was introduced to others like Honeywell, United Space Alliance, and Lockheed Martin. The summary? Internships are around six weeks; Co-ops a semester. But, Co-ops have benefits, internships don’t. Finally, almost everyone does business and hiring online. I did pick up a few tips about applying for Boeing internships, so I’ll remember that next time I apply. I’ve already sent in my resume’ for 4 summer ones. I love that I live so close to their Everett plant! I walked out of that fair with a crazy amount of free stuff, looking forward to the future I could have in the industry! It truly is amazing that our school can draw so many huge aerospace companies. We don’t have to go anywhere except across the street and we can get great jobs!

One of the funnest things I’ve done in the past two weeks apart from my adventures with my dad (which I will discuss soon) was going to the Latin Dance class! I have always wanted to learn some kind of dance and it was so much fun! Once we got over being a little embarrassed, my friend and I had a great time. We were already picking up the tricky spins and getting used to the beats. I just don’t have those amazing Latina hips like some of the girls we met, but they so kindly helped me learn some steps so I didn’t look too ridiculous. It was good exercise, let me tell you! Regardless, I can’t wait until the next time! It’s so nice to have the Fitness Center and all of the free classes!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for- the homecoming weekend stories! On Thursday, my lab partner and I had everything go wrong. Thankfully, one lab is going to be thrown out. To brush off the bad hours, my partner drove me to her new apartment and we ate dinner with her roomie before going to Marble Slab and then the Homecoming Talent Show in the Student Center. It was so hilarious!! I loved the dancers, juggler, and many more. We even got free Homecoming t-shirts and cups. That was the only Homecoming thing I was able to experience ’cause my dad was coming the next morning. I made sure everything was packed, but I was still so excited, I ended up staying up pretty late with Alex. We drank tea, read books, drew pictures, and listened to music. Fun times!

The next morning, he was here! When I walked down to the circle drive outside Tallmans I couldn’t keep the smile in. We had a little white Pontiac rental car. I brought my daddy up to my room to help me get the bags down. Then, we walked over to Propeller’s to eat. I had a Caesar chicken wrap and my dad got a cheeseburger. I’ve actually never eaten there before… It was so nice to just sit outside and talk while planes flew overhead. Our next stop was the UC (Student Center; don’t ask me why we call it that!) to use up my 7 meal plans. We got plenty of good stuff for the weekend and then jumped in the car to go. It was off to Orlando! We stopped by our nice hotel only to find it wouldn’t be ready for several more hours. But I did get to pick up my no expiration, hopper 10-day Disney World ticket. That means I only pay $35 every time I go (I’m already going twice this year at least) instead of $70. So, it’s a perfect deal. We found the Mall at Millenia to visit. I loved all of the beautiful Christmas decorations! I flew in and out of the stores, only finding things at Urban Outfitters. It was fun just to be with my dad. For dinner, I decided it would be really fun to eat at Hard Rock Café. I saw a brochure at the hotel for a free gift with $25 purchase, so off we went. But, unlike Downtown Disney, you have to pay to park to even get near Universal City Walk. We paid the ridiculous $11 charge and parked in Jurassic Park 505. I really want to go to Islands of Adventure sometime. I’ve got 4 ½ more years to do it, so… We ate at Hard Rock and got a tasty appetizer mix and salad. When we finished, I got a free pin with a wee guitar on it. I like it! The rest of the night we wandered stores, got ice cream at TCBY, and made the long trek back to the hotel.

We were so tired on Saturday that we decided to get up when we got up and then go to Disney World and the Magic Kingdom. Even agreeing to that, we ended up making it to Disney 15 minutes after it opened at 9.
This is significant because we stayed until 15 minutes before the park closed, 11:45. Phew. Long fun day! We made off like bandits in the morning going to rides like Pirates, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain (we did a funny pose for the camera and Dad bought it for me to have in the room), and Haunted Mansion. For lunch, we ate in Liberty Square at the Plaza restaurant. We both had delicious sandwiches. I loved the sweet potato chips too. We would throughout the day stop in little shops. I eventually got a cute rainbow Mickey bracelet and tea. Our fastpass for Space Mountain was valid, so we went there. I took video, but it’s mostly just black. I might use some parts in a video collage though. Next, since we were in Tomorrowland, I went on my favorite Tomorrowland Transit Authority, the new Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. We also found a cool Kodak picture area to take funny shots. We used fastpasses to the max and also went to Mickey’s Philharmagic and TIki Room Under New Management before going on the Train around the park. We decided to take the monorail to the Contemporary Resort and catch a bus to Downtown Disney. We were going to eat at Rainforest Café but the wait was 2 hrs, so we ate at Planet Hollywood instead. We stopped in a couple stores and got some nice gifts and such. When we finally found the restaurant, we relaxed.

That place is so funky, but fun! We had a delicious plate called LA Lasagna and I had a Home Alone smoothie in honor of my dad (he loves that movie). After returning from our Downtown Disney adventure, we went on Teacups (I haven’t done it since my very first time at Disney World and this was my 5th). We accidentally went on Snow White because we were enjoying the big fireworks show and then found ourselves in the line for it. The witch was so scary!! 😉 Small World was next. I taped the whole thing to torture others online. We went on Thunder Mountain and Pirates again, then I tried another old ride, the Astro Orbiter! We also went on the Indy Speedway. I drove and it was easy since both of us weighed down the car it couldn’t go very fast! Finally, as per my tradition, we finished the night with one last Space Mountain. My favorite!

On Sunday, we got all the stuff together to check out of the hotel. It was a Wyndham like the crazy nice one at Ocean Walk, but a little more laid back and less fancy. It was still very nice, though. We stopped back at the school to pick up my Crop Walk donation envelope. We waited for Casey, Josh, and Chris from CFC in the chapel and then followed them to Westiminster-By-The-Sea Presbyterian Church. They had free hotdogs, chips, and rice krispies with plenty of drinks. We also got a Crop Walk t-shirt. Josh designed it and it’s burnt orange. We walked along the beach and enjoyed the really nice day. It was fun to joke around with the guys too. My dad is so funny! We never ran into the 1-mile marker table the head guy talked about so we ended up walking 6 miles total. Whoops. On the way back to the car parked at the church, I saw a giant inflatable gold fish at a garage sale and we got it for my room. It’s hilarious! Back in the car, we decided to go stop by our new hotel. Then, we went to Ocean Walk. It was tough to find a parking spot as usual. We went to Bubba Gump’s and enjoyed a shrimp platter and hush pups. It was so beautiful sitting outside and looking out at the ocean. We walked along the beach to kill time for our movie that didn’t start until 7. It all of a sudden got very dark and windy. The clouds looked very ominous! Next, I got pumpkin pie in the sky from Coldstone and Dad got a Starbucks drink. We sat in comfy Starbucks chairs and listened to a guy sing Hotel California while teaching a teen how to play. Finally, we could go on up to the theater to watch Fred Claus. It was very cute and fun. We always tend to watch Christmas movies together… I feel like it’s here already because of all the trees, decorations, and music! So early!

On our last day together, we thought it would be fun to go to the nearby Museum of Arts and Sciences on Nova Rd. I found out that students from a DBCC and Riddle get in for free. I had no idea. Cool!

They had a crazy Coke collection, Teddy Bears galore, pretty art, amazingly old pots and jewelry, cool trains, and giant fossils. I want to go back for their Christmas festival of lights thing this weekend.

After that, we left and went to a few stores like Wal-Mart, the record store, and Office Depot to get last-minute stuff done. I even got a cool Christmas star light for the window. We ate at Sonic before coming back to my dorm room for the last 30 minutes before he had to leave for the airport. I wanted to cry again, but I held it in as best as I could. It’s not really that bad- I go home in less than 30 days.

And I only have 17 school days left. Only 1 final during “finals week”. Not bad at all! I spent the rest of the evening unpacking, fixing the Christmas lights, and doing the Chemistry group quiz.

Well, I had originally thought that this would be a short entry, but then I had too much to say about the long weekend. Sorry! 🙂 Oh well… You know the drill: please e-mail me if you have any questions and enjoy the pics and video I put up!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I know I for one will be counting my blessings and be praising God for his awesome work. I have such wonderful family and friends not to mention an amazing opportunity to go to a school like Riddle!

Tell at least one someone how much you love them this week, ok?

Until Next Time,

November 5

Hello again everyone and a Happy November to you!

I have to admit that I have pleasantly surprised with many things this past two weeks. The first thing being that fall feels like fall. What in the world can I mean by that? Well, let me explain:

Thanks to hurricane Noel being close enough to send gusty weather our way, I get to see leaves swirling and feel the cool wind on my face. I finally believe it’s actually fall. Sunny skies and palm trees don’t exactly match what I’m used to back home, so this new weather pattern is a nice change. Also, the stores around town are very festive. And my room has followed suit thanks to another care package, this one from my grandma. It had delicious shortbread and lemon cookies, chocolate, a cute ghost, and a nice shoebox-size Halloween teddy bear box.

I even got to go to Starbucks for the first time in weeks. For a Seattle-area girl, that’s just torture to get nice frappuchinos so rarely. And I don’t even like coffee. (Blended cream frapps, tazo tea, and caramel apple cider are my favs.) It’s great to see stores with leaves and such in the windows, but I can’t believe how many retail clothing places in the mall have heavy jackets and sweaters. I certainly don’t need them here! Although, someone did recently tell me that we had an abnormally warm October. Go figure.

Having the Omega Pi/Wood 5 Halloween party also greatly helped. It was pretty hilarious. Most of it was eating, talking, laughing, and taking pictures. Also included was walking on different floors and around Tallman Commons to see how many strange looks we could get (Because it was the Friday BEFORE Halloween and a whole lot of people were downstairs for the DDR and Guitar Hero competitions.) I even gave in to watching Van Helsing, the closest thing to a scary movie I’ve seen. It was more action than anything else with a touch of the Mummy’s grossness. When you combine werewolves, Dracula, Dracula’s wives, Dr. Jeckell/Hyde, Igor, and Frankenstein, what do you expect?

Another pleasant surprise I’ve had recently is my scores in Chemistry.

We had a take-home group quiz that we solved in minutes. The entire assignment was extra credit, so 10 pts for me! Then when I got the dreaded test scores back, I saw a beautiful 88 on the top! But, even better, he said to add 6 points to that number. I got a 94!!!!! I went from a 69 last time to a 94! How cool is that? I was so tired, I couldn’t even get that excited, but I was very happy inside. This third and final section will be tough, but my grade may actually turn out to be pretty good. And speaking of tests, I’ll just throw in that I got 104/105 on my math test- hooray! Studying works wonders!

Yet another positive was going to see the STS-120 Discovery launch!

Three friends and I had a fun ride down and finally managed to find a nice spot by the water in Titusville. Three of us climbed past some grass and found a nice rock and wood to sit on. No one was in front of us and we were low so people standing behind wouldn’t get mad. Right when we heard heated arguments a few rows back, it all of a sudden took off. It was tiny, but definitely easy to catch on video. Very exciting to see my first shuttle launch, especially when they’ll be retired in the coming years. Plus, we all got free souvenir coins from the Walgreen’s across the street. They’re cheesy, but I’ll keep it for memory’s sake. One side has the mission info and patch; the other’s about their 1-hour photo. 🙂 Before heading back to campus, we had a nice picnic lunch under some trees. Great experience!

I also had another great opportunity when the women’s program on campus sponsored an “Evening with Jo” event. It was free and very enlightening. The dinner was very nice- Olive Garden catered. I really enjoyed hearing from Jo Ames. She is a mechanical engineer – basically, but she does all kinds of interesting jobs on the defense side of things. She was even in charge of painting the inside of the air lock that astronauts use on the ISS for space walks. She works for Boeing right now so she’s not that far from me back home. I got some good tips about internships from her too. I’ve been sending my resume’ to different Boeing internships online for this summer. It would be so nice to work for them and they’re only 15-30 minutes from home!

One weird fettish I have to tell everyone about is getting mail. Yes, I have gone to great lengths to purchase (Good deals, mind you! I always get things on sale and “shop around”!) DVDs and Christmas gifts online mostly so I can have the joy of getting packages from the campus post office. Plus, my parents sent me a care package, two grandparent sets sent me a letter or card, and a good friend in Germany sent a letter, too. But, don’t worry, I was faithful to pass on the fun excitement by sending several “thank yous”, a couple of “happy birthdays” and even one “congratulations” to friends and family. I love writing and sending cards!

On a final, very positive note, I will give you the results of my SPRL (If you didn’t read my last blog, it’s the Space Physics Research Lab student assistant job) aspirations. As I worked hard to finish the homework assignment, I kept having problems because I’m used to C++ and not IDL. But, I finally found a very helpful worker and I finished it up. I called the hirer to come see my work and he asked a few questions then shook my hand, “Welcome to SPRL!” So, yes, my good friend and I both got the job and started our graph analysis. For the first semester or so, it’s just “grunt work”. But I’ve found it can be very relaxing and the entire experience will open several doors even if it just looks nice on a resume’. Plus, if I do well enough and stick with the program, I might even get to go to the South Pole some summer. Wouldn’t that be an experience?

As evidenced by all of my happy paragraphs, God has been very gracious to me! I’ve really enjoyed fellowship with His people every Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday. After church one day, my small group went out to Cracker Barrel for lunch. It was so much fun and I even found great Christmas gifts in their Country Store. My leader then took me to Target and JCPenny’s so we had a great time just talking and shopping.

Apart from chatting, I have also been learning from church, Christian Fellowship Club, and my Bible study. From watching Facing the Giants at CFC, I discovered that I have to be faithful to “prepare the field”. Then, God will send the rain. In other words, I can’t just do what I want or sit around and expect Him to bless me all the time. I need to prepare my heart and mind to be a great servant of His and if I am open, humble, and willing, He can use me. I want to greatly impact those around me.

Well, believe it or not, I do have homework I need to tackle, so I’ll say goodbye for now. I’ll tell you all about my fun weekend with Dad next time!

Natalie Ann


October 23

Hello, all!

Next week is shaping up to be a tough one, but certainly manageable. I have my second Chemistry hourly exam, my second Calculus test, and I find out whether or not I am accepted into the Space Physics Research Lab program (SPRL). To explain what SPRL is I’ll catch you up on the last few weeks:

I might as well start with that tough class you always hear so much about from me: Chemistry! Many things have improved. Right after my last journal entry, a miracle happened- I finished a quiz. And it had the RIGHT ANSWER. Gasp! I was ecstatic! I drew a nice sunny scene on the paper to celebrate. Professor Cameron gave me a teasing smile as he collected the quiz. The next week, we had another quiz. I did my best to relax and when we got the paper, I easily completed the problem. But he had also added a short answer question. The problem was I hadn’t studied bond types yet, so I was just “shooting in the dark”. Then, when we turned it in, I realized I had made the stupidest mistake of my life! I answered the bond question pertaining to the problem on my quiz instead of the one written on the board. As I found out later, he was compassionate with me and gave me two points for the answer I put. Amazing. So, that quiz became an 8/10. Then, last Friday, we had our last individual quiz before the test. Somehow, I had missed hearing about it, so I didn’t have time to be concerned. I got a beautiful 10/10 again! I love heat transfer! If improvement on quizzes wasn’t “happy” enough, we also have an extra credit group quiz to do this weekend. +10 points! I will also give 100% as I study for the test. I think I can do really well!

Christian Fellowship Club has been fun and uplifting as usual! We learned about Moses one night before going bowling. Last weekend, we had the annual picture scavenger hunt. It was great fun sprinting all over the campus. My team managed to win and get some great photos out of it all, too!

Another thing that makes weekends so wonderful is the time! I have time to rest, exercise, and do laundry. I also do that on Tuesday and Thursday since the class load is much lighter. I started an exercise routine that I’ll try to do Sun, Tues, Thurs, and maybe Sat. I bike for 15 minutes at whatever speed I can take. Then, I stretch a ton (I don’t want to get tight, bulky leg muscles!) and do some crunches to get that proverbial flat stomach (might take awhile…). Finally, I do a 1-mile jog at 5.7 miles per hour. The little exercise room by the Student Village bridge is awesome. It’s usually deserted and I can leave the lights off to have a cool, peaceful environment with the iPod groovin’.

Many changes on Wood 5th have occurred since I last wrote. My room is decked out in fall/Halloween decorations from a package my parents sent. It had a cute light-up pumpkin, Snoopy with a pumpkin costume on, candy corn, and a pumpkin/cinnamon room spray. Pretty cool stuff! I also got a Halloween card from them and one from my grandma. The final, best touch was putting fabric leaves on the door and TV. I suppose the decorating got me in a cleaning mood because I decided to clean and organize my roommate’s stuff. She always talked about picking-up but is perpetually too busy. Navy ROTC is tough! So, as a gift to her during difficult times, I attacked the mounds of stuff.
She went home for the weekend, so I had plenty of time.

Before I got too far, Spree (another journal writer) knocked on the door. Her dad was visiting and he wanted to take some of our floor out for dinner. Seven from Wood 5 came along. We stopped at Chili’s, but they couldn’t adapt to the water problem so they were closed. (Just in case you didn’t hear, in Daytona, we had a water main break, so we couldn’t drink water except bottled for several days.) So, we walked over to a favorite of mine, Buca di Beppo’s. The chatter, laughter, and eating was a very special time. Spree’s dad was so nice to pick up the bill for all of us! Crazy!

When we got back, I talked to my best friend for an hour on the phone. Then, I heard the 4 people going to Alabama (One guy was taking three others to visit his home) out in the hallway, so I went out to say “Bye!” I ended up staying out there and talking until 3:30. I’ve never stayed up that late here! At least I can sleep-in to my heart’s content on Saturdays.

On Saturday, I had even more fun with floormates. We shared vacuums, coffee, and even flying Styrofoam airplanes. Another project began when I decided to clean the bathroom. It took a bit of time, but it looks great now.

Finally, the moment of truth arrived. I was so nervous about my roommate’s reaction that I went into the study room. Suddenly, she came in and gave me a big hug. She was very excited. I’m so glad I could be an encouragement to her. If only we can keep it looking this clean! The rest of the night we heard the stories of the four that went to Alabama, ate some southern banana pudding, looked through magazines, and chatted away. Wood 5 Rocks!

We also made our own fraternity several weeks ago. No one told me about it because I was somewhat of a hermit in my room. But, now I officially “joined” and am in Omega Pi. It’s hilarious. The slogan?
“Honor. Brotherhood. Baked Goods.” We have random meetings and give people bizarre titles. They include Supreme Baker, Founding Father, Iron Chef, and Schnitzel. I want to be the Crust Coordinator or perhaps Director of Flavors and Fillings. Hmm…

Our very own Schnitzel took things a bit further and set up his own psychiatry office. Dr. Schnitzel is very professional. He has the glasses, crackling fireplace (A life-like animation on his computer!), secretary, comfy “chair”, appointment sheet, door sign, and credential list! Many Wood Fifthians (as we like to call ourselves) have benefited from this wise Doctor. Yes, we’re weird like that, but it’s fun!

Speaking of having fun, my lab partner invited me to “hang” with her friends and her. We went to Moe’s for dinner (tasty Mexican) and Ritter’s (best ice cream ever) for dessert. Finally, it was time to shop! They all needed nice dresses for a sorority event. Ironically, I was the only one who found stuff! Always fun to get new clothes and good deals!

Back to school updates, I can tell you all about the Spring 08 Registration. The perfect phrase to describe my pursuit has been “running around like a chicken with its head cut off”. Why? First, I talked with my 1st Year Advisor, Jenny, and she helped me know which classes to take. Then, she called my EP advisor, Prof Wanliss, to make sure he was available. So, I set off to get signature #2 (Jenny signed my schedule first). Wanliss was very nice and listened well. He approved of the classes I chose and signed. Next, I sat down at a very wobbly table and planned out my schedule. I had to go down to the first floor of the Engineering building (where I currently was on the third floor) to log onto ratemyprofessor.com to pick my physics and honors professor.

It’s foolish to take every word seriously, but I like getting a general feel for the teacher as well as seeing what type of student I need to be (i.e. study a ton, take notes, ask questions, go to his office…). I decided on everything, filled in the paper, and showed it to Dr. Olivero. Finally, I ran it by Jenny one last time and went to have lunch before Chemistry. The last two steps are getting Dr. Kain to sign on Monday and then running it over to records and registration! It’s only this complicated for first-year honors students. Normally, you only need one person in your major to look at it.

And now, to my last description, I will share what SPRL is! The Space Physics Research Lab is all about compiling and organizing data that students and faculty collected while at the SPRL research station in the South Pole. I’m not the best at explaining it, but from what I can gather, they analyze spacial and solar particles that enter the earth’s atmosphere at the magnetic south pole. If I botched that explanation, I’m sorry! I will be glad to amend it if I do get the job. It requires going through a 1-week training session and then if hired, working eight hours a week in the lab. It mostly deals with programming, but you may get to be part of the trip to the Pole the next summer. I will do my best at the training, and if God wants me to be in the program, I will be in the program. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t at least try to be in such an exciting and valuable experience. Plus, I manage my time well, so I do have several hours available to devote to such an endeavor. And for next semester, it looks like I will be taking 14 credits since the only other class would make it 17 and I can’t go over 16. Now would be the best time to get involved in this before my classes get harder!

As usual- write me with any questions! Hope to hear from someone soon!

My e-mail:spencern@erau.edu

That’s all for now! Time to study chemistry!
Natalie Ann

October 8

Well, we’ve made it to the six-week mark. It’s hard to believe, but nice to have the experience. I finally walk around campus as if I know where I’m going and what I’m doing. Whether or not that’s always the case is another story…

Some days I have been so tired, but Thursdays and the weekends have saved my tired self. In Calculus 1, we’ve been moving along with more quizzes and derivatives and integrals. Honors Seminar has taken me through another film, Happenstance, and we’re now reading A Fine Balance. Despite hearing all of the different sides, I have not changed my belief about the world and determinism vs. chaos. You’ll have to ask me if you want to know! 😉

By the way, I apologize for the extra “?” in the last entries. It was my good ‘ol Auto Correct making 🙂 into the smiley symbol which the webpage didn’t recognize. So, 🙂 was me smiling. Ha.

Back to the class summaries: Graphical Communications has been more challenging but also more fun because we are working through CATIA. I can’t believe all of the buttons and things you can do with the 3D parts. We have created some very nice-looking things. I only hope I can remember procedure should the test involve making something from scratch. I’ll try to put up some pictures of my homework.

And of course I can’t forget… Chemistry! I am finally beginning to feel a little bit better. I feel like it will be one of those classes you always hear about that you keep working hard and despite feeling like you failed, the grade is surprisingly good. At least, that’s what I’m hoping! 🙂 So, I promised to tell you about the test. On the way to Chemistry two days after, I saw someone dressed in a costume in front of me. I thought, “Who is this weirdo?” It was a red and black grim reaper costume including the sickle. I looked down at his hands and they were wrinkly and clutching what appeared to be tests. “No way! It’s Prof Cameron!” I started laughing and the whole class joined in when he opened the door. He proceeded to write that many of the test scores were lower than they should be. I was. It was the lowest grade I’ve ever seen on a test that belonged to me, but compared to not being able to finish quizzes, a C isn’t terrible. It’s just difficult for a perfectionist-type gal to see something lower than a 90-something. But don’t worry, I’m no genius, and it’s important that I learn to not be devastated by not getting A’s. I have some very, very hard classes ahead! But, don’t look at this and think there’s no way you want to do Engineering Physics! Chemistry is my only hard class right now, so if you want to be an engineer and love space, go for it! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t! We have so many great resources like tutoring, fellow classmates, and patient
teachers- you would be just fine!

So I don’t leave you with all negatives from Chemistry, here’s the good news: In class on Friday, a miracle happened- I finally finished a quiz with the right answer and everything! I drew a sun on my paper and when asked why by Prof Cameron, I said, “I’m happy! I finally finished a quiz!” He smiled and walked away. I love my teachers.

On to EP 101: We had several interesting presentations and guests including quantum mechanics, NASA, and caution against drinking, drugs, and too-little sleep. This class is very helpful and interesting!

Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on the short retreat put on by Campus Outreach in St. Augustine on a Friday and Saturday.

We carpooled from the ICI center and stopped at Chipotle for dinner. I enjoyed the worship sessions and teaching time as well as playing board games into the evening while the best beat-boxer I’ve ever heard strutted his stuff. He did a great job of acting out things with it and included the gospel very well. To close everything off on the second day, we had a yummy picnic lunch in the windy, sandy beach area. The Embry guys had the idea to go to Deb’s ice cream ( I forgot the name) where we had delicious gelati. It’s like frosting ice cream with a layer of shaved ice and then another swirl of the ice cream. I got mango and it was delicious. It was also a blast getting to know more Embry Christians.

For the Honor’s Society, I was able to go on a field trip to visit Piper Aviation Company in Vero Beach. I had to work extra-hard on Tuesday to make it possible by doing a Chemistry lab from 8-11 am, making up a Calculus quiz, and telling Dr. Olivero that I couldn’t make EP 101 on Thursday.

A quick side-note on the lab: It was fun and interesting! It was nice to have a change of partner and such. I think the stirring tablet (magnetic) on the Bunsen burner with the magnetic stirrer is brilliant! We had a blast making the solution turn pink. I’ve never had Chemistry lab before, so it’s been a struggle, but very exciting.
Good times.

Back to Piper: When we first gathered, I happily recognized one girl from Honor’s Seminar and a guy from my floor. There wasn’t much conversation on the way down, but I used the time to read and then daydream out the window. It was pretty overcast, but still warm as ever. We stopped in Vero Beach to throw away our box lunches and get a peek at the actual beach before driving back to the plant. The buildings took up a ton of space, but I’m used to Boeing, so they were small. The workers were all so close and the company was much smaller than I expected because of knowing their prestige. It was a delight talking to the different people who were kind enough to be our guides.

We even met several Riddle graduates. I was really impressed with their efficiency and planes. I had such a huge desire just to touch one and climb on in for a flight. I can’t believe how much I miss flying! But, back to the trip, it did help me visualize the kind of job I could have. I love Boeing, but I also love a more intimate work experience. Boeing is huge! We paused to visit the gift shop and then take a picture by the Piper sign. I bought a cute Piper pilot teddy bear as well as a bright yellow classic Piper Cub T. I hope someone puts up the group picture we took.

As for friends and down-time, I’ve enjoyed a little bit of both! I still call my parents several times each day. I know that surprises some people, but it’s nice to hear what’s happening back home and share my experiences.

After that infamous Chemistry test, my friend took me to Wal-Mart to get a new calculator that I needed and then we stopped at my favorite place: Sonic Drive-In! I got the fabulous French toast sticks and a sonic Blast with Reese’s. It’s nice to have a gift card (my parents gave it to me for graduation). I also have spent some time relaxing while watching all of the new TV shows of the season. It’s so cool that we get free cable! And, every once in awhile, I drink tea and watch a movie. My room is a nice sanctuary after hard days and weeks.

Also keeping me interacting with others is Christian Fellowship Club.
One week, after a message on Job, we all went to CiCi’s. Everything looked delicious, but I had already eaten dinner. The guys pigged out on pasta, pizza, and cinnamon rolls since it’s all-you-can-eat Italian place. Back on campus, several of us played video games in O’Conner and laughed at YouTube videos. Fun, fun!

The flag football team I mentioned last time was cancelled, unfortunately. I guess I have to find another way to exercise. There’s a little room with treadmills and bikes right by the bridge in the Student Village, so I should check that out. My friend and I ran on the beach one night, but I don’t have a car, so that can’t always happen.

In closing, one of the awesome things about college is the random events happening on campus. On the way back to the dorms, a friend and I saw a sign for free Smoothie King smoothies and an inflatable obstacle course and wall climbing. We entered a drawing for prizes, laughed our way through the course, and took a smoothie for the road.

The obstacle course was hilarious! You slide down one thing and the bounce launches you through the next. I slammed against the wall several times! That strawberry banana smoothie was lovely! 🙂

Less than 5 weeks until my Dad visits; less than 7 weeks until Thanksgiving; and less than 10 weeks until I’m going home for Christmas break!


Well, hope my stories were organized enough for you! Please feel free to e-mail me any questions you have. Senior year, college applications, and decisions are difficult and I was just in those shoes!

My e-mail: spencern@erau.edu

Thanks for reading!

September 24

Whew! I can’t believe I’ve made it through four weeks of college! I’m already much better off thanks to more friends, more experience, and more opportunities.

Some of the longer days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) really wiped me out these past few weeks. But, I have a new strategy. I come back to the dorm for a relaxing lunch and to finish up little homework assignments. Then, after staying in Graphical Communications long enough to finish the assignment (Prof Sun instructs for the first hour, and then we can leave for the second if we wish. I stay because I get great 1-on-1 help from her. Plus, Chemistry is only an hour after that and in the same building, LB  -Engineering-.), I sit on the cushy sitting area on the third floor listening to relaxing music so my mind’s ready for Chemistry. May sound cheesy, but it’s certainly working well so far!

I tried going to Jazz Band one Wednesday, but unfortunately, every Monday and Wednesday after that, I’ve had to do homework or go to some group meeting. I just don’t know if I can really accomplish being in the band this semester. I miss playing my soprano sax very much, but school has to come first.

In recent weeks, I have finally been assigned my first papers. I finished both already to be prepared. Plus, writing comes easy for me, so I really enjoyed “cranking them out”. The first was for Engineering Physics 101. I chose the topic of the Night Witches, the women Russian fighter pilots during WWII. Their story is amazing and it had to be told! I’ve actually seen one of the planes they flew at Paul Allen’s National Heritage Collection in my home state of Washington. I really admire their piloting skills as well as extreme courage. The second paper was for my Honors Seminar class. Because of Scrooge and his negative Malthusian outlook on things, we watched “A Christmas Carol” in class and then were assigned to imagine the conversation between Ebenezer and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come should the ghost actually be Oedipus (from Oedipus Rex by Socrates), Edward Lorenz (from Chaos by James Gleick), or Thomas Hardy (writer of Convergence of the Twain). I really enjoyed writing a “what-if” kind of story about it!

I’ve also survived some quizzes and a test. Most had very good results, but one did not. For all, though, I studied to the best of my ability, and can have no regrets. It’s not wise to judge your final grade or rest of your semester by the first quiz. I’ve had to keep telling myself that! 🙂 From talking to other students who also didn’t start off the class well I have heard that they still got A’s or B’s. So, no worrying for me! One important thing to share with you: never be afraid to talk to the professor! I managed to earn 4 more points on my Calculus test by asking about the grading and explaining my answer.

Chemistry has had some ups-and-downs. As you can probably guess, I didn’t do so well on the first quiz. But, two days later, I easily could’ve taken it and gotten 100%. Sometimes I feel like I’m always a step behind. But, other days were very victorious. I loved doing the take-home group quiz. It’s what Prof Cameron fondly calls, a “booger” problem. I spent 2 ½ hours typing it up, color-coded and everything, after we solved it in record time. For putting the solution together as well as reporting on everyone’s participation, I get 4 extra credit points! I’ve learned so much already and I have been getting help from so many different people that I look forward to doing well on the first test. I will be studying hard this weekend and praying hard before, during, and after the test on Wednesday! I’ll let you know how it goes!

Some of my favorite days have been not only doing well in classes, but having fun, of course! Sundays are always wonderful. Each new week we meet more people who want to try Riverbend Community Church. I’ve also loved being in Christian Fellowship Club. I joined the worship team, so I do the female vocals now. I also go to Bible study every Thursday night. The past few Thursdays I’ve enjoyed going to the student center right after the study for Touch-N-Go’s weekly movie presentation. I saw Pirates 3 and Fantastic Four 2.  I’ve been shopping with my friends, forced to play Halo, watched a hilarious comedian DVD at a friend’s house, and made a pyramid of people on the beach in the late evening. I’ve also had tasty Italian food for the Honors picnic, went to Baskin Robbin’s for ice cream with CFC, and joined a flag football team for no other reason than fun and exercise! There’s always so much to do, but I still have plenty of time not promised to people so I can relax and do homework when I need to.

The most amazing thing to me recently has been the weather. I’ve never dealt with rain quite like this before. It’s so juicy and it comes down so hard! Very different from NW rain, that’s for sure! My mom sent me a coat from REI, so I’m doing better. I always pack the coat, shorts, and an umbrella since it comes and goes so quickly.

Just in case some of you out there are curious about meal plans, I’ll tell you what I like to do. I have 19 a week and almost always have 1-3 left-over to get cereal and drinks on Saturday. For breakfast, I eat in the buffet here in the student village. If I’m running out of time, I grab a breakfast bagel at Einstein Brother’s and eat it on the way. For lunch, if I am staying “out” (i.e. away from the student village and just waiting for my next class), I get a panini and salad in the student center. If I come back, I grab a salad or sandwich from Einstein’s. I love the Italian chicken and BLT sandwiches! 🙂 Finally, for dinner, it’s a great social time to meet friends and hang out in the buffet. Free ice cream, duh!

I have much to look forward to in the coming weeks! I will be sure to tell you all about my latest adventures in my next journal entry. For now, I’ll just give you an idea of what I’m trying to go to: Piper Aviation Company (Honors Society field trip), Halloween Horror Nights (Just for it being cheaper and going on rides, I don’t care for haunted houses and stuff; Honors Society). And, I’m counting down the days until my dad visits! He’s coming early November when we have a long weekend and Homecoming. I haven’t decided what we should do yet, but I can’t wait!

Until next time… goodbye four weeks!

September 14

Welcome to my online journal of life at Embry-Riddle. I hope you will find my stories helpful, informative, and interesting whether you are a current or prospective student, parent, or faculty member. Whew— quite a mouthful, but very true!

I certainly will never claim to be an expert on campus events, classes, etc… but I will do my absolute best to describe the activities of at least one freshman on campus— me!

So, let’s get started! I have an exciting two weeks to recap:

Being a Washingtonian through-and-through, the trip to the opposite side of the country was quite a journey with “lay-overs” and such.

However, I count myself blessed considering that one of my suitemates in Wood Hall DROVE from Canada (north of WA). I did have a difficult time taking 18 years of accumulated stuff with me. Many things, of course, stayed at home.

When we finally picked up all of the baggage and the rental car at Jacksonville Intl., we stayed the night in St. Augustine. My sister graduated there from Flagler College last December, so we were very familiar with the area. It’s always a blast to walk the streets of the beautiful old town and get delicious food and gifts from chocolate to purses to flip-flops (Can you tell this was written by a girl 😉 ).

We drove on to Daytona and stayed in a gorgeous hotel resort right on the beach. My mom got a great deal on the room and I enjoyed every minute of staying there! So, I highly recommend the Ocean Walk Resort to y’all (Look at me using southern words already!).

At the dinner for the Honors Program, we met some great staff from Riddle. I sat with a girl from Illinois named Kaleigh and her family since I hadn’t met my roommate yet. Not much later, Kaleigh and I discovered we would both be on Wood floor 5 and be online journal writers. We are already good buddies. What are the odds? After the event, I finally met my Navy ROTC roommate- Kerry. We are very similar in that we both like quiet study and/or alone time and aren’t interested in being big partygoers. We do, however, enjoy watching chick flicks and going to the beach with friends from the dorm, Facebook, classes, and/or ROTC. The best way to put it 🙂 We are outgoing in a non-irresponsible way!

By the way, the Honors Program is awesome- don’t be afraid to apply!

You get priority registration (i.e. you pick the classes and teachers YOU want before anyone else. That way, they don’t fill up before you can even breathe.), a free personal PC that comes equipped with GPS, great Honors Seminar classes where it’s all about reading great literature and discussing deep topics, and you make close friends!

But, let’s get back to my first week: Orientation was perfect for getting used to campus, getting all the information you could possibly want, and meeting other freshmen. I won some free things and had great food, too. Using up meal plans was unbelievably fun. We had 14 like normal, but because Orientation began on Wednesday, there were plenty of extras that we could use on drinks, snacks, cereal, fruit, and more!

Orientation came to a great end with the luau. Free t-shirts, Polynesian dancers, games, and BBQ… perfect! The next day, I enjoyed my last full day with my parents. We decided to drive back up to Saint Augustine to visit the Gator Farm. Fun, fun! How can you visit FL without seein’ some gators?

Next, we stopped at a fancy seafood restaurant for dinner. Yum! And of course, the day ended at… Wal-Mart! It’s just what every college student needs… and Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Linens & Things, and Target…

On Sunday, I couldn’t believe it was almost time to say goodbye! We went to church at Riverbend Community and I was so pleased to find it felt like home. Many of their pastors went to the same seminary that ours did, so the teaching was right on. I know my faith in God will get me through these difficult but exciting years. My prayer is that I will be a testimony of Christ to everyone on campus.

I couldn’t help but cry as I hugged my dad and mom goodbye. True, I will see them in four months (My dad in about two; he’s coming the first week of November to visit.), but it was just the thought that I had a new home; that Arlington house will never really be part of my everyday life anymore. But, my family always will! Time, new friends, and cell phones made the separation easier, but it still wasn’t a pleasant first week without them.

In celebration of completing the first five days of classes, Kaleigh and I walked to the nearby Volusia Mall. We don’t have cars or bikes and it’s not that far anyway. We found some great deals because of the Labor Day weekend. I had to eat at Chick-fil-A since we don’t have those back home. Then, after more ROTC shopping for Kaleigh, we went across the street to Olive Garden. That’s always been one of my favorite restaurants. It was starting to rain, so we quickly rushed back to the dorms.

On Sunday, I got a ride to Riverbend again. It was just what I needed after a week of new things and sometimes overwhelming experiences. I felt kind of alone, but at church, I met some more people from ER and we’re going to start up a Bible study. Should be great! Plus, I’ve even been able to let people know about the Sunday services and a few from my floor are glad I can help them with carpooling. I’m very excited for next week!

Labor Day came and it was time to go to the beach! A guy I met on Facebook and at breakfast that day, Ben, was willing to take Caroline (girl on my floor) and I. The sun was out the waves were high… lovely! We even stopped at a bookstore and then a DVD/CD/Record store and found some great reads and flicks. I even got a nice gift for my dad.

(I won’t say what it is since he might read this someday! 🙂 )

Enough about my weekend, I bet you want to hear about the classes.

Well, Calculus seemed daunting at first, but once I got used to Prof.

Spradlin’s teaching style, I realized that I have experience with everything we’ll be learning, so it should be a fairly comfortable review but also challenge me to become more apt. Most teachers put all of the assignments and grading rubrics on Blackboard (ER’s online site), so it’s not too hard to stay on top of things.

Engineering Physics 101 is a great class! It’s like University 101, but obviously, for EP and Space Physics students. We get to know each other by doing introductions in the front of the class and are free to ask Dr. Olivero any questions we’d like. We will also hear from interesting guest speakers. The class actually ends before Thanksgiving and the only assignments are keeping a journal and writing a short paper on an aerospace subject.

I already spoke on the Honors Seminar classes, but I must mention my excellent teacher, Dr. Kain. He is very fun to listen to and does a great job of presenting points of view from all kinds of beliefs.

Graphical Drawing/CATIA for Engineers has also been fun. It only happens twice a week, but we learn about lettering correctly and how to make diagrams. This information will be very valuable for our future jobs in the industry!  Professor Sun is very patient and very artistic. I’m excited to learn from her!

Chemistry is by far the most challenging class I have this semester.

Dr. Cameron knows what he is doing and expects us to be proficient at working chemistry problems. It is a huge learning curve for me, but I’m planning to go to tutoring as often as I need.

And I haven’t been to a chemistry lab yet, but I’m very intrigued to see what I will learn in that once-a-week experience!

I apologize for the length of this excerpt, but I imagine I won’t have quite as much to say once I get used to college life. Thanks for listening! Feel free to ask any questions or make comments. I’ll do my best to get back to you!

I’m going to go check out the new fitness center. Looks amazing!

Until next time…

Natalie Ann

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