About Stephan


Aerospace Engineering

**Career Goals:** To establish a career with NASA
**Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** I was recommended by a colleague about Embry-Riddle. He mentioned that the institute has the number one aerospace engineering program in the nation.

September, 2009

I thought I would catch everyone up to speed with all the events that have occurred over the past five weeks of my first semester. Back in August, after moving in, orientation week began. It was an awesome experience as I met people from across the country and all over the world. It was overwhelming to hear all the dreams and goals people want to achieve. I have even met students who uphold the same aspirations and ambitions that I do.

Fitting in at Embry-Riddle has been no problem at all. There are plenty of clubs and activities to get yourself involved with and you can be as committed as you want to be. As I have already experienced, there will be weeks where I have don’t have much time to put forth to the clubs that I am a member of. That, however, is perfectly acceptable. Some of the work and projects that I am performing on in these campus organizations coincide with my studies. It is great experience as I am learning how to apply my knowledge and incorporate it into real life tasks. The benefits of being involved are substantial and here at ERAU, all of it is available to you.

I should mention that time management is critical and even being in the college world for two years, I’m still learning how to budget. It’s one of those topics that many students dread. For some, it’s difficult managing and figuring out what works well and what doesn’t. The best advice I can give is to stay focused. School work and education is a priority, but nevertheless, reward yourself after you finish a task. I try and complete all of my assignments during the week this way I have my weekend to rejuvenate. It doesn’t always work out as planned but it helps me stay on track.

You may be thinking, how’s the workload at Embry-Riddle? With my current background, the work has been quite difficult and many of the assignments are time consuming. As I stated on my introductory post though, I’m a transfer student in which my previous major was a complete opposite of Aerospace Engineering. I knew already back in high school I was going to enroll at RIT as an Information Technology major and therefore didn’t need to fulfill anymore science or math requirements. Looking back, I wish I challenged myself just for the sake of it. The moral of this story is to always take the opportunities that are given to you, even if they don’t directly apply. You will never know what inspires your interests in the future. For all I know if I took physics and calculus back in high school, my dream of going into space would have hatched sooner.

So while the work is difficult for me, it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone else who is in my field. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. My struggling in Calculus and Physics is starting to diminish though. After five weeks, it is all starting to click. The professors hear have been extremely helpful as well. I have had no trouble with visiting each of them at their scheduled office hours and I have been able to wander in, sit down, and start asking questions. They understand my educational background where I am coming from. It is great feeling to know that they are aware of my weaknesses as they can help troubleshoot and resolve the issues I encounter.

I’ll be preparing another post shortly after this regarding my experiences of viewing my first shuttle launch and the sweet benefit of being only 60 miles from the Kennedy Space Center. But I will reserve those exciting stories for a later time. Until then, I will continue on with my journey of working my way into space. See you out there!

September, 2009

Hello everyone and welcome aboard! My name is Stephan Wlodarczyk and I am a first year transfer student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Originally, I was studying Information Technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology for two years. Growing up, I’ve always had a knack for computers but I didn’t have any leads as to what type of career I wanted to pursue with them. Majoring in Information Technology was the best choice as it would allow me to expand my interests into a variety fields.

At the conclusion of my freshmen year, I discovered a passion that completely flipped my world upside down. I was taking a liberal arts core requirement in U.S. History, wondering to myself why do I have to relearn all of this. After all, our nation’s history is a subject that we begin learning about upon the first day of elementary school. As the old saying goes, “What you put in is what you get out.”, so I kept an open mind when going to class. The day my professor lectured about the space race, I became overly indulged and inspired. The whole idea of people riding a top of a converted ballistic missile venturing out into the unknown completely fascinated me. I fell right into a daydream, thinking what it must have been like to see our planet from a distance, to see it hovering in the black void of what we call space.

From that day forward, I made it a goal to establish a career with NASA and furthermore, fulfill my lifelong ambition of becoming an astronaut. I eventually found out that in order to become an astronaut, one must pursue math and/or science related degree. Information Technology was out of the question, but I didn’t want to switch majors into something I had no interest for. I didn’t want to create a checklist of how to become an astronaut. It was important for me to make sure I found a career path that I would enjoy. I stayed at RIT for one more year, seeking out areas of how I can be involved with our space program as an IT professional. However, my degree wasn’t supporting my passion.

I was recommended by a colleague about Embry-Riddle. He mentioned that the institute has the number one aerospace engineering program in the nation. He proceeded to say the degree is right up my alley and he certainly couldn’t have been more right. By the end of my sophomore year, I made the decision to apply. During the summer break, I toured the campus with my family and met with a few advisors. Upon being acquainted with them, I was greatly affected by their positive influence and complete faith of stating that I have what it takes to succeed here and live my dream. It’s a tremendous feeling to know that the faculty, staff, and professors are 110% behind you. I know now that I’m headed on the right track to chase down my dream and I couldn’t have made a better decision than to choose Embry-Riddle!

I have already started a blog titled, Working My Way into Space, that is devoted to keeping track of my progress, commission, studies, and the tasks I am performing to get involved with our nation’s space program. You can follow along at: http://www.stephanwlodarczyk.blogspot.com.